If your family is anything like ours, two things we love are crafts and getting outdoors! And lately, we’ve been busy combining both activities. There are so many craft projects you can do with nature, so grab your reusable bag and let’s go on a nature walk!
First thing you need to do is lather on that sunscreen, grab a hat, and get outside. Occasionally, we make a scavenger hunt list with items to collect but most of the time we just pick up items along the way. If a list is your thing I suggest making a list with fun descriptive words like pointy, rough, smooth, and tickly. This will get your kids interacting more with the environment around them, touching and exploring instead of just grabbing anything they see. My boys love to find interesting leaves, silly shaped sticks, colorful flowers, and even the occasional cracked bird egg. We walk around the neighborhood or go to local trail to fill our bag up to the brim. It is so fun to watch them run around searching for items and imagining what they can do with them.
Once we get home we empty our bags onto the dining room table to see all of the treasures. Next comes the hard part, deciding what particular craft to do. We usually have enough leaves and pebbles to keep us busy for awhile! Below is a list of fun things to do with your treasures.
1. Draw a picture of yourself and use the leaves, sticks, and flowers as hair. This is especially fun when your person looks extra silly!
2. Paint your leaves and use them as stamps, making a colorful stamped piece of art. We like to do this using cardstock paper so we can save and use these pieces of art for birthday and thank-you cards.
3. Using all of your items spell your name and initials, or maybe even a “welcome” sign for the front door.
4. Draw an outdoor scene and use your items for the grass, trees, etc; See how creative you can get with using as many of the items you found.
5. Grab some googly eyes and sharpie to make an army of leaf “people” or flower “fairies.” My oldest loves to glue his leaves on paper, draw arm and legs, and then add the googly eyes to make one-eyed or 5 eyed leaf monsters.
6. Glue your items onto cardstock or a small canvas and then paint over it. Adding some bright colors and even gluing small pieces of string or tissue paper will give it a lot of dimension and texture making a one of a kind piece of art! Perfect for grandparent gifts.
I hope this list give you a couple more reasons to get outside and enjoy nature. So pack up your water bottles and hit the trails, or just take a stroll around your block. Not only is nature beautiful but you can make quite a few beautiful things yourself with what nature provides.
By Melissa Schlemmer
Melissa is a mom of three boys who resides in Minnesota. She travels to NAPA LA for Intensive therapy for her son Christopher and is always looking for ways to incorporate the entire family into everyday activities that promote speech, occupational therapy, and physical activity.