Children love art projects but all the mess that comes as part of the fun can be hard work for mums and dads. The solution? Take art outdoors; the garden is the perfect place for children to make a little bit of mess while they get hands on with nature, experimenting with different colours, textures and ideas. There’s a whole world of creative outdoor art projects for children but I’d love to share with you just five of my favourites.
Who hasn’t wanted to splash vibrant colours around at some point in their life? Splatter painting is the perfect excuse to swish paintbrushes through the air and get in touch with your inner *Pollock. Use an extra large sheet of paper, you can even attach a few sheets together, so that there is a great big area at which children can aim their paints; you can stick this to an outside wall, the side of a shed or simply lay it flat on the grass. This is not only a brilliant way to let children be creative with the patterns that they make but, by allowing them free range with the paint pots, you will see their excitement grow as they make new shades of colour by blending various paints together. This is a perfect activity if you’re looking to have lots of fun at children’s parties or when friends come over to play.
(* Jackson Pollock, an American painter that lead the abstract expressionist movement.)
Sensory play is an essential part of child development and having fun with water is a great way to stimulate the senses. Find a large tray, it could even be your washing up bowl, fill it up with water before dropping in items from around the garden; think smooth pebbles, flowers, leaves, conkers and so on. Younger children will enjoy simply plunging their hands into the water to feel the objects and the sensation of the water, while older children will become more engaged by closing their eyes and trying to guess the objects or by predicting which items will sink and those that might float.
Are you worried about paint staining your garden patio or paths? This recipe for chalk paints uses just two ingredients, it’s easy to make, and can be washed away with water after the fun is finished. Knowing that they’re not going to cause any damage, you can let your children run wild with their imaginations; older children will enjoy painting hop scotches, games and more intricate designs, with younger children delighting in hand and foot prints or making painted leaf patterns.
Not all outdoor art projects have to be messy. Creating a rainbow from different coloured flowers is a great way to teach children about the basics of colour to more complicated lessons about the colour spectrum and how rainbows are formed. Children of all ages will get excited as they search for flowers and leaves outdoors; can they find red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple? Admire the art that comes from lining up all the items in colour rows or let the children create a collage of coloured paper and paint with a few flowers added here and there if you don’t have many plants around you. Needless to say, this isn’t the best activity for a windy day!
This is a great activity to do when you’re walking through the woods; with such a fun distraction, you can encourage children to walk even further without them realising it. Find a thin stick and every time you come across an interesting leaf, pick it up and thread it onto the stick. Though different shades of green can look really beautiful, this is lots of fun in the autumn when there are plenty of red, orange and brown leaves around too. Make your children feel proud of their creations by hanging up the threaded leaf sticks from a tree in your own garden.
Do you have any favourite ideas for outdoor art projects to share? We always love to hear about new creative activities for children.