Make Paper Towel Marker Magic
This is such a simple activity, yet hours of awe and beauty! All you need are paper towels, water, a plate or shallow dish, and washable markers. We used Crayola, but any water soluble marker would work. Fold a paper towel in half like a card. On the front of the paper towel card, make a very simple design. Then inside, add more details and colors. Drop the paper towel into the water and watch the designs appear and colors spread!
This is such a fun little project for a rainy day, a day indoors or cozy evening! To make an all-natural candle, all you need is an orange (we found that a lime, lemon and clementine also work well), some oil (olive, vegetable, canola, etc.) and a knife. Cut the orange in half, remove and eat the fruit, leaving the natural "wick" intact. Pour oil into the hollowed orange, being sure to also wet the wick. Light the wick (this might take time-- have patience!) and cozy up for stories and cuddles beside your natural candle!
Make Nature Tapestries
Use nature to weave a simple yet beautiful tapestry! If you have access to reeds or long-stemmed plants, flowers and branches, you can lay them out and intertwine them (over-under -over-under). Alternatively, use paper (white or colored), and glue found leaves, grass and flower petals to strips before weaving together. We glued our construction paper tapestry to recycled cardboard, tied sticks to it to make a frame, and hung it as art! Such a creative and fun activity!
This is such a simple way to inspire awareness and awe about the astoundingly beautiful and amazing patterns in nature! Choose a leaf, flower, pinecone, stick, or stone, and bring it home to examine. If you can't get outside, look online or find a picture. Take time to observe and talk about the patterns you see. What shapes/colors can you find? How are they organized? Why might these patterns exist? Then, draw/recreate the patterns. What do the patterns make you think of? What other things in the world have you seen that are similar? Finally, have fun, and make your own picture with the same shapes and colors!
Explore Patterns in Nature
Experiment with Natural Items that Sink and Float
You may have tried dropping things into water as a way of exploring density, but this activity takes it a step further! It requires extra creativity, critical thinking/problem-solving skills and, most importantly, more fun splashing and playing in water! First, collect natural objects. If you can't get outside, use items around the house. Then, test whether each sinks or floats. Why does it do that? Do you think it is more or less dense than water? Finally, challenge yourself to see if you can get an object that floats to sink and vice versa. Extend the fun by using more items or doing thought experiments. How could you keep a rock from sinking with a balloon? How could you get a balloon to sink? Why? The possibilities, learning and fun are endless!
This easy activity can be a fun, nature-inspired art project or a deeper exploration of scientific principles! Explore the sun's path and make a natural sun dial by tracing shadows! For this easy activity, all you need is an area that gets sunlight over multiple hours, something that stands upright, and paper, markers or crayons. Set your alarm for every hour, trace the shadow and take note of the time. Where was the sun when you drew that shadow? Why are some shadows longer than others? Can you see a pattern? What does it tell you about the sun's path? What do you know about the earth's daily rotation and revolution around the sun? So many possibilities for explorations and creativity with this activity!
Create Sun Dials by Tracing Shadows
Use leaves to highlight the geometric patterns in nature and make art at the same time! Adventure out, find a leaf you like, trace it and rotate it to the edge of the previous outline or to the center of the previous leaf trace. Use pencils, crayons or paint to fill in the patterns. What shapes do you see? What patterns and symmetry do you notice? How many sides are there? This is such a fun and easy nature-based art project that can serve as an intro to shapes and geometry. So many creative possibilities!
This is a great way to explore shapes while interacting with nature, building spatial awareness and fine motor skills! For this easy, hands-on activity, all you need are sticks and rubber bands. First, create 2D shapes with your sticks. How many shapes can you make? What are they called? Next, make flat 3D shapes. Then, challenge yourself to make 3D models of each shape using rubber bands. Finally, use your imagination to transform your models into something new (tiny houses, space ships, boats, etc.)!
Explore 3D Shapes
Make fun animated flip books with nature themes! A small pad of paper or post-it notes will work best, but you can also make your own books with scrap paper. (Just be sure that the paper's edges are well aligned, otherwise it will be difficult to flip through.) Then, start drawing, making very slight changes to each page's picture. Finally, flip to see the movement! Can you make a leaf blowing in the wind or a stickman running? How about the stages of the moon or metamorphosis of a butterfly or frog? Let your imagination run wild as you create your own animations!
Nature is filled with symmetry and patterns that mirror themselves. This is a fun and easy way to explore those patterns while playing with form and spatial awareness. Go on an adventure and collect interesting leaves, flowers, fruits or vegetables. Cut them in half and glue them firmly to a piece of paper. Use your eye to carefully sketch and color the mirror image. Use graph paper for more precise symmetry and exploration of measurement, math and geometry! What other beautiful things can you find that show symmetry?