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10 November 2014

Arts and Crafts For Kids

In previous article "Nature Crafts For the Kids On an Autumn Picnic," we gave you two fun nature craft ideas the kids can do at the picnic table after a nature walk at the park:

1. Leaf rubbing
2. Smiley faces from nature

In Part 2, we're going to give you 2 more fun nature arts and crafts ideas the kids will love plus a bonus science experiment that will totally fascinate them and it's very simple to do.

Nature Prints In Eco-Dough
On your nature walk, ask the kids to collect small natural items no bigger than one inch with lots of interesting texture. When they ask why, tell them "it's a surprise." Autumn leaves, small pieces of bark, rocks, ferns, clover, other small plants, flowers, mushrooms, twigs, pine needles, small evergreen branches, pinecones, and pinecone seeds are all interesting textures.

Discover eco arts and crafts for kids - made of natural materials and coloured with non-toxic paints.

Have them spread out their textured treasures on the newspaper at the picnic table. As they are doing that, divvy up an equal amount of our Eco-Dough for each child. With the vein side of a leaf, demonstrate how to make a print in the Eco-Dough and then encourage them to try it with all their textured treasures.

Our play dough is 100 per cent eco-friendly because it is made from the extracts of plants such as blueberries, annatto seeds, carrots, beets, spinach, sweet potatoes, paprika, and flour. It also contains pleasant smelling essential oils, such as rosemary oil, to make it more pliable.

You can also have the kids make human figures or animal figures, like horses and starfish, and then use the textured treasures, such as leaves and ferns, to create interesting textures on these bodies. To get their creative juices flowing, you could say something like, "How about a dog with leaf textured fur! You can also encourage them to use some of their textured treasures to create clothing or a saddle. They can pose their clay figurines sitting on rocks or climbing through branches. Encourage them to incorporate other natural items into their clay figurines such as a twig as a walking cane or the cap of an acorn as a hat.

Finger Painting With Eco-Finger Paint
A outdoor picnic table covered with newspapers is the absolute best place to finger paint. The kids are totally free to have fun without you continually begging them not to get paint on the walls and furniture! Plus, you can have added peace of mind knowing that the Finger Paint is made with the same non-toxic plant materials as you find Eco-Dough (see above), only without the flour and a little cream of tartar to thicken it up!

Using pages from our Eco-Art Pad as a canvass encourage the kids to finger paint the beautiful park scene they are looking at and/or something they saw on the nature walk. You can also let their imaginations run wild and encourage them to finger paint what a park would look like on another planet or what the park they are in would have looked like when dinosaurs roamed the Earth!

Bonus: Fun Science Experiment
Purpose: To let the kids discover the hidden colours in green leaves.
On your nature walk, find a tree where some of the leaves are starting to change to their festive autumn colours but some of the leaves are still green. Have the kids take a close look at several leaves. Explain to them that every leaf on the tree contains the colour pigments, even the green ones, but they are hidden by the dominant green pigment (chlorophyll). In the autumn, when the green starts to fade, the other pigments are finally revealed to the human eye. These include the reds, oranges, and yellows that we see on the splendid autumn trees. Before you leave the multi-coloured tree, have the kids find and pick two leaves that are still completely green. Tell them they are for a fun experiment for later on.

Supplies you'll need:
- 2 green leaves from a tree in the process of turning (see above)
- 1 glass or ceramic bowl or large cup (MUST be glass or ceramic, not plastic)
- Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
- 1 white coffee filter
- 1 pencil
- 1 spoon- Kid-friendly scissors
- Tape- Two rough rocks (one should be flat)
- Mortar and pestle (optional)
- Tape

Have the kids cut the green leaves into tiny pieces. Next, have them put the leaf pieces on the flat rock and use the other rock to grind the leaf pieces into a pulp. Alternately, you can have them use a mortar and pestle if you have one. Next, have them put the leaf pulp in the bowl or cup and spread it out along the bottom. Next, help the kids pour in just enough alcohol to completely cover the leaf pulp and then stir it up to release the leaf pigments.

Once you have a rich green liquid, remind the kids that the autumn foliage pigments are hidden in there too but the green is masking it. Next, have the kids cut a one inch wide strip of paper from the white coffee filter that is the same length as the height of the bowl or cup. Tape this strip to the middle of the pencil and position the strip of paper over the top of the bowl or cup. They should let the paper strip hang down just enough that it barely touches the green liquid. 

Explain to the kids that as the liquid is drawn up the strip of paper by capillary action, the different colour pigments in the leaf will separate out because the lighter ones will travel further than the heavier ones. This will reveal the hidden autumn pigments.

Check on the paper strip about every 5 minutes to see if the colours have separated out. Although results will vary, you should see an orangish colour at the top, followed by yellow, blue, and then green. The kids will probably be excited by the difficult colours they see. Remind them that these are the amazing colours that make the trees so beautiful in the autumn!