Looking for an easy squirrel-themed art idea for your kids? Today I’m sharing a cute and easy watercolor squirrel art project inspired by Lois Ehlert’s Nuts to You!
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Nuts to You! is a simple, yet colorful picture book about a squirrel living in the city. It follows the city squirrel as he makes his rounds at an apartment building getting into birdseed, flowers, and, most unusually, sneaks in through an apartment window. A handful of nuts come into the story as the narrator lures the squirrel outside. The story and illustrations are lots of fun, but don’t let that fool you. In typical Lois Ehlert fashion, plants, birds, and insects are labeled throughout the book and facts about squirrels are included at the end.
Nuts to You! Watercolor Squirrel Art
After reading Nuts to You!, we decided it would be fun to recreate some of the illustrations from the book. We grabbed the following art supplies from our homeschool closet and got started:
- Watercolor paper
- Watercolor paint set
- White and brown crayons
- Sharpie marker
- Spray bottle with water
- Table salt
Step 1 – Draw Squirrel Outline
The illustrations in Nuts to You! are fun and easy, which made them the perfect inspiration for our watercolor squirrel art. We picked a page from the book and used the squirrel there for our example and carefully used a crayon to draw our squirrels on the watercolor paper.
One of my kids used a brown crayon to outline and the other chose a white crayon for the project. The brown works better if you’re trying to replicate the illustrations from the book, but white is also fine if you simply want to create a watercolor resist effect.
After drawing the squirrel, we used our crayons to add background details. Your child may choose to use a page in the book as inspiration for the background or he or she may choose to go a completely different direction with their watercolor squirrel.
Step 2 – Paint Squirrel and Background
After the outlines are finished, the painting fun can begin. Depending on the background choice, the painting process could go quickly or require more time to complete.
Step 3 – Add Details
Next, we sprinkled small amounts of salt on our paintings to replicate the illustrations in Nuts to You! After we added salt, we used our spray bottle to add a little more water to our pages.
Note, this detail is optional, but it creates a nice effect. The salt soaks up some of the liquid from the paint and create variations in the pigment.
When everything dried, we dusted off the salt and completed our paintings by outlining the squirrels.
Our completed projects turned out to be quite different, — one with a bright and colorful background and one with the brick backdrop from the book — but they were a cute and easy way to add some artsy fun to our reading time!
The Nature Book Club
Monthly Linkup #2
Guess what… there’s more squirrely fun happening through the Nature Book Club. This month’s theme is small mammals and my nature-loving friends have some fun book-related learning ideas for us!
- Small Worlds Preschool – The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin – Peg Doll Squirrel and Owl
- Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus – Arctic Ground Squirrel – Amazing Creature Series – Arctic Ground Squirrel Lapbook & Unit Study
- Eva Varga – Our Foray into Squirrel Taxidermy – Taxidermy
- Preschool Naturally – The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin – Felt Acorn Nature Pouch
- Handbook of Nature Study – Tracks, Scats, and Signs – Nature Walk-Looking for Tracks, Scat, and Signs
- Rule This Roost – Build, Beaver, Build!: Life at the Longest Beaver Dam – Beaver Habitat Building
- The Usual Mayhem – The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin – Beatrix Potter Artist Study Printables Freebie
- The Playful Scholar – The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun – Good Reads For Fun On Groundhog Day
- Wind in a Letterbox – Meerkat Mail – Postcard Art Activity
- Hide the Chocolate – Stellaluna – Bat Online Book Club
- Everyday Graces Homeschool – Frederick – Art Activity
Better yet, our February Nature Book Club Giveaway is A Kid’s Spring Ecojournal from our friend Toni Albert. Use the giveaway widget below to enter to win. 🙂
February Theme: Small Mammals
The Nature Book Club is a monthly linkup beginning on the 20th day of each month. It’s a monthly book club devoted to connecting children to nature. There is a theme for each month in 2018 and we welcome your nature book and activity related links!