Natural Art Ideas Kids

Introducing children to new forms of art mediums and natural art ideas, can be a very simple way to begin the transition into creating a more natural environment for them to feel comfortable in. An environment that is conducive to quality learning experiences for all children.

I would like to share some of my own ideas and personal experiences around this topic, while challenging  others to step outside their comfort zone and long term conditioning to be adventureous.

Identifying and drawing local plant life through sensory and visual means

The natural art experience

The space: your environment  can have quite an impact on your outcomes.

  • How is it set up?
  • What message does it send to children?
  • Is it noisy, or too busy?
  • Are the workspaces cliuttered?
  • Do children feel rushed or distracted?

Think about the type of experience you are wanting for children and then consider things such as:


  • Does the child feel empowered?
  • Do they have choices?
  • Is everything available, have you thought the whole process through to avoid distractions/interuptions?
  • Does it look appealing and inviting?
  • Have you chosen a peaceful, quiet location, indooors/outdoors?

    Handmade wooden angled easel for art

I would also recommend working in small groups, so set the area in a way that it caters to the amount of children you feel is managable or will benefit from having your attention.

I often find setting four chairs or cushions if sitting, to send the message that there is room for only four at one time. Others are invited to join in once there is a space available. No child should be excluded.

This is a time where children can explore materials and experiment at their own pace, pose questions contribute to discussions and be creative.

We do not want them to feel rushed and need to make ourselves available to assist without interfering in their work, to support their thoughts, ideas and to help extend their existing knowledge and problem-solving skills.

We want this to be an enjoyable and positive learning experience.



Handmade paintbrushes from flax

Collecting and choosing materials: use the opportunity to take children on a excursion to collect some natural items and plant materials of their choosing that they may like to include in their own creations.

You may already have a great collection without having to venture out.

Gather or make your own. there are many options, have a look around to see what you can covert from what you already have access to and try something new.

Check out your herb garden and add some aromatic herbs into the mix, or some flowers, this is always a lovely sensory experience for children. The vegetable garden is also a good option for all sorts of little treasures.

I enjoy making paint brushes from a local flax (harakeke) They are not only practical but organic so they can be returned to nature when they are no longer useful. There will be similar type plants to this in your local area that you may want to experiment with.

A local form of porice volcanic rock called pumice is something I use as a chalk substitute.. Because it is very light and has a chalky consistency, I cut it

Handmade pumice chalk

into cube type sticks for use on concrete or chalkboards.

Charcoal in the form of sticks, is another alternative to pens, pencils and crayons.

Make and use your own recycled paper with the children.

This is something that could turn into a long term project, another entirely different subject, so we will return our original subject.


Using beetroot juice as a dye

One of the most interesting things about painting is you dont have to use paint! There are many other alternatives, but if you are looking at the natural ones, you might like to consider:

  •  crushed leaves, flowers and bark mixed with a little water.
  • There is the food dye option of beetroot, or berry juice, onion skins(brown and purple) and  tumeric.
  • Clay is also a great medium and comes in a variety of colours. Mixed with water it becomes a wonderful addition to the art experience. It can also be used as a replacement for play-dough.
  • Natural food dye creations



    Look at some creative natural options for brushes:

  • Flax or banana leaf brushes
  • natural sponges
  • Feathers
  • Leaves, twigs and sticks
  • thin bamboo (if it is hollow can be used like a straw to blow bubbles of dye, or paint).

Three-dimensional art

Manipulative play and construction:. clay, is great for moulding, sculpting and manipulating into almost anything. It can be added to with other natural material such as twigs, nut shells, seashells and small stones and pebbles.

The sensory properties alone can be a wonderful experience for little hands, and tools can be added for those who want to get a bit more creative.

Ephemeral art is temporary art and could be but not limited to such things as drawing a picture in sand, or arranging natural items in patterns, and chalk on concrete.

Ephemeral art using natural objects

Pieces of wood and a collection of natural treasures become masterpieces in the hands of a child with unlimited imagination.

Collage is an interesting way of using some of the smaller pieces to create or construct some amazing three dimensional artwork.

Clay experience

I would like to finish with how this impacts on children’s learning

Apart from having fun and exploring new ideaas and concept children can develop deeper respect and understanding of the natural world, and their immediate environment, and will be able to role model this to others.

Often a play experience is packed away and forgotten about immediately. Have you considered just tidying up and resetting the same activity?

If children are returning to it they often want to explore further and will add their own materials or take the experience in a whole different direction,thus building complexity into their own learning.

Remember that you are creating an environment for children to use their imagination and creative abilities to express themselves. There is no expectations on what they produce from this.

There is no right or wrong way of doing it and is their work/play, not ours. Guidance should be limited to what the indivual child needs and we need to be invited into their play.

I am looking forward to hearing from some of you about any exciting changes you have made to your environment that children have enjoyed. Please feel free to share your ideas and experiences.

The colour of nature

20 Replies to “Natural Art Ideas Kids”

  1. Wow this is such a good idea! I think now a days kids are getting started in social media too early, they aren’t able to express their creative side. I hope this will inspire more kids, teachers and parents to encourage children to bring out their creative side more. Plus the art ideas are super cool too!

    1. Thanks Gabby for taking the time to check out my site. It is good for children to have a balanced life and the chance to be creative. I appreciate you feedback. 

  2. I love your post. I’m so glad to have found your website. Your handmade wooden easel and handmade paint brushes have given me great inspiration! Making things with nature so that they can be returned to nature when we no longer need them. This is such a fantastic motto to live by. I can’t count how many old paint brushes we have thrown away, totally not environmentally-friendly!

    Your ideas for paint, too! I never thought about using clay mixed with water to let the kids paint. And beetroot juice! I’m so going to try that. 

    Will be back to get more ideas from your website. 

    1. Hi Joo, thanks so much. the beetroot juice came from the garden that the children grew, harvested, cooked and ate, saving the juice for their art work. This all came from a philosophy of sustainable practices. would love to hear back from you.

  3. I’ve heard a lot of organic food, since I’m a cook, but this is my first to know someone like you who is an advocate for using organic things for children’s art. I’ve been using these colors, always found in the kitchen, for my kids to play when we make experiments dying clothes. I like your idea of natural art ideas for kids, very natural and near to nature. Let’s go promote organic all the way.

    1. Hi Eli, Thanks for your interest, yes i love thinking of sustainable practices for children to value organic and natural materials. yes lets promote organic!  Please feel free to drop by anytime.

  4. I had fun reading this and remembering how much fun I had with leaves, plants, sticks, rocks, feathers, berries and whatever else I found on our homestead. I have always loved identifying plants, birds, butterflies, and other bugs and drawing, pressing leaves and all related activities. I am so glad I lived where we had time to focus on those things as well as gardening, picking berries, making jam, smoking and canning salmon and cooking from scratch. I can’t imagine growing up without all those experiences! We lived near a mine where we would get gold and copper and there were many gorgeous rocks. 

    I hope to share all of these experiences as much as I can with my Goddaughter now and my own kids someday. It is harder to do these things when you live in the city so I have to work to make sure I can still find these opportunities.  

    Sometimes I feel overwhelmed trying to recreate all of these experiences since my life is so different now. Thank you for this great list of ideas that are so simple and accessible! 

    1. Hi there, what a wonderful childhood you have had. i hope you are able to share that enthusiasm with your Goddaughter too. thanks for dropping in and please feel free to drop in anytime.

      cheers Cass

  5. Thank you, I’m so glad to come across your site for ideas for our little girl.Wow there are so many good ideas here! I really think these days that kids are getting started onto social media too early, they aren’t able to express their creative side. I would like to get her away from the TV screen and have bookmarked your site and hope you cover dance and other play to help children’s development. For this post, there are so many great art ideas.  Thank you!!I hope this will inspire more kids, teachers and parents to encourage children to bring out their creative side more.  You will surely create more enjoyable and positive learning experiences!

    1. Hi John, i am glad you like it. Yes I will be doing something on music and movement and how it helps with all sorts things including brain development. Also role play and outdoor environments.If you can imagine I will probably be covering it. Its great that you have bookmarked my page, and I look forward to your return. Cheers Cassandra

  6. Oh my! I just found my own idea for my firestones from here! I like to layout my creative spaces differently with each project. Because my mind sees the result before I begin the process, I must create an environment similar to the results. I think the same would apply with the art teacher, if they desire cohesion in their students work

    1. Hi Linda thankyou for dropping in. Yes the environment can have a major impact on how children use their space. if we demonstrate respectful practices, the children will follow. I would love to see what you set up as it may inspire other ideas. Cheers Cass

  7. High Cassandra, I really enjoyed reading this post and it took me back to when I was at school and we would go out with the teacher to collect things like leaves and pieces of bark or anything else that we found so that we could do art. It was always great to find something different that no one else had noticed. 

    I always think that children love to be able to go and get new and different things that they can use to both draw and use for art. I used to let my 3 paint on to the back of leaves they had collected and then use them like a stamp to put the print on to the paper. 

    It is great to see young children using their imagination when painting or even working with things like clay or plasticine as they really come alive. 

    Thank you for this great post Cassandra.

    1. Thankyou Cheryl,  yes the possibilities are endless. I think my posts bring back many fond childhood memories for many people. It awakens the inner child in us and we want to share these experiences with our own children. Thanks for connecting with me here and feel free to stop by for updates. 

      Cheers Cass

  8. I had to read this article twice to finally realize how cool all of this is.  From home made tools to using natural products for art.  Its so sad to see kids now a days with their noses stuck into electronics.  Its great to see sites like this where maybe we can get back to the days when things were much simpler.

    1. Thank you Dale, I am trying the provide a simple solution to a challenging issue and I absolutely love what I do!

      Cheers for dropping by, Cass

  9. This seems a great idea for kids and even adults to engage with mother nature in the process of creation, as all you see in the modern day is that everybody from kids to the elderly are twiddling away at their smart phones. Engaging in natural art will help everybody to enjoy the tactile environment that mother nature’s bounties and learn to value the natural environment. Are there any natural art classes or programmes available online?

    1. Hello Aziza, You have grasped my concept well and thank you for appreciating it. I have not looked into art classea personally however I have done a class online with the Hetet School of Maori Art. They teach traditional flax weaving which is absolutely incredible. I think you can register online and they run special deals on a regular basis.

      Thanks for checking out my page and have a great night. 

      Cheers Cass

  10. What an interesting take on doing crafts with kids.

    We do crafts on a weekly basis with children aged 3 to 16. We often do the same craft for all ages with different levels of preparation; from put together and left to colour for the younger ones, to here are the supplies and here’s the sample for the older ones.

    We are often behind the eight ball trying to come up with new crafts and have used all kinds of supplies.

    The only Natural supplies we have used over the years are stones and sea shells collected on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua.

    Thank you for planting these ideas. Sometimes we get caught up with the fact that because some of the kids have a hard time using scissors or colouring or glueing, any craft will do to help them learn. We have lots of natural materials available to us here… time to think up some new natural crafts. I might just be coming back for some ideas.

    Keep up the good work on your website.

    1. Thankyou so much Mitch. I appreciate your interest and I would love to hear how you are able to implement some of these ides into your programme. Stop by anytime for new ideas and  please feel free to share your experiences. Have a great day. Cheers Cassandra

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