Painting With Nature
We have talked a lot about engaging children in nature-based art. It is a fun and easy way to get outside, have fun and expose your child to the process of art. We love taking the children out and collecting bits and pieces that can be used in the process. Spring is a great time for it. But, lately in the Valley and Hilltowns the weather has been unpredictable- making it tough to plan a full day outside. It has been cold and windy in the morning and warm and sunny in the afternoon. For toddlers, it can be tough to spend a long time outdoors, so we have found that we can break projects up into two parts: Collecting and then Doing, to make it more toddler friendly.
Last week we experimented with making our own paintbrushes out of found materials.
We collected a basket full of goodies for this project:
- Pine needles
- Mint tops
- Dried daffodils
- Yew Branches
- Fresh flowers
Let your child choose their brush size, shape and texture. We used rubber bands to bunch our brushes together. They will need help tying it, but over all this is a child directed activity.
The doing is the fun part. You can paint inside or outside. You can paint rocks, sticks, or just paper. The fun part is in the amazing textures and designs that come from the homemade brushes. Talk to your child about the stiff texture of pine needles opposed to the crumbly feeling of the dried flowers. Help your child decipher between hard and soft, living and non-living, dried and fresh.
The art in nature should never be underestimated. A child sees this world so much more clearly then we do. They can see art in anything if you afford them the opportunity to do so.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programming for children. She revels in hand-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a day care in Northampton, MA.