THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees

Students make a mixed media, view from my window, picture using twigs to create four trees and spraying them with diluted paint to show the colours found in spring, summer, fall and winter.

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


branches colour deciduous fall seasons spring summer texture trunk winter


Crayola Construction Paper Crayola Scissors Crayola Fine Line Markers Crayola Washable School Glue Crayola Washable Paint Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Small Twigs and Branches Small Spray Bottles Paper Towels Water

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THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step One

Step One

  1. Use a piece of blue 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm construction paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half in both directions - short end to short end, and long end to long end.
  3. You should have 4 boxes.
  4. Cut along the folds to get 4 separate rectangles.
THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Glue the four blue paper rectangles onto the white paper.
  2. Leave a small space between each rectangle so your paper looks like a window.
  3. Cut 4 small pieces of construction paper to place along the bottom of each rectangle for the ground. 
  4. Use green for spring and summer, brown for fall and white for winter.
  5. Label each rectangle as one of the seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Break your twigs into small pieces. 
  2. Use the thick pieces for the trunks of each tree. 
  3. Use thin twigs for the branches of each tree.
  4. Place all the twigs for a tree on a blue rectangle before starting to glue. 
  5. Glue the twigs in place.
  6. Repeat for each blue rectangle.
  7. Make 4 trees so that you have one to represent each season.
THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Think of the colours of each season.
    How do they change? 
  2. Choose the season you would like to begin with. 
  3. Use diluted paint in a small spray bottle to paint each season a different colour. 
    - You may want to practice on a sheet of scrap paper first in order to get a feel for the way the paint will spray.
  4. When you are ready, place scrap paper over the other three seasons to mask them from the paint when you start spraying. 
  5. Lightly spray the paint onto the first tree. 
  6. Continue with the other 3 trees using appropriate colours for each season. 
  7. Remember to place scrap paper over the other three seasons before you start spraying. 
THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Place your picture at a distance.
  2. View it with fresh eyes.
    - What does it tell us about the 4 seasons?
    - What do you like best about your work? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • identify the appearances and characteristics of deciduous trees during the four seasons;
  • use twigs to create 4 naturalistic trees;
  • use spray paint to accurately show the appearance of the trees during each season;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence from their research.


Have students:​

  • incorporate one of their seasonal trees into a narrative picture depicting many aspects of their chosen season;
  • work with others to group sets of their pictures according to seasons;
  • place the pictures in sequence to tell a shared stroy;
  • present their stories to the class.


  1. Prior to this lesson teach or review the 4 seasons.
  2. Gather and make available books about the seasons, for example, the series by Heidi Pross Gray, Autumn is Here!Spring is Here!Winter is Here!, and Summer is Here!; Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go, by Patricia Hegarty; Seasons, by Angel Murphy; If You Hold a Seed, by Elly MacKay; Seasons: From the View of Someone Small, by Amy Bouchard, and Yijing Yang; All Around Bustletown: Summer, by Rotraut Susanne Berner; All Around Bustletown: Winter, by Rotraut Susanne Berner; and All Around Bustletown: Spring, by Rotraut Susanne Berner.
  3. Download and display the Texture and Colour posters available on this website.
  4. Download images of trees in the four seasons from the Internet, for example,
  5. Have students collect small branches and twigs.
  6. Prepare spray bottles with paint – mix half water and half paint of colours such as, pink, white, red, yellow, orange, dark green, and yellow green.
  7. Provide opportunities for students to practice using the spray bottles on scrap paper. 
  8. Group students so that they can easily share spray bottles.
  9. Cover exposed surfaces.
  10. Create an exemplar.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud with a book such as Our Apple Tree, by Gorel K. Naslund focusing on how the trees change from season to season.
  2. Create an anchor chart with key words, concepts and illustrations for students to refer to.
  3. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Make a mixed media picture using twigs, paint and construction paper.
  2. Use twigs to create 4 naturalistic trees.
  3. Use spray paint to accurately show the appearance of the trees during each season.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works and your experiences.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a mixed media picture of 4 naturalistic trees
    - accurately shown the differences in the 4 seasons
    - included twigs, construction paper and spray paint
    - created texture
    - carefully constructed the trees
    - used my own ideas 
    - kept my picture in good condition
    - shared my ideas with others
    - supported my ideas with things I saw in the pictures and my own experiences
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Chunk or break down each step as appropriate to meet individual student needs.
  5. Encourage students to place all of their branches and twigs on the paper before gluing them.
  6. Observe students as they work offering suggestions and support.
  7. Provide individual assistance, encouragement and modifications as needed.


  1. Display the completed works for a group discussion.
  2. Ask students how they felt and what they noticed as they worked with real twigs and spray paint.
    How did the twigs contribute to the effectiveness of the work? (Created strong lines and a three dimensional appearance.)
    - How did the sprayed paint affect the way the trees look? (Splatters made it look like real leaves.)
    - How else could you achieve a similar effect? (Dab colours on with a small brush or cotton tip.)
  3. Ask students to comment on one picture they are drawn to and discuss it using the language of art.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their pictures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the picture, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the picture.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - FourSeasons_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - FourSeasons_self-assessment.pdf)