The concept is simple. You and your child go outside and collect objects in nature. This might be a small rock, a fallen leaf, or a twig laying on the ground. I try to discourage my children from removing flowers or leaves from plants to make their art. But if they are collecting objects with the intention of studying them, I sometimes allow it. (I’ll post about outdoor ethics later!)
After you’ve had fun playing outdoors, go inside and let your kids create magnificent pieces of art!
A list of supplies is below along with more detailed instructions. Have fun creating!
Supplies for your Outdoor Adventure:
- Small container that’s easy for the kids to carry
Supplies for making Nature Art:
- Paint Brushes
- Paper or Canvas
- Elmer’s Glue
- Ribbons or String
- Hot Glue Gun (My son is 5 and I don’t let him handle the hot glue gun. The only time we use this is when he wants to make a nature sculpture – Elmer’s doesn’t cut it. I handle the glue gun and do all the gluing. He just tells me what objects he wants and how he wants them arranged.)
- Any other items you’re willing to donate to the cause!
Prepare to go outside. Wear proper clothes, make sure the kids are fed and hydrated and put on sunscreen if necessary. Explain to your child that you are going outside to collect nature objects that you’ll use to make art.
Grab a small container and head out the door! This could be a small bucket used in your sandbox, a plastic container you use for leftovers, or a small paper bag. Use whatever you have available. The trick here is to keep it small and easy for them to carry. The larger the container, the more rocks you’ll have in your house and the harder it is for the child to carry. Keep it small to minimize the amount of stuff you’ll be forced to save later!
Walk around the house or to the neighborhood park. Let your child wander and explore as they collect nature objects.
Ask them questions as you walk. What tree do you think that leaf came from? Describe the rock you just picked up. Is it soft and smooth or rough and sharp? What color is it? How long is the stick you found? Is it as tall as your baby brother? The key here is to ask simple questions that the children will enjoy answering. Nature activities should be fun and relaxed! If the kids want to explore without talking, that’s fine too! (Although I have no idea what that would be like. I’ve got a house-full of chatty males.)
Go inside when the kids are ready.
Once the kids have had their fill of outdoor play, take your nature items inside and set up a table for the kids to create their art. This can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. We have a table that the kids use to make art all year long. It’s covered in paint, glue, and markers so the kids can go wild and let their creative side reign.
Be sure to provide your kids with the basics: something to make it colorful (paint, markers) and something to put it all together (glue, tape, string).
Sometimes, I’ll sit down at the table and create art with my kids. Other times, I’ll leave them to create on their own. It just depends on what I need to get done that day or if the kids really want me to create with them. Considering that its’ one of my favorite activities, I tend to create with them. AND it’s a great opportunity for you to have fun with your kids!
Once they have finished, I always display the art – whether it’s on our art wall or on a shelf.
Have Fun Creating!
Leave your comments and art pictures below or comment on my facebook page!