Mum’s all over the world are in a jam! With a virus that doesn’t respect boarders you might now be restricted to your own. Although this might seem like a never-ending school holiday, it could also be a prime time opportunity to have some fun and get creative along side your kids. Luckily for us, our gardens are not off limits during lock down, and are the perfect place to bring some calm and serenity back into the daily routine.
Children already have a love affair with nature. Sticks and stone are irresistible! Digging in dirt, jumping in leaves and collecting pockets full of flowers can fill your afternoon. When you match this afternoon of outdoor exploring with a creative activity, now you have Nature Art.
Nature art for kids is anything that combines physical movement, being outside and a creative activity. As an art educator, owner of Mini Monet Art School and Mum I love to find creative experiences that are playful and purposeful.
Here are seven kids garden art activities to do with your kids using materials found in your garden.
7 Kids garden art ideas that cost you nothing
Flower Sun Catchers
These little artworks will remind you of stained-glass windows. All you need is a paper plate, clear contact, scissors and something fun from the garden. After collecting a bundle of leaves and flowers from outside cut a large circle from your paper plate. While the kids are pulling petals off their flower finds and arranging a design place one piece of contact over the paper plate sticky side up. You now have a sticky-canvas to place each leaf and petal. Our favourite designs include mandalas and funny faces. Each sun catcher is complete by peeling a final layer of contact and placing over the top. Let the kids hold their artwork up to the sky and see the gorgeous colours as they ‘catch the sun’.
Nature Colour wheel
Until you go looking you might not notice just how many shades of green your garden holds. Fossicking of each hue of the colour wheel provides your kids some direction and will have them on an extended for that one beautiful red leaf. Stopping to appreciate the full spectrum of wonderful colour is encouraged here, can you believe every colour of paint originates from nature?! Once you have a collection of leaves and flowers arrange them in a typical colour wheel. To extend the activity rearrange to create a rainbow, colourful stripes or butterfly wings.
Garden Paint Brushes
Don’t have a set of paint brushes for your kids garden art? No worries! These DIY paint brushes are perfect for experimenting with patterns and colourful strokes. The process is our main focus and the zero cost art supply you have right outside your back door. Collecting the nature in this activity is half the fun, find some sticks and a variety of leaves. Talk about the size, shape and texture of leaves and what type of prints they might make. You can attach each bundle of nature to your stick using tape or rubber bands. Then you are ready to create some colourful strokes using paint. Try dabbing, short strokes and big sweeping strokes across a large piece of paper or canvas. Come back tomorrow to create layer two of textures!
This is an easy project that brings nature and traditional art making together in a beautiful way. Leaf printing requires a lot of critical thinking – not all leaves create successful prints. A series of trial and error, the right application of painting and the perfect pressure are all steps that are building valuable skills. Paper scrapes, a glue stick, some black paint and garden leaves will have you set up ready to create a series of arty leaf prints. Create contrast by gluing torn pieces of coloured paper to a white background. Paint your leaf black, place it carefully onto of your paper – watch those black finger tips! You can use newspaper to place on your leaf before pressing down gently. Take a peek to see that your leaf has left a clear mark before peeling it back. Watch for the big smile that comes when they reveal their one of a kind leafy print!
Playing with suspended flowers in ice is incredibly captivating. Letting each ice block melt to reveal your petal treasure or speeding up the process with a tub of warm water and salt will be an afternoon of fun for any pre-schooler. Using large ice trays to freeze petals works well. Have your kids inspect that they are complete frozen and pop them out on a waterproof matt or in a tub. Each collection of frozen petals becomes a kaleidoscope of glistening colours. Kids can go “digging” for frozen treasures by adding salt to each ice cube and a paintbrush to “excavate”. Babies and toddlers will be happy to just grab, lick and play with the melting cubes as is.
Kids garden art ideas that cost you nothing (cont.)
Leaves resemble the body of fish perfectly. But you can extend this activity by creating any animal you like. Going on a hunt for slender, fish looking leaves is a great opportunity to talk about the variety of shapes and sizes you might find. “Oooo this round leaf could be a puffa fish!” Using paint, colour your leaves and leave them to dry. Add a little white so the colour remains opaque. Next step is decorating your leaf with a sharpie by adding fishy stripes, scales and eye and mouth.
A pocket full of garden treasures is you need to make this mobile. A collection of bark, twigs, gum nuts, pine cones can be easily painted for a pop of colour and hung on the wall for days to come. Painting each piece is half the fun, you can do this with a painting brush, or even dip your gumnuts into a small pot of paint. Once your nature bits are tones of pink, blue or green wrap wool around each piece with a knot to secure it tight. Thread the remaining wool through a hole in a paper towel roll (or use a stick!) and tape it in place. Extra wool can be used to hang your mobile. Now all you need to do is find the perfect spot for display inside
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