I am reading Cloudland to the children this week. This wonderful story by John Burningham is about a boy who has an accident and goes to live with children in the clouds. The children were so involved in the story and the illustrations provided so much opportunity for discussion.
After reading the story the first time we looked through the book again and discussed what colors we could see in the clouds (the illustrations are mostly drawn onto wonderful photographs of clouds). We started off with white and blue, but then the children started looking closer. Suddenly more and more colors were noticed – purple, black, gray, yellow, peach…..
We then talked about the shapes of the clouds. The children were really stretching their vocabularies in describing the clouds – round, line, tree shaped, all over the place, fluffy, squirrel tail, hot dog shaped…..
Remember my wonderful find from the interior design store? Well I decided to put some of the wallpaper samples to good use. I had one book full of samples, each with line drawings depicting various outdoor scenes. There are some ladies by a river, birds, animals, castles, bridges….. maybe a little crazy for walls, but wonderful for cloud painting!
Following our discussion from the book, the children told me what color paints they would need. They then chose the wallpaper panel that they wanted and got to work adding the clouds. I was concerned I had too many panels for the children to really look at and choose from, but wanted them to offer choice. So I hung two rows on the wall very simply, with paper clips and string. All were at their level and they really did look carefully and choose the ones they wished to adorn with clouds.
As they worked the children talked in great depth about their pictures.
I made orange clouds. That means there is going to be a big storm.
It is a yellow cloud day. They are flying their kites in the flowers.
The birds are cold.
Look at the green. I made green grass and a blue sky.