Madagascar is home to some of the most unique plants and animals. For example, there are over 900 species of orchids, 85% of which are only found there. As well as over 200 varieties of palms and 6 of baobabs. I was unfamiliar with the baobab tree before this week and they are so fascinating! They look like they should be in a fantasy novel with their plain trunks stretching toward the sky with a cluster of branches and leaves at the top. I’ll be honest, they don’t look real.
Baobabs at Sunset: An Art Project
This art project is actually a STEAM project, by combining painting and color theory with nature and the study of plants. All you need is white paper, paint, a circle to create a negative space and black paper for your tree silhouettes.
Start by taping down a circle that will represent the sun (we used a Pringles lid), it needs to be near the bottom of the page- it is a painting of a sunset so the sun needs to be setting 🙂
Next draw a cluster of baobab trees on the black paper and cut it out, be sure to include some ground.
Now it is time to paint! Encourage your artist to start with the lightest colors closest to the sun and gradually get darker as you move away…. I tried this with Martin but in the end he did his own thing.
Once the paint is dry, remove your circle and glue the baobabs in place. And you are all done!
Chameleon Activity and Book
Chameleons are native to Madagascar and there is a variety that you can only find there, the panther chameleon. One of our favorite books by Eric Carle is The Mixed Up Chameleon.
It is about a chameleon who wants to change more than just his color so that he can be like other animals, it is delightful! So to start, we read the book and talked about how the chameleon can change colors to blend in or camouflage with its surroundings.
Next we made our own color changing chameleons! You will need zip top bags, shaving cream, food coloring, sharpie and packing tape or duck tape. Start by drawing a chameleon on each bag.
Next, fill each bag 2/3s full with shaving cream (be sure to keep the bags flat). Add red and blue color to one bag, blue and yellow to another and finally yellow and red (or any combo you would like). Use the packing tape or duck tape to seal the baggie closed for good. *I would recommend placing each of these in another bag, when we did it the sharpie came off on their hands and the table, praise God it cleaned up easy enough but you couldn’t see the chameleons any more. So the extra bag should help minimize the mess.
Hand it over and let your scientist explore as they mix the colors to create new ones! Even my 15 month old had fun with this one!