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Art Ideas for Preschoolers: Nature Art

Updated on October 19, 2014
Remember to take pictures for your child's photo album or scrapbook!
Remember to take pictures for your child's photo album or scrapbook! | Source

Looking for something fun to do with your preschooler? Inspire creativity, teach your child about the glorious beauty within the world around him / her by getting into your local woods, and have fun releasing your inner child by creating Nature Art with your child. This fun activity will not only help your child release their creative energy but will allow you to create a memory that will last a lifetime (or until the paper turns into ash).

If you don't live close enough to a State Park, you can take you child in the backyard, to a local beach, or anywhere that he / she can find items that would be fun to paint with on the paper. Our family has sometimes donned gloves and used beach cleanup items such as plastic cups, rubber bands, magazine pages, toys, and fishing line to create our masterpieces. As long as you have fun (while being safe as well), you can find items for this project anywhere.

With just a few supplies and some creativity, your preschooler can create a work of art.
With just a few supplies and some creativity, your preschooler can create a work of art. | Source

Step One: Gather Required Non-Nature Materials

  • Paint
  • Paint brush (optional)
  • Giant white art paper
  • Cup of water
  • OPTIONAL: Mod Podge or Acryllic Paint (for adhering large objects to paper)

Nature walking at your local State Park or hiking area is a great opportunity to get items for your nature art. As seen here, your child will feel they have so much to find...they may want to take it all home!
Nature walking at your local State Park or hiking area is a great opportunity to get items for your nature art. As seen here, your child will feel they have so much to find...they may want to take it all home! | Source
Your backyard can be an option if you don't have the time or ability to get to a local State Park or hiking area for a nature walk.
Your backyard can be an option if you don't have the time or ability to get to a local State Park or hiking area for a nature walk. | Source

Step Two: Take a Hike (or a Walk)

After you have assembled the required home materials, it is time to go have some fun. Take your child to a local State Park or hiking area and enjoy a half hour or hour searching for fun items that your child can use to paint or can glue to his / her paper. Let your child lead the walk. Have her walk a few steps ahead of you, showing you where all the great items are. A few guidelines we keep in our family:

  • Do not disturb nature. No picking leaves off trees, killing small insects, removing flowers from stems, etc. Only remove items that are already fallen, dead, or on the path.
  • Bring a plastic bag and collect trash with gloved hands while your child finds her / his items. Your family will cover two tasks: having fun and helping the environment.
  • Only pick five of the same item so you have diversity in your paining. Unless your child can state why he / she needs more for his / her nature art, there is no reason to remove more from its current home. I stress that someone else may want to use those for art.
  • Have fun. Be creative. Nothing is unacceptable except living things.

Leaves, rubber bands, a lip-shaped kazoo, rocks, dead grass, flowers someone left behind, weeds, and toilet paper wrappers were the great treasures found along the local Bluff this happy Saturday morning.
Leaves, rubber bands, a lip-shaped kazoo, rocks, dead grass, flowers someone left behind, weeds, and toilet paper wrappers were the great treasures found along the local Bluff this happy Saturday morning. | Source

Step Three: Review Your Child's Treasures

Let your child dump his / her treasures on the table. What did she pick up? What did he find beautiful or think would be fun to use as a paintbrush? Have fun going through the items and talking about why each item is "cool" or "fun" for this project. Remember to congratulate your child on his / her creativity or practicality in choosing items.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Paint the item.Press it down on the paper.It will leave a great imprint on the paper.Or use the item as a paint brush.Or dip it directly in the paint.Continue to use these options with each item until your child has filled up the paper or says his / her work is complete.Let your child have fun - don't interrupt his / her creativity.
Paint the item.
Paint the item. | Source
Press it down on the paper.
Press it down on the paper. | Source
It will leave a great imprint on the paper.
It will leave a great imprint on the paper.
Or use the item as a paint brush.
Or use the item as a paint brush. | Source
Or dip it directly in the paint.
Or dip it directly in the paint. | Source
Continue to use these options with each item until your child has filled up the paper or says his / her work is complete.
Continue to use these options with each item until your child has filled up the paper or says his / her work is complete. | Source
Let your child have fun - don't interrupt his / her creativity.
Let your child have fun - don't interrupt his / her creativity. | Source

Step Four: Get to Painting

This is the second best part of the activity. Now that you have walked and seen the beauty in nature, you have a chance to show your child how she / he can create art as well. Break open the paint and tell your child to go at it. Here are some suggestions for your child to try:

  • Use the rocks as paintbrushes by dipping them in the paint and smearing it on the paper - or glue them to page with some Mod Podge or acrylic paint.
  • Cover a leaf in paint and then turn it around and press it down on the paper.
  • Place a think layer of Mod Podge along the bottom of the paper, lay grass or sand down, pour paint over it or use paint brush to flick paint on it to create an abstract look.
  • Dip the end of toilet paper roll in paint and press down on paper.
  • Paint with a blade of grass, a leaf, or a flower.
  • Layer various objects and then cover them in paint to create a 3-D effect.

Step Five: Admire Your Child's Work

At the end of the project, you will have a beautiful piece of art to hang up on your child's bedroom wall.
At the end of the project, you will have a beautiful piece of art to hang up on your child's bedroom wall. | Source

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    • EyesStraightAhead profile imageAUTHOR

      Shell Vera 

      5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Beautiful sentiments! I am a nature lover and this comes naturally to me. However, I have spoken with people who haven't stopped to play with dirt since they outgrew childhood. I think this brings us back to those days of freedom and wonder. Back to the days when we would explore our land and enjoy it! Thank you for reading, Sally's Trove!

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 

      5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Reading your hub brought back lovely memories of enjoying nature with my daughter when she was a little girl. We'd walk in the woods or visit an arboretum or spend hours in our backyard garden looking at the most amazing things...things that a child sees with fresh eyes, eyes that haven't been dimmed by the responsibilities of adulthood. I may have seen a patch of moss as a pretty layer on a forest floor, but my daughter showed it to me as a magical world of miniature valleys and hills. This art idea you describe is not only a creative outlet for a child but an eye-opener for the grownup. Children have so much to teach us, and what a great way for us to learn. :)

    • EyesStraightAhead profile imageAUTHOR

      Shell Vera 

      5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      My pleasure! I am happy you enjoyed them.

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 

      5 years ago from Minnesota

      So cute! I love these ideas. Thank you for sharing :)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Brilliant ideas for preschoolers, so creative and these ideas should go on for many years.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile imageAUTHOR

      Shell Vera 

      5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Hiking is good too!

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      I am always looking for creative projects to do with the kids. About a month ago we went hiking with the intention of doing some art projects for nature. But we enjoyed the hiking so much we didn't actually collect anything! :)

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      Oh, I love craft and family activities which are family memories. I really think it is important to pass down legacies of love, family memories and praise to our kids. My husband and I took a vacation in along the N. Cal coast last summer to create some memories like that for our kids.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile imageAUTHOR

      Shell Vera 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I will hop on over and check out your hubs to see what crafts my little one and I can do this weekend! Let me know how your kids enjoy this one. My daughter and I always have a blast. I used to do this with my mom when I was younger and enjoy passing the memories forward. I get a bit nostalgic when I am doing this activity with my daughter because I remember being the one enjoy the praise from my mother.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      Great Hub! You've taken some ideas I've done before and given it a new twist by combining it with a nature walk. I'll do this with my kids! I'm sharing!

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