Summer Fun in Monet’s Garden

 by Carol Sabbeth, author of Monet and the Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas, 21 Activities.

Put on your berets! Get out the paints! All you need is a splash of water.What better way to celebrate the sunny days of summer than creating a water
garden filled with lilies a la Monet? Little artists will enjoy painting, cutting, and folding this 3-dimensional lily that can float in a punchbowl as a centerpiece for a party. Or, add several to a kiddies pool to sparkle in the sunlight — just like Monet’s garden in France.

Water lily pattern, instructions, and a short story about Impressionist artist Claude Monet.

More ways for children to celebrate favorite artists

Throw a Victorian Tea Party

First, have fun making lilies and floating them in a punchbowl filled with water and a drop of blue food coloring. Next, provide big feathered hats, beaded necklaces, paper fans, and other accessories for your guests to wear. Set your lily-decorated table with plates of cookies and teacups filled with lemonade. Don’t forget to raise your little pinky when you sip your tea!

Start with a Story

Read Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christine Bjork to learn about the artist and his wonderful garden. You’ll be inspired to create your own dazzling water lily art.

Make Up Your Own Story

Monet’s paintings of water lilies look like a fairytale come true. After making your own lilies, play a story-telling game about Monet’s garden. Here’s what to do:

  • Find a picture of one of Monet’s many lily pond paintings. One that includes his Japanese bridge would be perfect.
  • Write a phrase on an index card that begins a statement about the scene in the picture. Leave blanks that will be filled in when you play the game. Make at least 5 different cards.Here are some example phrases you might use for a fairytale:

Ÿ A little purple frog wearing a tutu lives in the pond. Believe it or not he can __.

Ÿ Every day a magical ___ walks across the bridge. It is wearing a ____ !

Ÿ Three fabulous friends live in this garden. They are a ___, a ____, and a ___.

Ÿ But there is a problem in the garden because _____.

  • To play, bring out the picture and place the index cards face down. The first player begins by saying “Once upon a time there was a magical lily pond,” then chooses a card and reads the statement out loud. He or she makes up part of the story by filling in the blank. The next person chooses a card, repeats the story already told, and then reads the statement on this card and adds on to the story. Take turns adding to the story until all the cards are used. To finish, every player gets a turn to make up an ending to the story.

Once Upon a Van Gogh Writing Contest

Choose a painting by Vincent van Gogh and make up a story about what is happening in the picture. The contest is open to children ages 9 to 11 and 12 to 14. All contest entries must be submitted by midnight EST on Saturday, October 1st, 2011. More details on the Van Gogh writing contest.

Bio: Carol Sabbeth is the author of Monet and the Impressionists for Kids, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera — Their Lives and Ideas, and Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids.  She presents workshops to children and teachers throughout the United States. She also performs as a storyteller, bringing art history to life by impersonating famous women artists. For more activities and lesson plans visit


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  1. says

    Carol Sabbath’s website is a wonderful resource for sharing art with children. Inspiration from great artists for little creative minds. Thank you for sharing her links and her work here, Imaginationsoup. Your posts are always such a wealth of ideas, activities and new ways to spend time with children.

  2. Annette says

    I’m definitely going to make this with the kids. They have a book called Phillipe in monet’s garden that they love.

  3. says

    I love this! I will be back for the instructions to do it with my kiddos – what great wall decorations in a shadow box when we are done!


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