Saturday, May 3, 2014

Crafty by Nature



 One of my favourite ways to craft is by using natural materials from the world around us. Every week my daughter and I head off to forest school and then have a wander through the forest afterwards, and invariably she will pick up some bits and bobs to take home and craft with!  


There are lots of gems to be found on the forest floor, from pine cones to twigs, leaves to moss. These can be used in so many ways - leaf printing, glitter pine cones in pots or to use on festive wreaths, nature cards and more! 

Our very own mbgphoto shares this tutorial on How to Make a Pine Cone Angel, which you can adapt to make into angels, fairies or elves with your little ones!

Another great source of natural craft materials is the beach. How many different ways can you get creative with a shell? Lots, I tell you! We've made sculptures and mini mermaids, painted pebble friends and treasure boxes, to name but a few things, out of the shells, pebbles, rocks and driftwood that we've encountered on our meanderings.  

Shells - image from JupiterImages Corporation
 Scarlettohairy shows us How to Paint Rocks in her craft guide, and for more beach-themed crafts, I put together a few ideas to get you started in my guide to Sea Crafts for Kids. You'll also find plenty of inspiration in Homemade Beach Craft Ideas by studentz, which includes lots of projects from basic to advanced, many of which can be adapted for children. Which reminds me, if you see a craft you like in a book or online, but it's for older kids or adults, don't write it off straight away - can you come up with a toddler or preschooler-friendly version of it?

Natural materials can be so much fun to craft with, and they can be excellent teachers, too! As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, during the Easter break we had a go at a willow weaving workshop at our local zoo, and came home with two lovely birds nests, which we've been using for all kinds of things. Needless to say, we learned a lot about how clever birds are at making their nests, and how they have to make them strong enough to hold the eggs and soft enough for the babies when they hatch! Greenspirit has a wonderful guide to making Bird Nests Crafts, which little ones would love to help with creating. 


Finally, even if you live in the middle of the city or miles from a beach or wood, you can still find nature's bounty on your doorstep! Find sticks and flowers in the garden, leaves from trees in the street or park... or combine nature and crafts by creating a mini indoor garden in a pot or barrel - perfect for small world play, nurturing green fingers and stimulating creativity! Think fairy garden, dinosaur terrain or even a Lego adventure park. There are lots of Miniature Fairy Garden Ideas to be had such as these by LoveEmbroidery.

Elsewhere in the world of nature, seedplanter shows us how to have Fun with Flowers, while vallain reviews these awesome Model Insect Kits, which once built would look great as part of a nature diorama for small world play. And I just love some of the ideas on lbrummer's Outdoor Crafts for Kids, especially the twig frame, garden markers made from sticks and the super cool grass house!

So, next time you are enjoying a walk out in the natural world, why not have a look around and see what treasures lie waiting to be found?

(c) All photos copyright of the author unless otherwise stated

5 comments:

  1. What great ideas for kids crafts you have found. The grandkids are always finding interesting tidbits and now I have some new ideas for craft projects to do with them.

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  2. Nature is so full of creative ideas. My partner and I collect natural materials to make sculptures for our art gallery. Great list of projects to inspire kids to explore nature!

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  3. You have certainly shown how Mother Earth, kids, and crafts go together perfectly!

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  4. Such a nice list of clever craft projects that are 'nature-related'. Wish I'd thought of doing some 'sea/beach-related' projects when I was a Cub Scout den mother trying to come up with craft projects. We lived on the central California coast at the time and just a trip down to the beach with the boys would have been a fun day, in addition to gathering materials to 'craft' with.

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  5. You always give and feature the coolest kids crafts! Each week I step away from your articles wishing my children were still young enough to really get into these crafts. I am saving up your ideas for my future grandchildren :) I especially love nature crafts. Thank you for all of the great suggestions!

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