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Family-Friendly Art Activity: Make Your Own Tree May 20, 2020

By Melissa Aytenfisu
Tags: fun, art, museum, houston, mfah, video, collage, skills, family-activities

Steinkamp - Mike Kelley, 14

Jennifer Steinkamp, Mike Kelley, 14​, 2007–08, video installation, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Isabel B. Wilson and The Brown Foundation, Inc. © Jennifer Steinkamp, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

Vincent van Gogh, The Rocks, 1888, oil on canvas, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Audrey Jones Beck.

The finished product! Once completed, your tree collage will look something like this.

Melissa Aytenfisu, MFAH teaching artist

Get ready for some family fun! Grab some old magazines and scraps of colored paper for this tree-collage art project, inspired by a popular work of art from the Museum collections: Jennifer Steinkamp’s video projection Mike Kelley, 14. Follow along below with step-by-step instructions and a how-to video produced by MFAH teaching artist Melissa Aytenfisu. See why she loves sharing this activity with her own children.

Creative Expression
I love that this project gives children the liberty to pick and choose images, colors, and patterns that they find appealing and then weave them into a single collage background. When they finish the project by laying the tree stencil on top, the whole image comes together! The final product always looks amazing, in its own unique way, so there’s no pressure for your tree to look “perfect.”

Fine Motor Skills & Artistic Choice
Making this tree collage requires children to practice their fine motor skills in order to cut out the stencil for the tree. The project also helps children work through the basic concepts of pattern and design as they decide how and where to arrange their cut-out images onto their background in a visually appealing way.

Problem Solving
Art activities are important to incorporate into children’s days at home because art skills are truly the basis of problem-solving skills. Working through an art project is an excellent way to practice solving problems in a creative fashion.

Download the instructions

Find more inspiration in the MFAH collections