THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees

Students make a mixed media 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


Art Techniques
Language Arts
Visual Arts


branches deciduous fall seasons spring summer trunk winter


White Paper (from a sketchbook or recycled) Twigs and Small Branches Small Spray Bottle Construction Paper – 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9” X 12”) Crayola Washable Glue Water Markers Tempera Paint Scissors

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THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step One

Step One

Take a walk in your community and gather some twigs and branches. You will need enough to make four small trees.

THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Two

Step Two

Use a large piece of white paper for your background. Fold the construction paper in half in both directions – short end to short end, and long end to long end. You should have 4 boxes. Cut along the folds to get 4 separate rectangles.

THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Three

Step Three

Glue the four blue paper rectangles onto the white paper. Leave a small space between each rectangle so your paper looks like a window.

THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Four

Step Four

Cut 4 small pieces of construction paper to place along the bottom of each rectangle for the ground. Use green for spring and summer, brown for fall and white for winter.

THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Five

Step Five

Label each rectangle as one of the seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Six

Step Six

Break your twigs into small pieces. Use the thicker pieces for the trunks of your trees. Use smaller twigs to form the branches of each tree. Use Crayola Washable Glue to glue the twigs to each sheet of paper in order to make a tree shape. Make four trees so that you have one to represent each season.

THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Seven

Step Seven

Think of the colours of each season. How do they change? Choose the season you would like to begin with. You will use a diluted solution of 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. When you are ready, place scrap paper over the other three seasons to mask them from the paint when you start spraying. Lightly spray the paint onto the first tree. 

THE FOUR SEASONS – Mixed Media Trees - Step Eight

Step Eight

Continue with the other 3 trees using appropriate colours for each season. Remember to place scrap paper over the other three seasons before you start spraying. 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Identify the appearances and characteristics of deciduous trees during the four seasons.
  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; and
  5. Support their ideas with evidence from their research.


  1. Have students incorporate one of their seasonal trees into a narrative picture depicting many aspects of their chosen season.


  1. Gather books about the seasons, for example, Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go, by Patricia Hegarty, Seasons, by Angel Murphy, If You Hold a Seed, by Elly MacKay
  2. Download images about trees in the four seasons from the Internet, for example,
  3. Have students collect branches and twigs.
  4. Prepare spray bottles with paint and provide opportunities for students to practice using them on scrap paper. (Mix half water and half paint of colours such as, pink, white, red, yellow, orange, dark green, and yellow green.)
  5. Place all needed materials out and group students so that they can easily share spray bottles.
  6. Cover exposed surfaces.
  7. Provide an exemplar.


  1. Lead students in several discussions about the ways in which 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. Ensure that all students understand the challenge.
  2. Guide students through the steps outlined in the lesson plan.
  3. Chunk or break down each step as appropriate to meet individual student needs.
  4. Encourage students to place all of their branches and twigs on the paper before gluing them.
  5. Observe students as they work offering suggestions and support.
  6. 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 spraying paint.
    - How did the twigs contribute to the effectiveness of the work? (Created strong lines and a three dimensional appearance.)
    - How did the spray-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. Use the Teacher Observation Sheet to note progress while students are working. (Downloads – SEASONS_tracking.pdf)
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works.
  3. Have students fill out a Four Seasons self-assessment form. (Downloads – SEASONS_self-assessment.pdf)