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12 September 2014

Nature Crafts For the Kids On an Autumn Picnic

Autumn is a wonderful time to explore nature with the kids and do nature crafts outdoors. It's not too hot and it's not too cold. The trees, with their splendid autumn foliage, give the springtime flowers some stiff competition for awe-inspiring multi-coloured viewscapes. It's the perfect time to take the kids to the park, go on a nature walk, and have a picnic.
Then afterwards, let them spread out on the picnic table and have a blast with nature crafts. As they colour and paste, the autumn leaves will rustle and the birds will serenade them! Plus, they can fill their young lungs with fresh outdoor air and let the sun hit their skin for some vitamin D production! Kids today tend to spend too much time indoors playing with their electronic gadgets.

At greenBee, we offer a wide selection of eco-friendly arts and crafts supplies for kids. Please check out our entire selection arts and crafts. Below, you will find our favourite time honoured nature crafts that have been putting smiles on the faces of kids for many decades. Before you get started on any of these projects, we suggest you spread some old newspaper across the entire picnic table and weight it down in case of wind.

Leaf Rubbings
Since leaves really take centre stage in the autumn, doing nature crafts with coloured leaves is always a kid pleaser! Leaf rubbings are a classic kids crafts project that is fun for kids of all ages.

Supplies you'll need:
Eco-Art Pad
Colouring pencils (for older children)
Paper towels Tape (optional)

On your nature walk, ask the kids to collect 10-20 dry leaves that have a really interesting vein pattern. Encourage them to look very closely at the leaf and notice details they may have never noticed before. For older kids, you can also have them look for imperfections in the leaves and ask them what they think caused these imperfections. For example, is the imperfection due to an animal eating the leaf? Is it evidence that a fungus has attacked the leaf? Kids love this kind of detective work!

At the picnic table, have the kids blot off any moisture on their leaves using a paper towel. Then have them lay a leaf vein side up on the newspaper. Next, have them place a sheet of paper from the Eco-Art Pad over the leaf. If it is windy, you may want to have them tape down the paper. Next, using either our Eco-Crayons or our Colouring pencils, have them colour lightly on the portion of the paper over the leaf. The outline of the leaf and its intricate vein pattern will magically appear. In fact, it will be easier for the kids to see the vein pattern on the paper than it was on the leaf itself! The same is true for any imperfections on the leaf. If they don't discover it on their own, you can suggest that they try applying differing amounts of pressure when they colour to see how that affects the detail they see. The kids will be amazed at how beautiful their leaf rubbings turn out!

The paper in our Eco-Art Pads is extra smooth so even the smaller veins should show up very nicely. You will also be happy to know that the paper is made from 100 percent post consumer fibres from sustainably harvested trees. In fact, this paper carries the Rainforest Alliance certification. Each pad comes with fifty sheets so it should last for several projects. Our Eco-Crayons are made from 25 percent natural bees wax and 75 percent natural plant extracts including carrots, beets, purple potatoes, spinach, and red cabbage. So, you certainly don't have to worry about toxicity if the kids happen to stick the crayons in their mouths! They are also shaped like colourful rocks so they are perfect for little hands to wrap around. Our colouring pencils are made with unvarnished California cedar wood so they do not contain heavy metals on their surface like most other pencils do!

The leaf rubbings can be particularly stunning if the kids create collages with different leaves and/or spend time to really bring out the detail of each leaf. You can use their masterpieces to decorate their rooms and bathrooms. You could also frame the best ones and place them in a prominent place in the family room, dining room, or kitchen! Your kids will swell with pride as visitors take interest in their beautiful artwork. It will also serve as a constant reminder of a very special family day.

Smiley Faces From Nature
Supplies you'll need:
Items collected from nature like pinecones and leaves
Non-toxic kid friendly glue
Eyeballs, noses, ears, and mouths (optional)
Cotton balls, pipe cleaners, and toothpicks (optional)

Another simple nature crafts project that is always a winner is placing smiley faces on leaves, pine cones, rocks, shells, and other treasures from nature. You can get eyeballs, noses, ears, and mouths from craft shops. Alternately, you can simply have the kids find items from nature, such as berries, twigs, and pebbles, that will work just as well for making the smiley faces. The kids can create animal faces by adding whiskers (straw or pipe cleaners), fur (forest litter or cotton balls), and antennae (straw, twigs, tooth picks, or pipe cleaners). Smiley face leaves can be easily tacked to a kid's bulletin board or put on the refrigerator with a magnet. You can also glue a magnet on the back of smiley face pine cones, smiley face shells, and smiley face rocks and place them on the refrigerator.

Here is an example of smiley face leaves:

Stay tuned to our blog for next part in this nature crafts series.