Kids’ art from the farm: Connecting food, farming, and the environment

Oxbow’s seasonal Farm Adventures are more than just farm field trips. In many cases the kids who visit us are experiencing, for the very first time, that much of the food they eat grows on a farm – it doesn’t just appear on the shelves at the supermarket! We recently partnered with a local high-needs school to provide environmental education to kindergarteners. As a post-field trip activity, our educators invited the kids to create drawings about nature and asked them to describe their artwork. We’re sharing some of their drawings and interpretations below: the connections that the young students made after their visit to Oxbow are nothing short of astounding.

In the above drawing, the student drew carrots that he saw at Oxbow. Also shown is broccoli, a tomato, and a fruit tree with apples and grapes.

 

One detail-oriented kindergartener drew butterflies (her favorite animal), wind, her house, a big bush, birds, trees, a spider, a flower, an egg in a nest with a mom & dad bird, a caterpillar climbing up a tree, God (see way at the top!), a barn, and jellyfish in the water. She reports that butterflies are her favorite and make her happy because “they are a type of nature.”

 

The artist of this drawing connected the flowers in his artwork to tall flowers seen at his grandma’s house.

 

 One student drew some “delicious” carrots in his artwork. He lives on a farm and has seen carrots growing at Oxbow.

Our education team analyzed dozens of drawings and responses directly from the children, and every one of them had fascinating way of connecting to the natural world. Each piece of artwork is creative and endearing, but what’s truly remarkable are the connections that some of the students started to make between nature and the food that they eat. In a world largely dominated by screens and technology, education that connects young minds to their natural environment becomes that much more crucial. Even at the tender ages of 5 and 6, children are more than capable of understanding the importance of the world beyond the indoor classroom.

Here, our young artist has drawn his Oxbow experience in great detail. Pictured are the farmers, birds making noise, a cherry tree, blueberries, flowers, a greenhouse, and pumpkins, including an “old, slimy pumpkin.” He connects that pumpkins are used to make pie and cherries can be picked and eaten.

“Children who respect the environment feel an emotional attachment to the natural world, and deeply understand the link between themselves and nature, will become environmentally literate citizens. The task of environmental education for young children is to forge the bond between children and nature.” Guidelines for Excellence: Early Childhood EE Programs, North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE, 2010)

Our experience with early learners at area schools has been eye-opening, and we want to bring opportunities for environmental education to MORE students like the ones who created the above artwork. One of Oxbow’s goals is to connect more youth to the outdoors and guide them towards discoveries about soil, plants, food, and nature on the farm and beyond – but not every school has the means to get their students to us. Please help us reach more early learners who need outdoor education, now more than ever. GiveBIG to Oxbow today!