Pastels with Boys–Chickadees

Thanks to Hodgdpodge’s Tutorial for Pastel Chickadees , we had a fun easy activity for the boys to do this week while on break. I asked them a couple of times if they wanted to draw birds, and they both said no. Then we had a friend over for a couple of days, and again – with the no. Not in a yucky reply, but just in a – “we’re so busy we can’t possibly sit and color right now” tone.


So, I do what I usually do when I want them to join me – make huge mugs of hot cocoa, put out all of the fun supplies, and just start doing the activity myself, with a few extra journals out of course.  It didn’t take them long to find me and sit down . . . I’m so sneaky. Winking smile


One thing that was fun about this lesson, was listening to the boys chat it up with their friend. Hearing the shy words that he gave as he started:

  • I’m not good at drawing.
  • I’m not good at drawing birds.
  • I can’t get the shape right.
  • Mine doesn’t look like it is supposed to.
  • I need another piece of paper (with only two marks on his paper).
  • I think I will just watch.

But then hearing the replies from the boys, while I drew my little bird:

  • This is just sketching, it’s not like drawing.
  • You can only draw what you see so spend some time looking at the bird in the book.
  • The shape will be fine, just add something to the picture like a branch.
  • Have you heard of a kneaded eraser? They are really cool.
  • Have you seen this chickadee that looks like a squished chicken? It’s just fun to draw.
  • We have plenty of paper.

And in the end, we spent an hour or so out in the craft room, chatting and giggling, creating silly pictures. Everyone participated. Since we are studying Chickadees with our Handbook of Nature Study – Winter series, I didn’t stress any field guide work. Since we are on a break from our Artist Studies, I didn’t require them to try to learn a new skill or create the work to a rubric. It was just fun open drawing – with a focus or starting point – with the black capped Chickadee.


The table afterwards.

What was interesting – is that in the end, each boy drew “what they saw”.
I could see what they look at through their windows:


Nate drew his bird feeder outside our living room window.


Jon drew the Stellar Jay – in Picasso Style.
(He said bigger eye, bolder lines, grey’s bold strokes.) Ha.


And, the young man, who started with all of the I Can’ts?  Who started with the first Chickadee outline at the top of the post?  Here’s where he ended up as we spoke. It looks a lot like the view from his window at his home. . . .


A fun day of drawing wouldn’t be complete without
zombies, happy fish and Angry Black Capped Chickadees to top it off.


You can print out the Tutorial – pull out some field guides, and spend  time gazing at the feeder too!



Number One Tip –
Dump the Pastels!! Woot!
The freedom of not putting the sticks back in a color order in the case slots!!!!!!!!


About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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4 Responses to Pastels with Boys–Chickadees

  1. Jennifer says:

    Awesome pictures, sneaky Mama, Happy New Year!

  2. Fun, fun,fun. I love this post….boys are the best (don’t tell my daughter). I could hear their voices and I loved seeing their results. Thanks Angie for sharing your day.

  3. Makita says:

    We just did this one too! Why do I seem to be suffering a blog-write burn out?

  4. Blossom says:

    Oh!! Love this post!! heehee… boys! I sure wish I lived closer!

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