You don’t need a supply closet full of materials to create beautiful art—just some creativity.
By looking to your backyard for creative inspiration, you can both teach your kids about the importance reusing objects and have some fun. Get outdoors and explore, and then once you’re home, use what you’ve found to make some unique nature crafts for kids.
If your kids are anything like mine, they often come home from exploring with a pocketful of rocks and pebbles. That assortment doesn’t have to just collect dust. Even your youngest artists can dazzle up a rock with some finger paint and turn it into a colorful paperweight. Bigger kids can get more detailed with paintbrushes and add images or letters to rocks to spell out a message.
These materials can also be transformed into pet rocks by painting on faces and gluing on yarn for hair, or you can stack and glue several smaller pebbles together to create a creature with a head and body. Small pebbles can also make a great decorative addition to a homemade terrarium. Rocks are so simple, but the artistic possibilities are endless, so let your kids take the lead and come up with projects of their own.
I always loved collecting pinecones as a child. One of my favorite memories with my grandmother is when she showed me how to turn those pinecones into animals. Pinecones are the perfect shape for just about any animal body, from bears to hedgehogs, even birds. With the addition of pipe cleaners or craft sticks for legs, googly eyes, some paint, and a little creativity, your kids can have fun transforming their finds into a whole forest of animals.
Sticks and twigs are always a favorite for playtime in our backyard. They make great magic wands and birthday candles for mud pies and are the ultimate tool to make some nature crafts for kids. You can use twigs and yarn to build a hanging mobile, for example. Start with a larger stick and then tie other sticks and collected items on so they hang down from it. You can also use twigs the same way you would use craft sticks to make a small picture frame. Make a rectangular shape with the twigs, and secure the corners by wrapping twine around them.
Pressed flowers make for a project that can be used to create other crafts. Pick whole flowers or, better yet, give new life to some fallen petals to press and dry. Lay the flowers between two clean sheets of paper, and then slip that between the pages of a book. Stack another book or something heavy on top, and let it sit for at least two weeks. Once you have your flowers or petals dried, you can use them to make collages and decorate cards, or you can even grab some mod podge to decorate a vase or mug.
Fallen leaves offer a variety of shapes, colors, and textures to work with. You can use leaves to make collages and learn about patterns and variations in the process. Leaf rubbings are another project that teach kids about the different types of leaves in your neighborhood. Make rubbings using tracing paper and crayons. Place the leaf under the paper, and gently rub the crayon on top to create a print. As an extra touch, identify the different leaves as you work.
There are so many ways you can create art from nature and help kids learn about sustainability, while using the resources around them at the same time. Let your kids get creative and come up with art projects of their own using what you’ve found.
We want to hear about the artwork you have created with your kids! Share your own ideas for nature crafts with us on Twitter.
Image sources: Sher Warkentin | Flickr
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.