Read and make: Leonardo Da Vinci

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April 15 was Leonardo Da Vinci’s birthday, we have visited the Da Vinci Machines Exhibit back in August 2012 and ever since my kids were very interested in Leonardo Da Vinci’s creations. Those in Denver Metro Area who still haven’t been to the exhibit, hurry and visit it, it ends April 21 and it’s an absolute must!

A couple of images from the exhibit (pardon the inferior quality of pictures)

20120824_171012     20120824_173717

This time around after fondly remembering the fun we had at the exhibit we decided to read a few books on Leonardo:

The first two books D. read on his own

Monday With a Mad Genius (Magic Tree House #38)  by Mary Pope Osborne and its companion Leonardo Da Vinci Research Guide

[click on images to purchase from  Alibris ]

His writing assignment was to write down 10 facts from what he learned.

After that together with C. (4 y.o.) we sat down and read  Da Vinci by Mark Venezia (published in 1989 by Children’s Press). It’s a wonderful book full of pictures of paintings and journal sketches. The text gives information on Leonardo Da Vinci’s biography and is easy enough for a preschooler to understand, yet interesting enough for a second grader.


The second book we enjoyed very much was Journal of Inventions:Leonardo Da Vinci by Jaspre Bark (published in 2009 by Silver Dolphin Books). It is an interactive book, there are pop-up paper models of inventions inside and children can test them out. The text inside is based on Da Vinci’s journals.

There is one more book we looked through but did not have enough time to read, I recommend it still, it is interesting and illustrations are great!
Leonardo Da Vinci by Diane Stanley

Leonardo Da Vinci:1452-1519 The Complete Paintings and Drawings was another book we looked at and it’s a treasure in our art books collection.

Our activities:

1. D. sat C. down and drew her portrait “Mona Lisa style”, it was a challenge to make her keep her hands on her knees I must say. D. took a special care to make the model, her imaginary black robe  and background (imaginary sunset) blend together. The result gives a mixed impression of Mona Lisa meets The Scream, but they had a great fun doing it 🙂


2. We created Leonardo Da Vinci inspired journal. The idea for this project came from this post by art smarts 4 kids blog. What we did before making a journal though is we poured some strong tea into a baking pan and dipped our paper in it for a couple of minutes. Then we hung our sheets to dry on chairs, paper was almost completely dry by the time we finished our lunch and it now had a nice tint like old pages. D. tied it up with rickrack and signed it . He used “mirror writing” method just like Leonardo. At first it was challenging for him, but then he got really good and even did some labeling for his invention.


I asked him to think about an invention that would make our lives easier. After short consideration he came up with (of course) a machine that would pick up his lego from the floor. He used a brown colored pencil to sketch and label his invention.


The next part was building it. We agreed that there is not enough material to build the machine at our house at the moment, so we settled for a lego prototype.


Maybe one day this machine will come to life full-sized too.

Other books we read on Our Bookshelf


4 thoughts on “Read and make: Leonardo Da Vinci

  1. Pingback: Leonardo DaVinci The Mona Lisa - Documentary | Finer Lifestyle Magazine

  2. Pingback: Da Vinci – The Lost Treasure (BBC) | Finer Lifestyle Magazine

  3. Pingback: BOOK PILE: Pop-Up Books | Sunflowerous Days

  4. Pingback: Learning about Galileo | Sunflowerous Days

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