Winter Wonders: Nature Art for the Cooler Months

Author: Sian Thomas from Teach. Investigate. Play

Hey there Tiger Tribe subscribers - I’m thrilled to be writing another guest feature for the newsletter! This month, I wanted to share three ways to get creative with your kids during the winter months.


Before you get creative, go on a nature hunt!

On dry winter days, rug up, put your gum boots on and head off into the great outdoors in search of nature treasures!  We only use what has fallen onto the ground, effectively giving nature debris a new lease of life. Items we seek out include pinecones, seed pods, colourful leaves with interesting shapes, tree bark and sticks.


Transient art with leaves

Transient art is a non-permanent way of creating art. It basically involves using loose parts to make shapes or patterns that are ever evolving. Transient art using natural resources was made famous by the artist Andy Goldsworthy who regularly used leaves, pebbles, sticks and pinecones in his work. This is an activity that could be done either indoors or outdoors depending on the weather.

Age depending, there’s a number of ways you can approach this type of artwork with your child. Some will be able to come up with a project all on their own whilst others may need a little bit of coaxing – especially if they’ve never done this kind of project before! Try asking a question as a prompt, ‘Can you make a butterfly?’ for example.


Nature’s paintbrushes

Process art is one of our all-time favourite ways to get creative. Using pinecones, leaves and fallen branches as paintbrushes is a way of letting your child explore new materials. This is all about the experience of making the art rather than the end product itself, but if you use choose the colour palette carefully, you should end up with a vibrant artwork.

For this project, we used non-toxic acrylic paints on a ‘cardboard canvas’ – which is really just an old box that has been flattened and cut to size. Simply squeeze a selection of paints onto plates or even on the canvas itself and let the exploring begin! Because of the potential for mess-making, try this activity on a sunny winter’s day.


Mark-making on tree bark

The bark from gum trees makes for a fantastic natural canvas so get collecting next time you’re on a walk (just check for creepy crawlies first!) Keep the creating for a rainy day when you’re in need of an activity to keep the kids occupied!

This is the simplest project featured, but the results are beautiful. We tend to use paint crayons (the Tiger Tribe silks are our favourites) as they work really well, but you could also use paints or textas. Once finished, try attaching string with a hot glue-gun to create a wall-hanging.

About Teach. Investigate. Play: Teach Investigate Play was created by primary teacher-turned blogger, Sian, after finding maternity leave a little isolating. She is passionate about making learning fun through creativity and play, regularly sharing ideas on InstagramFacebook and her website.  Sian lives in Canberra, Australia with her husband and three children.

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