5 Outdoor Crafts for Kids
By Jackie Currie
Jun 5, 2013
The Hooligans and I start spending most of our daycare time outdoors once the warm weather arrives. The children are full of energy and they're happiest when they're playing and learning in the great wide-open.
Whether we're hiking the forest trails or simply playing in the backyard, there are countless opportunities to learn about the natural world around us and many of our activities at this time of year are inspired by materials gathered when we're out and about.
Playing with natural materials encourages creativity and imagination and helps to foster a child's appreciation for nature and a love for the great outdoors.
Today, I'm sharing five nature-based activities and crafts, hoping they inspire you to head outside with your children and enjoy the natural treasures that may be just beyond your back door.
Kids love a nature hunt! Head out to the garden with a basket or a bucket, and collect flower petals, leaves and grasses, then glue them to cardboard ovals to create neat nature faces.
Activity stones can provide hours of open-ended play opportunities for your children. Take a stroll along the beach or lake or in the park and collect smooth rocks. Back home, decorate them with acrylic paints to create dominoes, letter and number stones, X's and O's or story stones. For a bit of shine, polish with bees wax or add a coat of craft varnish.
This springtime activity is one of The Hooligans' favourites. I set up a "soup station" in the yard, which includes pots and bowls of water, ladles, tongs and scoops. The Hooligans each get a pair of safety scissors and they go from garden to garden snipping leaves and flowers to add to their soup pots. They spend hours scooping, pouring and mixing their concoctions. It's a wonderful way to enjoy some sensory play on a warm day.
Fill a plant pot with gardening soil, and encourage kids to add pebbles, moss, small figurines, twigs and greens from the garden to create a miniature "fairy garden." Succulent plants like hens and chicks and sedums work well, as they require very little maintenance, and will survive for quite some time in your small fairy garden.
To start, we squirted a few colours of paint onto a piece of white cardboard. We then placed the cardboard into a plastic bag and smooshed the paint to create a colourful "canvas." As the paint dried, The Hooligans collected plants, seed pods, leaves and flowers from around the yard and garden. They then glued their garden treasures onto the canvas to create a beautiful work of art.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to get outside and discover the joys of nature-play with your little ones. If you'd like more ideas for good, old-fashioned crafts and activities, pop over and visit us at Happy Hooligans!