Nature walks with Roo have been one of our favorite activities together. She calls it “esploring.” It’s amazing how a little exercise and fresh air lifts both of our moods. Granted I don’t get much of a workout at the pace she keeps, but the memories are so much more important! We discuss creation, the science behind the leaves turning, how animals and bugs use camouflage, what makes rain, and anything else she thinks of to ask. I encourage her to use all five senses (except maybe taste…yuck) to experience nature. She creates characters for us to be and stories for us to play out.
Most of all we collect treasures. I never leave a walk without at least one thing in my pocket! Acorns and flowers are a favorite of Roo’s, I like to grab pretty or interesting leaves and rocks, and pine cones are beginning fall. Here are 10 ideas for a nature craft to make with all those collected treasures.
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Nature Treasure Collage and Suncatcher
Collected Nature Treasures (flat and light weight items work best)
Cut two pieces of contact paper. Place one sticky side up on a flat surface. Allow child to arrange their nature treasures on the paper. Place the second piece sticky side down over the artwork. Hang your nature craft in a window or other sunny place!
This nature craft is so simple, glue eyes to the collected leaves and draw mouths and other facial features with the sharpie!
An oldie but a goodie nature craft. Place paper over the collected leaves and rub the crayon over. Encourage the child to keep the crayon flat on its side and not press too hard.
Paint Pad Paper or Canvas
Pour a small amount of paint into a paper plate or other container. Have the child dip the leaves into the paint and then press them onto the canvas. Encourage them to lift gently to reveal the leaf’s impression.
Tissue or White Paper Towel
Place flower on the tissue or paper towel and either fold the paper around it or place a second tissue over the flower. Place the flower sandwich in the middle of a heavy book. Depending on the thickness of the flower, you may need to stack more heavy books on top of the first book. Leave for 2-4 weeks. The pressed flowers can be placed in a scrapbook to start a nature craft collection, or used in your nature treasure collage craft above!
Collected Rocks (smooth and flat river rocks work best)
Acrylic Washable Paint and Paintbrushes
Clean your collected rocks and make sure they are completely dry before beginning. Allow your child to paint the rocks. Sprinkle on glitter if desired while the paint is still wet. Once the paint is dry, coat the rock in modge podge to avoid chipping and flaking. You can paint with them and create some Story Stones like we did!
Dipped Pine Cones
Collected Pine Cones
Pour paint into a small bowl. Have the child dip one side of the pine cone into the paint. Sprinkle on glitter while the paint is still wet. Allow to dry and use this nature craft to decorate your festive bowls!
Pine Cone Decorating
Collected Pine Cones
String, Ribbon, Yarn
Sequins and Glitter
This nature craft is suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. It is super easy and requires almost no help from the grownups except assembling the supplies and cleaning up afterwards. Just let them go to work on their creation!
This one is more suitable for older kids and adults too. Just take the sketchbook and pencils along on your hike. Have the kids scout out an interesting tree, flower, or a pretty landscape. Then spread out the picnic blanket and set to work recreating the scene.
Each of these nature crafts will provide beautiful memories of your hikes and nature walks together. My favorite is the Dipped Pine Cones, they look perfect in my Autumn bowl. I think Roo enjoyed the Leaf Faces the most, she created a whole pretend world for them once they were dry! I encourage you and your child, no matter what age, to bring home some treasures next time and try out some of these projects, and show me what you made.