Outdoor Arts and Crafts Activities for Children and Adults

Outdoor Art and Craft Ideas for Kids and Adults

Art is all around us. It is a joy to find it in an unexpected place. It is an even greater joy to make it in an unexpected place.

Often people think they have to put away their art when the weather turns nicer. They leave their artistic friends inside as they go outside to play sports or go camping.

Instead of being stuck indoors, take your art outside. You can take almost any indoor art activity outside, of course. If you have a long extension cord, you can take your sewing machine outside and set it up on the porch or patio. But there are many different activities that are more portable, and some of them are even better outdoors than they are indoors.

Try these suggestions for wonderful art activities you can do outside by yourself, with your kids as a family activity, or with your friends.

The sidewalk or patio can be a wonderful reusable canvas for chalk art.
The sidewalk or patio can be a wonderful reusable canvas for chalk art. | Source

Messy Art

Although activities such as face painting, finger painting, and applying henna can be done indoors, since they tend to be pretty messy, they are great candidates for outdoor art activities.

Modeling with clay or play dough is also another activity that can be done indoors, but often works better outdoors since it keeps your house cleaner.

It is much easier to hose off the table and the kids before letting them come inside.

You can give kids a chance to make some graffiti by letting them some spray paint a big piece of wood. As you give them a sanctioned place to make their message, hopefully they will avoid the places they are not allowed to mark with graffiti.

I practice my photography skills by trying different backgrounds for my quilts.
I practice my photography skills by trying different backgrounds for my quilts. | Source

Photograph the great outdoors

My favorite outdoor art activity is photography. It is portable, and you can go anywhere to take photographs. Parks are a great place to go for nature shots, but you will find bits of nature everywhere. You can also like to wander around the city to see what treasures you can find there. You may meet an interesting photogenic person, or find a beautiful door frame. The combinations of textures, the beautiful stormy sky, and the cold straight lines of modern buildings all make good subjects.

You can even take the same subject, such as a tree or a skyline, and visit it for many days to see how it changes in different weather conditions. My sister and I took a photo of our skyline from the same bridge for many weeks, and it was amazing how different each shot looked.

You can also take your indoor art outdoors. I have been trying to find good backdrops to show off my quilts, and outdoor lighting works best for them. Sometimes I will take the quilt to a park to find a better setting than my backyard. The leaves at my neighbor's house were a different, more redder, color than mine, so I tried her yard for the backdrop of my pumpkins quilt.

Recreate a Landscape

Instead of painting or drawing a scene from a photograph or from memory, it is a fun to actually go to the scene and recreate it directly on the canvas or paper. You generally have to catch the scene pretty quickly before the lighting changes significantly.

Simply take your canvas, paints, and paint brushes, if you are painting, or your pencils, markers and paper to the scene. Be sure to consider your comfort as you are doing the work, so packing a seat cushion, chair or easel will be helpful. Bring along a picnic for when you are ready to take a break.

When you are at a beach, don't feel limited to making only sandcastles.  You can make almost anything in the sand.
When you are at a beach, don't feel limited to making only sandcastles. You can make almost anything in the sand. | Source

Sand Art

Sand art can be sandcastles, of course, but there are other sculptures you can make with sand.

Chalk Art

Chalk art is fun and portable for all ages. It will keep the kids busy while you talk to the adults at a picnic or family reunion. You can also join your kids and draw something on a sidewalk or patio for a group activity.

Rubbing sand or salt with colored chalk can make beautiful colors to put into a sand jar, or, like the monks who make beautiful mandalas, can be carefully poured onto a sidewalk or patio to make beautiful intricate designs.

If you draw games, like hopscotch, or draw a labyrinth, you can even play with it after you are done drawing.

This is a chair my sister-in-law made with found materials.
This is a chair my sister-in-law made with found materials. | Source

Found Art

Nature provides a great variety of material you can use to make your art.

  • Pick up some acorns and glue them to a background.
  • Make wreaths, arbors and other decorative and useful items from vines.
  • Drill some holes in some buckeyes and make a necklace.
  • Take some leaves and use them to make some art. You can trace them for their shapes or make a collage.
  • Smash some berries and use the color to dye some fabric or as a paint.
  • Spray some pine cones with spray glitter and make Christmas ornaments.

Building a snowman, snow fort, or anything else out of snow is a fun outdoor art activity.
Building a snowman, snow fort, or anything else out of snow is a fun outdoor art activity. | Source

Sculpture

Sculpture can be made of many different things. Whether you build a sandcastle or a snowman, you are making art outdoors. Remember that you are not limited to making only a snowman in the winter. You could make a family of snowmen or an army of them. You can make a snow fort or other sculpture out of the snow as well.

You can make a scarecrow to protect your garden or simply provide a decorative and whimsical touch to your garden.

Try out your creativity making a sculpture out of found material. What a great way to recycle things that may have otherwise wound up in the trash, while you provide a conversation piece for your backyard. Mix and match a variety of material to create a unique piece that shows your style and taste. Broken things, like dishes, appliances, and furniture, can be repurposed into beautiful or interesting works of art.

This is a mural my brother painted on his shed. There is a pond in front of it.
This is a mural my brother painted on his shed. There is a pond in front of it. | Source

Mural

If you have a big wall on your garage or shed, and your community does not have restrictions against it, you may consider painting a mural on the wall.

If you don't have a wall of your own, you may be able to find one in your neighborhood and make it a community project to paint the mural. Many inner cities have been beautified with murals. It adds a sense of pride and brings beauty into the neighborhoods.

My brother build a pond and made a water garden in front of his mural.
My brother build a pond and made a water garden in front of his mural. | Source

Plant Art

Just having a garden is beautiful on its own, and the way you landscape it is an art form in itself.

There are several other different artistic things you can do with plants. You could grow some tall grass or corn, and mow a path through it to make a maze. It can be as elaborate as you like, depending on the amount of space. Build a tower, so you can watch people as they find their way through the maze. This could even be a money making venture for you!

You could take one of your plants and make a bonsai with it. Or how about making topiaries, or sculptures, made out of plants? Build supports with metal or wood, and let the plant grow around it. Our local topiary garden has recreated an entire painting, making it a three dimensional experience, using plants and a pond.

How about digging a pond and making a beautiful water garden?

This dedicated group is building a labyrinth on the school grounds.
This dedicated group is building a labyrinth on the school grounds. | Source

Building Materials

If you are up to it, you can make outdoor art on a more permanent and lasting scale. Build a patio, gazebo, or labyrinth to create a beautiful and functional place to enjoy your outdoor time for years to come. You can do this at your own house, of course, but you can also do it as a community project.

Our local school had a group of volunteers who built a labyrinth on the school grounds. The teachers have planned several activities to do pertaining to the labyrinth. It is a beautiful and restful place to meditate and walk throughout the year.

Fun Outdoor Art Activities for Kids and Adults

Children and adults alike will enjoy bringing out their inner artist with these art activities.

There is something about being out in nature and getting a chance to play with things without the pressure of making something "artistic." People may say they are not creative and do not consider themselves to be artists, but they are very capable of dabbling and playing with these activities. They will have fun, and will have something physical to remind them of their talent.

Even if it washes or melts away in a few minutes or days, the memory will remain.

© 2012 Shasta Matova

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Comments: "Outdoor Arts and Crafts" 27 comments

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Dreamjar for your visit, comment and vote. Art activities are a great way to teach kids and adults about a large variety of topics, and being able to make art outdoors is so much more fun as well.


Dreamjar profile image

Dreamjar 4 years ago from Florida

I home school and am always looking for outdoor activities. I usually think of things like hiking, swimming, and other similar activities but bringing art class out doors is a great idea thanks.

Voted up, useful, and interesting


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Ruchira, outdoor art activities are wonderful for children, but they are great for adults as well.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Memories...such fond memories.

I remember drawing with chalk on my side walks as a kid and playing hop scotch.

Your brother is a great artist...the paintings are wonderful.

Voted up as a useful hub, Shasta!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks alocsin, RTalloni and KatSanger for your comments and additional ideas. Recreating a landscape using materials from nature, making easels from found materials and using markers to draw on glass, all sound like wonderful additional outdoor activities for the the artists in all of us.


KatSanger profile image

KatSanger 4 years ago from Texas

One awesome thing to do is use glass markers - you can find them almost anywhere, and they are lots of fun to use on any glass surface, plus then you can just use a hose to wash them off windows.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

What a great overview of outdoor art. Your talented brother clearly enjoys his work and your sister-in-law's bench is delightful. This caught my eye because I'm on the lookout for just the right materials/twigs to make a couple of natural easels.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

What wonderful suggestions. I'd like to add for your recreating a landscape, to try to do the landscape in miniature using the materials at hand: i.e. ground or sand to make mountains, twigs to make trees, crushed leaves to make forest litter. Voting this Up and Useful.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you randomcreative, as you know, there is no end to the variety of art that can be created outdoors.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you Dianna, using natural materials helps inspire creativity, as well as help save money. It is a win-win situation!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks GTF, messy art is a lot of fun. There is a lot more freedom in it when you don't have to be as careful!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you jennzie, I will let my brother know you liked his mural. I hope you get a chance to participate in some great outdoor art activities soon.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you MK, we have always been an artistic family, and truthfully, I didn't think I would find a lot of ideas (or photos), but they kept coming and coming.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you Happyboomernurse. My brother is quite the artist - I will have to give him your compliments. It is always a joy to look for the mural as we to go his house! The labyrinth was my sister's project, but my entire family wound up helping, as well as people from the school, of course.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you vocalcoach for all your shares and votes. You are incredible! I really enjoyed digging through all my photographs to see what kind of outdoor art we had produced, and it turned out to be quite a lot. I had to stop looking because I had more than I could use on this article. There is just so much art you can do indoors and out.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you jainismus for your insight, I think children are born artists. Adults who can retain that freedom and lack of inhibition to create art can also be called artists.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I love the mix of activities here! Nicely done.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I am fascinated by your creative works here, Shasta. Your use of natural materials is wonderful to see as the final products reflect recycling and beauty. Voted up and across (not funny).


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Great hub! I think most things are more fun outside, especially messy art! That is my daughter's favorite kind of art!


jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

These are great outdoor activity ideas. The mural that your brother made is very beautiful. Voted up!


MKayo profile image

MKayo 4 years ago from Texas

Well done, MT - I have only thought of doing one thing outside with art and that is pleinair painting. You have broadened my horizon on this subject. Thanks for all the great ideas. Voted up and interesting. M


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Thanks for sharing these outdoor art activities.

I particularly loved the mural and pond, and also your quilt.

I'm also a fan of labyrinths and liked the fact that the one in the photo was being built on school grounds.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Absolutely brilliant ideas for outdoor art! I enjoyed this so much and I'm filled with ideas now. And this suggestion touched me so - " You can even take the same subject, such as a tree or a skyline, and take it many days to see how it changes in different weather conditions."

I voted up and across and shared on Pinterest. Twitter, FB and with followers.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Great Hub.

Are children better artists? I think so.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA Author

Thank you Kathy and NMLady. I am glad you enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy going out and enjoying creating some art in the fresh air soon!


NMLady profile image

NMLady 4 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

nice ideas. very well done! thanks!


savingkathy profile image

savingkathy 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I enjoyed reading about all of the great ideas for outdoor art in this hub. Well done :)

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