Family Activity: Looking Glasses
Examine John Constable's painting Stoke-by-Nayland, 1836 and see the English countryside come to life. Includes discussion questions and an art-making activity.
John Constable’s Stoke-by-Nayland depicts a beautiful day in the English countryside. Many aspects of daily life fill the scene: oxen pull a cart as a woman casually leans against a fence. In the distance, the buildings of a small village are clustered together beneath a sky filled with billowing clouds. Constable created this image based on sketches and memories of visits to his aunt’s home in a small farming village. His painting allows us to peek into this landscape and experience the sights and sounds of life in the English countryside.
- How many cows can you find?
- What other types of animals do you see, and what are they doing?
- What smells and sounds do you imagine fill this landscape?
- Can you imagine the conversation between the two people in the foreground? What are they talking about?
Make a pair of binoculars to discover the details in your town or neighborhood.
- 2 empty toilet-paper tubes
- markers and/or crayons
- glitter or sequins
- double-sided tape
- hole punch
- 2’ piece of yarn
- Decorate the toilet-paper tubes with markers, crayons, glitter, and sequins. Let the tubes dry completely.
- Using the tape, attach the tubes along the long sides to form a pair of binoculars.
- Punch a hole at one end of the outside edge of each tube.
- Feed one end of the yarn through the punched hole and tie to a knot over the edge of the tube. Repeat on the other side of binoculars with the other end of yarn.
- Use your new binoculars to go on a visual treasure hunt.
- Can you find any animals?
- What kind, and what are they doing?
- Can you find some trees?
- A tall building?
- Can you find two people talking?
- What do you imagine they are talking about?
- Discover the sights, smells, and sounds of your own neighborhood!