Do you have kids you have to drag back inside the house for meals because they love the outdoors so much? If you want to do crafts with your kids, but you’re having trouble thinking of ideas that involve the great outdoors, try these simple crafts:
Build Fairy Houses
Is it a perfect autumn day? Take your kids for a hike and search for fairies (or gnomes, or elves—whichever mythical creature you fancy best). Ask your kids to build fairy houses out of all natural building materials. Use twigs, sheathes of bark, pine cones, and stones to craft miniature houses. Furnish them with toadstools, berries, seedpods, and whatever else you can find. Make up stories about what these miniature creatures do and how they will feel when they discover the homes you’ve built.
Press Relics of Nature
Go on a walk, but bring along a bag to collect items that can be pressed and used to create stationary and bookmarks. Look for wildflowers, ferns, decorative grasses, and leaves. When you get home, place the items you collected in between pieces of wax paper and then press them inside heavy books (dictionaries and encyclopedias work well) for two weeks. When they’ve dried properly, laminate them into bookmarks or affix them to writing paper.
Build a Cairn
You don’t have to wield a pick and hammer to be a stone sculptress. Take your kids to rocky area and challenge them to build a decorative cairn by stacking rocks upon one another. Ask them to create sculptures that look like animals, household items, or people, or just plain see who can build the highest cairn.
If your children like to play pranks, they’ll love this twist on May Day baskets. Have your children twist construction paper into funnels and secure the funnel in a cornucopia shape with tape or glue. Now set out for another nature hike, filling the funnels with natural treasures of wildflowers, grasses, ferns, pinecones, and branches of berries. Let your kids leave their bounty on a neighbor’s front door with a friendly note and run away, offering a gift of nature’s finest for their friends to find when they answer the door.
Nature Super Power Corsages
While outside with your children, ask them what natural elements they would want to have as super powers (fire, wind, water, lava, etc.) Bring along ponytail holders (or elastic bands) and have each child collect items that are symbolic of their nature super powers. Bring along ribbons and yarn to tie the items into bundles. Use the ponytail holders to gather together the nature items and attach them to their hair or wrists. Ask them to come up with names for their super power character and then get them to pose in super power stances on tree stumps or rocks.
By combining nature and art, you’ll teach your children to see beauty in nature while enhancing their creative tendencies. Your children will cherish the memories of these artistic activities with you, and who knows? They may even repeat them with their children someday.
Erinn Stam is the Managing Editor for a nursing careers website. She attends Wake Technical Community College and is learning about nursing schools in DE. She lives in Durham, NC with her lovely 4-year-old daughter and exuberant husband.