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