Take art outside with natural materials found in your yard or on a hike. Whether it’s creating fairy houses out of sticks or building small temporary flower gardens, your kids will find lots of ways to extend their outdoor play with the natural materials around them.
When the art is done, take a picture of it or document it in some way. After my kids did a walk at a local marsh in Kindergarten, they glued items they collected at the marsh to a piece of paper and talked about what they found in front of the class. Leaf rubbings and flower pressing are other ways to preserve your children’s art made from nature. Build a wind chime out of sticks and natural items. Press collected items into plaster and create a personalized stepping stone for the garden.
I’m always looking for easy ways to get my kids involved in art projects without too much fuss or mess. Making temporary art with nature materials leads my kids to think about construction, texture, color, and working in 2 dimension or 3 dimension as they figure out what it is they want to make with the materials. Since we have lots of flower beds in our yard, plus take walks in local woods, my kids have access to lots of materials.
To get started, set up a crate outside and collect materials as the kids find them. Add in other materials like slices of wood. For larger pieces like long sticks, have a designated storage spot out of the way yet easy to access for clean up. Caveat: If you collect materials from outside your yard, make sure you have permission to do so. Neighbors usually don’t mind; local arboretums and refuges usually don’t permit removal of anything.
You can set up a designated area for semi-permanent constructions or make them and break down the project down when the session is over. Just make sure to take a picture with the builders before dissembling. When out on a nature walk, take a short break and make some simple nature art to leave behind for someone else to enjoy.
Leave No Trace: If you collect natural materials on a hike, build your temporary art in place instead of bringing it home. Many parks and refuges do not permit natural materials to be removed from their site to protect the environment. Also, stick to materials you find loose on the ground to prevent damaging native vegetation.
- Nature Study Resources
- 10 Ways to Add Fun to Your Nature Walk
- outdoor hour: nature study close to home
- Nature Study Just Outside the Window
- No Juggling Required: How to Handle Activities with Kids of Multiple Ages
- Kids Unplugged: 100 Simple Outdoor Adventures