#48 Natural Art

Suitable for:0 to 5

Explore and examine, forage and find fantastic treasures! You can use your imagination to create whatever you fancy… Scary mud monsters, twig towers or decorations for your garden or home.

Your child’s imagination and creativity will flourish through opportunities to engage with natural materials, inspiring a connection to nature and an appreciation of the environment around them, these activities will be memories for the future. Remember making mud pies when you were little?

Engaging in creative, open-ended activities encourages creative thinking without fear of mistakes, and materials such as mud, finger paints etc. will enable such experiences. Whilst there are ideas here for activities they should all be approached in a way which allows the child to develop their own ideas, use their imagination and resourcefulness and develop each activity in their own way – so many monsters and mud pies to be discovered! Let their imaginations run wild.

How to do it

Take a bag and off you go. Collect anything laying on the ground (but remember not to pick anything that is growing apart from dandelions, buttercups and daisies). Let your child smell and feel their collections. Talk about the colours and shapes. Encourage them to lay out their collection on the ground in whatever way they want to do it.

This adventure is part of the Sheffield 50 Things to Do Before You're Five . Head over to their website to tick-off 50 fantastic things for you and your child to experience together. 

#50ThingsSheffield #homeadventures

Leaves, grasses, acorns, pinecones, conkers, twigs, small stones or pieces of slate… Each activity will need some natural materials – what you choose is down to your preferences and the interests of your child.

The majority of what you need will be available to find in your close environment, though you may need to source things like:
• Giant paper – lining paper is economical
• String or thin wire
• Cotton material (an unwanted pillow case perhaps)
• Food colouring
• Wax crayons/charcoal/paint
• Double sided sticky tape

If you want to provide mud and are not confident that you ‘wild’ soil is clean enough, buy top soil from the garden centre/supermarket etc. this has less ‘plant based content’ and therefore lasts for longer when being played with. Less likely to get smelly! Remember to keep any stored soil dry as left waterlogged this will soon deteriorate and go sour and unsafe to use.

Top tips

Experience the joy of nature and encourage your child’s artistic tendencies by collecting leaves, acorns, pinecones and anything else that looks interesting. Your local park or woodland is the best place to find things but canal banks and riversides are also good.

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a great place to see art outside and there’s also lots of places to make your own collections for your natural art.

Check out these links

10 reasons why we should let children play in the mud

A-Z mud play

Natural art on pinterest

Andy Goldsworthy

Don't forget to head to the Sheffield 50 Things to Do Before You're Five website for more activities.