Animals, birds and beasties

Art Camp at Murton Trust has become a regular fixture in the Explore Play Create calendar. And for the first time, we spent this workshop exploring the farm rather than the nature reserve. Despite the awful weather, we donned wellies and waterproofs and went off exploring in search of inspiration. While walking we looked at the environment, the changing colours and the variety of plants and trees that form the backdrop to the farm. But we paid the closest attention to the animals you can find at Murton. We were lucky enough to coincide our walk with feeding time, and got a closer look at some of the smaller animals. The children took sketches of the ducks, chickens, owl, donkeys, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets. We even had a quick stop at the trampolines for a bounce about – and spotted buzzards flying overhead!

On our return to the Rural Skills Centre, we warmed up with hot chocolate and banana loaf, then got to work on making pictures based on our walk as well as the sketches made and the photographs we took. The children were encouraged to use their imagination and develop a story to their creations – combining information from their (now very wet!) field-notes, what they could see from the windows in the Centre and what they could remember from the walk. I also gave them a few of my daughter’s farm animals and some some plants from my garden, so they could playfully create little scenes and tell stories about the animals. They used coloured paper and soft pastels to make their drawings – there were some lovely observations of shapes, colour and pattern, with little hints of stories developing as they created scenes of animals with their friends and family.

After lunch we used the walk and the drawings of the animals to develop marionettes. Using a large variety of materials, including cardboard, bottle tops, string and beads – the children drew, cut, stuck and tied for over about 2 hours to create 3D models. Their creativity was unleashed as their studies of animals developed into dragons, unicorns and aliens!!! With a few of the farm animals, including a guinea pig, the Italian pheasant, a pig and even Fantastic Mr Fox!!