Construction Zone: The Seed of Determination

“Everything originates from the seed of determination.” ~ Chinese fortune cookie message

Now that the ground is clear of snow, head outdoors and collect some colorful, textured, and fascinating things from nature. Choose two or three elements to start. There are pinecones galore, fallen twigs from a wet, windy Monday, and who knows what else. Fill your bag or basket with lots of each thing and get ready to make an original design.

LEAPS’ artist Cindy McGuirl shared this idea with us.


Day 5  Ground Pattern / Floor Pattern / Patterns all Around

Mindset: Design-thinking.

What’s a pattern? A pattern is a design that repeats in a predictable way. When we look at the design we notice something regular about it. But it doesn’t mean that each of the elements is exactly the same. Here are two patterns: pinecone, shell, pinecone, shell, pinecone.

And green, brown, green, brown, green, brown. (Each of these tiny pieces was part of something whole that either crumbled on its own or was taken apart.)

Time to start: 

º Collect more natural objects. Twigs are in abundance. Pick up lots of them. Bark is all around. You can tear it into different shaped pieces and use them to create a pattern. You can do the same with other things you find outside. (Remember, just collect the unattached.)

º Decide which ones you will use for your pattern. The simplest pattern is made from two items like you see up above. That’s called an ” a  b  a  b  a  b”  pattern.  Start simple and go for more complex and intricate later on.

º Which shape will you use to form your pattern?  You can make a simple straight line, a circular shape, or even a spiral.

º Try adding a new element.  Make patterns like: “a  a  b  a  a  b  a  a  b”  and  “a  b  b  c  a  b  b  c.”   How many patterns can you invent?

º Experiment by adding more and more elements.

We want to see your designs!  Photograph them, send them to us, and we will post them here.

Here’s an amazing mandala created by Josh, a fifth grader in Mrs. McNichol’s class at South School. THANK YOU, Josh!

Enjoy the fun of creating from nature,

Nancy for the LEAPS’ Team


©Nancy Harris Frohlich 2020


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