Nature Based Art Activities
I’m thrilled to have this post written by guest blogger Leah Mebane. Leah and her family are the creators of a natural paint company called Earth Paint.
There are many ways to bring nature into your child’s life by making natural crafts with elements found on a walk through the woods or in your own back yard. We’ve created a few nature inspired art projects using products from Earth Paints LLC, natural earth paints made from naturally colored clay.
paper, Earth Paint, leaves
- Go for a walk together and gather a variety of sturdy leaves.
- Lay out paper, hold the leaf still with one hand, and paint outwards from the center of the leaf with the other hand. Move the leaf to another part of the paper and repeat, or try a different leaf. For younger children you could help them hold the leaf on the paper as they paint.
Native American Paint Brushes
Soft plant stalk (mullein, yucca, iris, cattail stem, etc.)
Knife or rock
- Carefully plan this nature walk to include areas with access to interesting potential paintbrush material. As you start your walk together, explain that pre-made paintbrushes have been around for a few hundred years, while our ancestors have been painting for over ten thousand years. See if children naturally gravitate to use the cattails, grasses, or mullein that they see.
- Help them break or cut plant stalks into pieces about 8” long.
- Try breaking up the fibers at one end of the stalk by mashing it with a rock or shredding it into narrow strips. Try to separate the fibers into a brush-like end.
Note: The Native Americans of the Southwest used to chew the ends of Yucca stalks to make brushes to paint pottery with.
- Wash and dry small, smooth stones.
- Paint designs and pictures on the stones with earth paints.
- Find a small log that is dry and free of dirt and insects.
- Paint sections of the log with earth paints.
- Use a different face or design in each section. Let dry.
- Carve log first, then paint it.
- Peel the log and rub with sandpaper, then paint it.
- Make a clay base for the pole so that it will stand up (press log into block of polymer clay; remove it and bake the clay at 200 degrees for 10 min.)
- Represent each member of your family in the faces.
Leaf & Garden Prints
- For fruit & veggies, cut in half (caution: adults help young children)
- Cut a design into fruit or veggie (carve away background so it sticks out or dig away with small spoon or screw driver) or just use the natural shape of the cut food.
- Brush earth paint onto the cut design.
- Press onto paper.
- Lift & repeat.
- For leaf prints, paint one side of fresh leaves with paint, arrange face down on paper.
- Place sheet of newspaper on top and rub with your hands.
- Lift up newspaper & leaves.
- Make wrapping paper, greeting cards, book covers, decorative shopping bags or a banner.
- Try using celery, nut shells, sliced mushrooms, rolling corn on cob, cabbage or eggplant to print patterns without carving.
Your kids will have fun painting, and you will feel good knowing you have used natural, non-toxic paints. Enjoy!
You can find Leah’s company, Earth Paint at: www.naturalearthpaint.com