There's nothing like art and craft to tap into your child's creative and imaginative side. So, why not bring the outdoors inside, through craft projects that will help your child learn from nature?
By Siddiqha Naseem
Geetha's friends are amazed by how creatively she has framed a simple mirror with twigs. They eagerly ask her how she learnt to use nature-inspired art and craft to transform a seemingly ordinary household object. And they are amazed when they learn it is not Geetha but her seven-year-old daughter, Anu, who has actually created this! Little Anu loves to play outdoors and with Geetha's help, the child is honing her creativity and using her imagination. With her mother's guidance, she is bringing nature indoors.
Children love to play outdoors amidst greenery and everything it has to offer. Apart from the physical activity itself which is great for health, children can do so much more. For instance, nature-inspired crafts can prove to be an excellent hobby. It can inspire them, let their imagination soar, and also help them utilise their free time better. And the best part is, you don't need to buy expensive material for such arty craft. Anything in your backyard, from interestingly-shaped or coloured leaves, sand, pebbles, shells, pieces of wood, dried leaves or dried flower petals, can be used to make innovative crafts.
Here are some nature-inspired craft pieces that you and your child can make together:
Step 1: Cut a piece of chart paper for the required size.
Step 2: Stick three big dried green leaves to represent the body of the fish. Stick them in different directions, as if they are swimming.
Step 3: Stick the flower petals in such a way that they make the fins and tails of the fish.
Step 4: Stick one googly eye on every fish to make it look realistic.
Step 5: Using sketch pens, draw an underwater scene with waves and seaweed, around the the fish.
Tip: You can also try different themes using the same materials. For instance, create interesting artwork by using twigs as trees, clouds cut out from leaves and small stones for pathways.
Step 1: Fill soil up to the rim of the pot. This will make the plants in your pot more visible.
Step 2: Take your miniature plants out of their pots. Make sure you do not disturb the roots. Cut off dried or uneven leaves.
Step 3: Dig small holes to plant your saplings. Place taller plants at the back, short plants in the front. Use a variety of coloured flowers and plants. This will make your miniature garden look colourful.
Step 4: Place your accessories like fairies and houses.
Step 5: Line up pebbles as a pathway outside the house.
Note: Place your miniature garden in direct sunlight and water as and when required. Trim your plants on a regular basis so they do not become overgrown.
Tip: You can use themes such as playgrounds, waterfalls and parks. Dig a small hole and place a cup filled with water. This will look like a small pond.
Step 1: Scrub the surface of a rock using sandpaper to make it even. This gives a flat surface for easy painting.
Step 2: Paint using different colours and paintbrushes. Let dry.
Step 3: After the rock is dry, coat with glue and let it dry. This will give your rock painting a shiny finish and make it last longer.
Tip: You can paint anything be it a seaside scene, a woodland setting or insects and birds on the rock. Better still, make interesting doodles using sketch pens.
Step 1: Melt the wax in a microwave until it is completely liquidised.
Step 2: Take one big-sized open seashell. Put two smaller-sized seashells inside.
Step 3: Pour the hot liquid wax into the seashell. If your child is doing this, ensure she is careful and does not burn her fingers.
Step 4: When the wax is semi-dry, place a small piece of twine in the middle and let the wax solidify completely. Your seashell candle is ready.
Step 1: Glue the big seashells onto the box first. Let dry.
Step 2: Fill the gaps with the smaller seashells.
Step 3: Make sure the box is entirely covered with shells.
Step 4: With a paintbrush, coat the box with adhesive glue. This ensures that the shells don't come off and also gives a nice sheen to the finished product.
Such innovative art and craft activities can boost your child's confidence and help her hone her imagination. What's more, creating such craft together can be a great way to bond too. You will both have lots of fun and more important, your little one will also become more aware of the beauty there is in the natural world.
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