Talking Trees

Children make a tree person, or Ent, using clay, twigs, tree bark fragments and wool.


Exploring and using mixed media. Children use and explore a variety of natural materials, experimenting with design, texture, form and function.

Being imaginative: Using the materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes.

Provide an exemplar (see image). Clay, spare twigs, clay knives, scissors and secateurs (adult use only), wools. Board for rolling clay on.

  1. What is an Ent? Why are they hard to find? Show images of Ents, including Treebeard. Ents are trees that talk and walk. The elves taught them to speak. They look after the trees, just like a shepherd looks after sheep.
  2. Explore the materials – clay, twigs, wools, and tree bark.
  3. Go on a twig and bark hunt – Explain that bark is not taken from a living tree; it can introduce disease. Bark comes easiest off dead and lying timber. Twigs (no more than 2-3mm thick, can be gathered off bushes, with or without leaves. Select plants that produce small leaves such as hawthorn.
  4. Demonstrate and carry out stages of making.

 – Make a tree trunk out of clay. A good size is around 10cms high by 3 – 4cms thick. Begin by rolling the clay into a thick sausage. Flatten the base and mould tree roots. Check it is stable and will stand upright.

 – Insert twigs into the upper part of the clay body to make branches.

 – Drape strands of natural coloured wools onto the twigs if the twigs are bare of leaves.

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