By Bryony Sumner
We love getting out and about in nature with our 2 boys. Earlier this year we wrote about our favourite nature play ideas and we were so inspired by all the lovely comments from like-minded outdoor lovers that we wanted to share some more of our outdoor play ideas.
I’ve always been a craft lover – but the idea of buying materials to create artwork with the kids that then just gets thrown away doesn’t feel great to me – especially when a lot of art and craft kits are made from plastics and non-sustainable materials. Not to mention the packaging! Another issue we face is storage – as we live in a bus it’s great to be able to find pastimes and craft where we don’t need to have things on hand. This is where most of these nature craft ideas came from – as well as some traditional past times that I remember doing with my mum and dad.
So without any further ado, here goes for our 10 Nature Craft Ideas:
Forget standard paintbrushes, Mother Nature has provided some amazing materials to create a masterpiece. We love going on a bushwalk to find interesting looking leaves, feathers, flowers, sticks and twigs which we collect and bring home. Then we lay out some large sheets of paper and some paint and attach our different items to clothes pegs to make them easier to hold and hey presto – instant and interesting paint brushes! It’s so much fun to see the different shapes and patterns made by each new ‘brush’ and leads to a lot of creativity and discussions. We saved the paper and used it as gift wrap at the next party we went to.
You can also collect larger bits of wood and rocks and try stamping as well as painting.
Pine cone creatures
I love finding pine cones – it’s so much fun running around in a pine tree forest just looking for them and it’s fabulous the different creatures that you can make with them using other things you find like nuts, seeds for the face and sticks for the legs.
This is a new hobby of ours and we’ve even got a brand new section on our website dedicated to it. We love painting the rocks and then leaving them for others to find. There are even lots of Facebook groups out there of fellow rock painting hobbyists.
I remember this one from my childhood – it’s really easy to do and again half the fun is in finding the lovely flowers to use first!
Grab lots of interesting textured leaves, and even sticks and other foliage, and lay under thin paper before using crayons on top to reveal the beautiful patterns coming through.
Have you ever found a leaf that looked exactly like a dinosaur tail or a flower like a frilled-neck lizard? We often have and it inspired us to collect them, draw the outline of the creature and stick them on. This also works when you find feathers, you can make a whole bird. We’ve also used sand at the beach or park to draw the outline on then fill in with items we’ve found.
We’ve done this at the park on the ground and at home on paper. Find a load of sticks and make a tree shape on the ground or your paper, then you either choose things to represent each family member on the tree or you can draw a picture or use a photo if you’re doing it at home. It’s a lovely representation of how we’re connected to each other and to Mother Nature.
Magic potions and perfumes
Another one that I loved doing as a child, fill an old jar or beach bucket with water and have fun creating magic potions with flowers, dirt, leaves and a big stick to stir it all together. We used to make my mum ‘beautiful’ perfumes that we always made her put on!
Driftwood from the beach, some fishing wire and lots of beautiful shells makes a great homemade decoration for the home that the kids can help to make.
Just like the magic potions – grab a bucket, some soil, water and get creating. Nature’s very own playdough!
We hope these 10 Nature Craft Ideas have given you some inspiration to get out and get crafty with nature – we’d love to hear of any ideas that you have too!