During this extended quarantine, parents must get creative when it comes to entertaining and engaging children. School lessons occupy only a portion of the day, and with the warming weather and longer evenings, kids will relish spending the rest of their free time outdoors. Incorporate the following nature-based art projects into your child’s time outside to provide added direction, inspiration, and imagination.
Paint What You Hear
Depending on the art supplies you have on hand, this creative activity may be completed with pencils, charcoal, or even sidewalk chalk. Set a timer for one hour and encourage children to depict what sounds are taking place around them. Perhaps they hear other children whooshing past on bikes or a squirrel jumping from branch to branch. Instruct them to create a picture with each of the elements they are hearing, whether on a literal or abstract level.
To make the activity a bit more challenging for older children, ask that they close their eyes and listen for one minute to the world around them. Whatever sounds they heard within that minute, they should recreate on a sketch pad or paper. This activity works as both a practice in observation and memory.
Make Wall Art with Found Objects
On your next nature walk, ask that children look for their favorite stick to decorate back home. With these late spring storms, trees are shedding dead limbs so there’s plenty of extra wood to be had. Decorate the sticks with yarn, beads, googly eyes, paint, and any other craft supplies you have around the house.
If you really want to invest some time into this nature-based art project, tie multiple lengths of thick leather cord from the branch and allow children to make their own beaded strings. When finished, tie feathers from the base of each strand for a spectacular art piece that kids may hang in their bedrooms.
Compile Specimen in a Nature Notebook
Give children a composite notebook and graphite pencils (or create a nature journal from scratch using kraft paper, a three whole punch, and yarn/string) so they may collect and record plants, insects, and other natural elements they observe in the yard and beyond. Show them how to shade over leaves so that the paper will capture its texture and lines. For larger objects, have children tape one sample on each page and record when, where, and how they came to find the specimen. This “field notebook” can be added to each season so children can have a broadened understanding of our state’s diverse ecosystem.
Play Mother Nature Bingo
Set up a workstation in the front or backyard where kids can be on the lookout for items listed on their bingo cards. Make your own Bingo chart that includes Boulder’s beautiful tulips, its bashful deer, or even paragliders soaring over Wonderland Hill, depending on where you’re located. Get creative and include neighbors who are known to walk their dogs around dinner time and/or sounds and smells wafting through the spring air. Mother Nature Bingo encourages kids to be observant and aware of the world around them.
Motivate your children to embrace Boulder’s beautiful natural environment by introducing them to a variety of activities that combine creativity, imagination, and sunshine. As a bonus, you’ll have original artwork to commemorate this interesting chapter of life.