I got this idea last year during student teaching from my friend Katie http://artteacheradventures.blogspot.com/.
This project is a fun springtime idea and the results turn out so well!
This year, I had my 1st graders use oil pastels to create a close-up tree. We talked about the texture and color of tree bark as well as "zooming in". I did an example for my sub because I was gone for my HS league show and I wish I didn't, because all of the trees looked very similar to mine. I always find making an example a risk, because many times the example becomes a pattern rather than an idea to start out with. It's such a tricky decision to make...example or no example?!
Anyway, after the trees were finished I gave my students 2 white rectangle pieces of paper. Mine were scrapes from something else, but I'm guessing they were about 3X4 inches or so. We discussed examples of patterns with shapes and color and used crayons to fill the scrap papers. I had my students flip their patterned paper over and draw two oval shapes on each paper, creating 4 egg shapes.
We cut and glued the eggs on slightly above the branch, leaving some blue paper showing. Then my students glued on newspaper that I had pre-cut into small, thin strips. This created a nest for their bird eggs.
I love this project because it focuses on many basic motor skills such as cutting and gluing. It also allows for teaching many elements/principles of design.