The Family Home Blog

Ways to Let Nature Inspire Your Artwork!

Sep 02, 2016
Diane Hoffmaster

A nature walk with children is a great way to get exercise and teach them to appreciate the natural world. It also provides an opportunity for them to learn the importance of respecting the environment. Kids always love taking home little souvenirs from their walk, and it’s important to understand what is and is not appropriate to take with them. Kids should try not to pick things that are growing out of the ground or break any living branches. However, leaves, acorns or pinecones that have already fallen to the ground can be taken in moderate amounts. Additionally, it is important not to venture off marked pathways — so only grab that perfect pinecone if you can do so while standing on the trail! So what do you do with all of these treasures that your child found while respecting nature? How about letting nature inspire their next art project!  There are many ways to use nature in your child's arts and crafts time. Here are a few ways to bring the great outdoors into your art!

pince cone and painted rocks

Pet Rocks: Rocks of all shapes and sizes are popular finds on nature walks. Consider letting your child paint them to create their own “pet rocks.” Make sure to wash and dry the rocks before painting or the dirt will mix with the paint for a not-quite-so-nice look to the finished product.

Pine Cone Projects: There are many ways to use pine cones in your child's arts and crafts session. Paint pine cones and sprinkle with glitter. Let them dry, then glue a few gems on them.  Hang them by a string on door handles or by a piece of tape on the wall. If you need more pinecone craft ideas, consider making a pine cone bird feeder for your outdoor birds.  

Reverse Leaf Painting: Here’s a really fun way to use leaves in your child's art. Place a leaf on blank paper, then paint only the edges of the leaf where it meets the paper. When you remove the leaf from the paper, you will see the painted outline of the leaf with a white interior. Cut around the painted leaf and have your child write a message to someone in the center.  This makes a cute teacher gift or holiday message for family and friends.

Use Mud as Paint: Certain areas of the country have dirt that is particularly rich in pigments.  Red clay and rich, black soil can be fun to use as paint. Just add a small amount of soil and a little bit of water to a bowl. Then, use a paint brush to brush the soil paint onto white paper.

Leaf Pounding: Leaves are loaded with pigments. When you place a fresh, green leaf on a piece of white paper and strike it with a hard surface, those pigments get transferred to the paper. Make sure you supervise your child so they don't hit their fingers instead of the leaves. You can use a hammer, flat rock or even a metal spoon to strike the leaf.

As you can see, there are many creative ways to incorporate nature into arts and crafts time!

Do you have any other creative nature painting projects?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

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