Bird in a Cherry Tree easy spring art project kids art

Bird in a Cherry Tree Art Project

This project has been one of my personal favorites for a very long time. It was the first project I did that made me aware of how powerful collage and choice-based techniques are for children.

The project is based on the illustrations in Lois Ehlert’s book, Pie in the Sky. It uses a plain or colored paper background with a bird created with bits of painted paper. See this post on how to make painted paper for your students.

I used templates for the bird’s head, body, tail and wings as this is a great way to set the pace of a class when you have a large number of children. If you’re not a fan of templates, a nice compromise is to use the body template to establish a workable size for this project, then the children can add their own head and wings. Without the size standard, most children will draw a very tiny bird which makes the collage part really hard.

This is a project that’s inside our membership, The Sparklers Club. The full lesson plan has templates, but you can easily make your own. Simply look at any image or photo of a bird and draw 4 sections: the head, body, tail and wing. Use cardstock or heavier weight paper to create a few templates for your students.

Bird in a Cherry Tree easy spring art project kids art


– Painted paper or colored paper scraps for bird

– 12″ x 9″ white colored paper for background

– Brown, green and red papers for branches, cherries and leaves

– Glue stick

– Scissors

– Pencil for tracing

– Paint markers or oil pastels

*Optional Paint Sprizers from Roylco

Creating the Bird

Creating the Bird pt 1 Bird in a Cherry Tree

The bird uses bits of colored paper, painted paper and/or scrapbook patterned papers. Place a selection of like colored papers in a tray on each of your student’s table and allow them to choose the paper for their bird’s body, head, tail and wings. This is really a fun process for kids so prepare to sit back and enjoy this creative process.

Bird in a Cherry Tree easy spring art project kids art

To assemble the bird, place the body on a work surface. Glue the head and wing on top of the body. Then the tail is glued under the body.

Use markers, construction paper crayons or if you have some paint markers to add patterns over top of the bird.

Set bird aside while students work on their background.

Creating the Background

Bird in a Cherry Tree easy spring art project kids art

Select either a colored paper background or a white piece of paper. I received some Junior Paint Spritzers from Roylco and played around with spritzing my white paper with blue and purple liquid watercolors. I really love the effect and so will the kids. Only trick is to make sure the paper dries a bit before kids start working with it.

paper birds on a cherry tree project for kids using an alternate background

To make the branch, cut a slightly curved line along the length of the brown paper. Cut another line just below the cut line matching the curve. Add one or two of these branches to the background paper with a glue stick.

paper birds on a cherry tree project for kids Step 2

Gather a collection (3-4) pieces of small green papers and cut leaf shapes. Depending on your age group, take the time to show the kids how to fold the paper and cut one leaf shape in order to get a pair.

paper birds on a cherry tree project for kids Step 3

Glue leaves to branch. You may want to suggest that the kids point the tips together and fan out the leaves. Before cutting out the small cherries, glue the bird over the branch and leaves.

paper birds on a cherry tree project for kids Step 4

This project has been around for a very long time and I’ve seen many iterations of it over the years. Here’s mine when I posted the lesson way back in 2010.

I’d love to see your versions or if you try this version, tag me on Instagram @deepspacesparkle.com

First Grade Examples Bird in a Cherry Tree


Bird in a Cherry Tree free project spring bright art lesson for kids

What do you think?

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  • Lisa Johnson

    I’m a sparkler, but can’t find this lesson in The Sparklers Club.

    • Patty

      Hi Lisa!
      The original lesson is located in the Natural World Bundle 🙂

  • Debby Waldron

    As usual, I like your project. I’ve followed you for years. I don’t teach art anymore but once in a while I am able to work your ideas into a lesson. This is another idea I hope to find a way to integrate into a lesson. Thank you!

  • Heidi Filmer-Gallagher

    They are fabulous! Thank you for everything you do!!!

  • roseross9

    I am looking at some things that I do not have enough points! What are these points? Rose

  • Joyce

    I am so glad that I found your website. I love the art and how you make it so easy to create beautiful works of art with children of all ages. Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent!

  • Karen Purke

    I like the project !

  • Lisa

    Hello I would like access to the template, where can I find it?

    • Bethany

      Hi Lisa! This is a project that’s inside our membership, The Sparklers Club. The full lesson plan has templates, but you can easily make your own. If you’re a Sparkler, sign in, and use the search bar.

    • Patty

      We don’t offer the handouts and templates in this free post but if you are a Sparkler, the resources for this lesson is found in the Natural World Bundle.

  • Eleanor

    Some day, if and when I ever get my art room back, I’d love to try this beautiful project. Students have to use their own art supplies this COVID year, and many of them only have crayons…no sharing. I have to stick with simpler projects, which is the reason I signed up for dss.

  • Elaine

    I LOVE this idea! I would also add that you can find small spray bottles at Dollar Tree for 2/$1 in the craft section. They work very well with liquid watercolor (I’ve tried them!)

  • Sally Wright

    I love being a Sparkler! I really appreciatee these lessons being emailed to remind me of some of the amazing lessons to do and teach!

  • Susan Mitchell


  • Ellie Jones

    I love this one!!!!!!!!!! Great for our classroom and our budget!

  • Leah Mack

    Awesome idea.

  • Yvonne

    Thanks again! Your ideas are GREAT!

  • Paula

    This is wonderful- but unfortunately we are not allowed to share materials. I would have to have a template for each student and they wouldn’t be allowed to share papers- it just wouldn’t work in the times we are living in now.
    I’ll save this one.
    It would mean so much to us art teachers if you could relate to what we are dealing with. Even as the vaccine is rolled out- so many of us are still remote- or just coming to school for the first time in a year- and still on carts.
    Receiving lessons like this creates massive PTSD (many teachers on FB groups talk about it) because we are teaching in very constricting conditions and this lesson is so beautifully achieved in a collaborative space.
    The pandemic isn’t over. We need some real help pushing through the next three months.
    We need simple l- we need digital resources that we can show on the smart board and share to the remote learners that we are simultaneously teaching. We need slide shows of instruction-of the literature connections- of the artist study.
    We need limited materials.
    You can bet your bottom dollar that many of us will never see our art rooms again since the admin has seen it can be done on a cart. So we will need lessons, with that consideration, in the future.
    Please keep us in mind. We love DSS but we are still living in a nightmare and reading about sharing painted papers and tracers, seems like a different world.
    The membership is not cheap and having enrollment open and close adds to the panic because I don’t want to lose out but I hoped the lessons would continue to reflect our current pandemic situation and it’s not. I want to live in the bubble these lessons were created in…lol
    In reality I’m dependent upon children remembering their art supplies and that their sharpie didn’t dry out because I am not allowed to loan anything- nor do I want to and risk getting sick. We already had deaths in our school. I’m in NY.
    Thanks for listening. I hope your team can rise to this challenge! We all need to make changes- a “new normal”-

    • Patty

      Thanks Paula. We do support teachers–in a big way. But help requires an investment. The Sparklers Club offers all that you are asking of us in your comments above. You are worth a $35 investment. Your school can also pay for your membership. Teachers in your school have curriculums bought for them and you should too! Our free resources are fabulous but they don’t offer a perfect solution for everybody. And they don’t refelct the hard work that we have undertaken on behalf of thousands of art teachers for the last 10 months to provide resources, trainings and lessons for teachers who are remote or teaching from a cart.
      But you are a creative, original thinker and I know that you can create lessons yourself. It takes time, but you can do it!
      If you need help, The Sparklers Club is a lifeline.

    • Patty

      Also, here are a few posts that might help!

  • Staci Ratkovich

    This is beautiful

  • Gma Jan

    These are beautiful. I am not a Sparkler as I am a grandma on a limited income, but I love to use your ideas with my grandchildren. I am their “art Grandma” and their other grandma is their “shopping Grandma.” I am no artist but you make me look terrific.

    • Patty

      Sparkle on, Art Grandma! I know which one I’d rather be!

  • Angela Rubin

    Love this lesson

  • Amanda

    Love this.

  • Hanne Birgitte Hjorth

    Fine job

  • Nilima

    is there any video to see the process?

    • Bethany

      Hi Nilima! There is no video for this free project, just the step-by-step instructions shown above!

  • Linden Davies

    Absolutely love the multi layered look.

  • Denise Carroll

    I couldn’t download this project!

    • Bethany

      Hi Denise! For this free lesson there is nothing to download. The steps to complete it are all in the post above! Enjoy.

  • Lily

    Have some much fun doing your art projects!!

    • Vandana Shah

      Beautiful project. Is there a bird template?

      • Bethany

        Hi Vandana! This is Bethany from Team Sparkle. This is a project that’s inside our membership, The Sparklers Club. The full lesson plan has templates, but you can easily make your own. Simply look at any image or photo of a bird and draw 4 sections: the head, body, tail and wing. If you are interested in full lesson plans you should consider joining The Sparklers’ Club, enrollment is closed right now but if you join the waitlist we will email you when we open it up again in August! https://deepspacesparkle.lpages.co/the-sparklers-club-waitlist/

  • Vicki Skinner

    What age group and how long does project take?

    • Patty

      First grade through any age and about 3, 40-minute classes for First graders. Less for older kids 🙂

  • Ruth Hunter

    I like this one hopefully the kids can manage it.

  • Elizabeth Pursell

    Love this! Thank you!

  • ginny

    Amazing project.


    Very nice!

  • Sylvia

    This a beautiful collage project where all students can be creative as well as successful.

  • Jo

    I would like to get a membership but am having trouble signing up! Please help!

    • Bethany

      Hi Jo! This is Bethany from Team Sparkle. Our membership is closed right now but you can join the waitlist and we will update you when enrollment reopens 🙂
      We’d love to welcome you into the community!


  • Elizabeth Pursell

    TY! 🙂

  • rose ross

    Love all these ideas- works for our program

  • Chandan

    Can’t find the lesson bird in a cherry tree?

    • avery

      You can find this lesson in the NATURAL WORLD BUNDLE, titled LOIS ELHERT’S SPRING BIRD. 🙂

  • Heather Lane

    This is a great collage project and stunning to put on display!!!!

  • Lata Srinivasan

    I am a sparkler and I cannot find this lesson in the Natural World Bundle.

    • Bethany

      Hi Lata! Before using the search bar in the top right corner make sure you are logged in to The Sparklers’ Club and see that logo on the top of the page. Then type in “bird in cherry tree” and it should pop right up! If you still have trouble finding it please reach out to support@deepspacesparkle.com and they can lend a hand! Enjoy.

  • Rebecka

    Love it. Love the colors.



  • Elizabeth J Whitney

    I love it!

  • marianna

    thank you!

  • hlgroen

    Love this project so much!

  • Jacque Stephens


  • Lesley Clover-Brown


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