Nature Based Art Projects for Toddlers
Guest Post By Leah Mebane of Earth Paints. Leah has created a few nature inspired art projects using Earth Paints. These are natural paints made from the earth in the same way that our ancestors have made paint for the past 100,000 years. The natural earth was collected from the ground, crushed, sifted and screened and made into high quality, eco-friendly, non toxic paints for children.
Exploring nature is one of the most joyful things to do with toddlers. Bring nature into your child’s life by making natural crafts using these simple ideas with natural items found on a walk through the woods or in your own back yard. You could start out by going on a nature scavenger hunt and then later use your treasures for art.
Materials: paper, Earth Paint, leaves, paint brush
- Go for a walk together and gather a variety of sturdy leaves.
- Lay out paper, hold the leaf still with one hand, and paint outwards from the center of the leaf with the other hand. Move the leaf to another part of the paper and repeat, or try a different leaf. For younger children you could help them hold the leaf on the paper as they paint.
Native American Paint Brushes
Materials: Soft plant stalk (mullein, yucca, iris, cattail stem, horse tail, etc.)
- Carefully plan this nature walk to include areas with access to interesting potential paint brush material. As you start your walk together, explain that pre-made paint brushes have been around for a few hundred years, while our ancestors have been painting for over ten thousand years.
- See if children naturally gravitate to use the cattails, grasses, or mullein that they see.
- Help them break or cut plant stalks into pieces about 8” long.
- Try breaking up the fibers at one end of the stalk by chewing on it, mashing it with a rock or shredding it into narrow strips. Try to separate the fibers into a brush-like end. Note: you can also scrape the green material off of the stalks
with your finger nail.
Note: The Native Americans of the Southwest chewed the ends of Yucca stalks to
make brushes to paint pottery with.
*Horse tail is a ready made paint brush, just pick and paint.
Materials: smooth stones, Earth Paint, paint brush
- Wash and dry small, smooth stones.
- Paint designs and pictures on the stones with earth paints.
Materials: small log, Earth Paints, paint brush
- Find a small log that is dry and free of dirt and insects.
- Paint sections of the log with earth paints.
- Use a different face or design in each section. Let dry.
Quick Alternative: Use a recycled paper towel tube instead of log (stick in a ball of
play dough as base)- Attach feathers and stones if desired
- Peel the log and rub with sandpaper, then paint it.
- Make a clay base for the pole so that it will stand up – with parents help (press
- log into block of polymer clay; remove it and bake the clay at 200 degrees for 10
- Represent each member of your family in the faces.
Materials: fruit, veggies or leaves; Earth Paint, paint brush and paper
- Cut in half (caution: adults help young children)
- Cut a design into fruit or veggie like a potato or apple (carve away background with a butter knife so it sticks out or dig away image with a spoon or screw driver).
OR just use the natural shape of the food (end of a celery stalk, nut shells, sliced mushrooms, rolling corn on cob, cabbage or eggplant cut in half).
- Brush earth paint onto the cut design or veggie
- Press onto paper
- Lift & repeat
Print with Leaves
- Paint one side of fresh leaves with paint, arrange face down on paper
- Place sheet of newspaper on top and rub with your hands
- Lift up newspaper & leaves
- Paint different colors on one leaf
- Make wrapping paper, greeting cards, book covers, decorative shopping bags or a banner
- Make finger print pictures
EARTH PAINT KITS are available at www.NaturalEarthPaint.com
Creative With Kids was compensated for this post and is grateful to work with a company like Earth Paints which shares the same values of connecting with kids creatively. Go take a look at her gorgeous natural paints.
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.