Spring is just around the corner and to get you in the mood we’ve put together some quick and easy nature crafts for kids. These are all two activities in one as you can spend a happy time collecting leaves and petals, sticks and pebbles on a nature walk. Then you can spend a happy afternoon crafting and making activities from your treasures.
1. Nature crafts for kids -Little leaf animals
Gather a bunch of leaves on a walk. Try and find leaves of all sorts of shapes and sizes and pick up any little pine cones, flowers and seeds that you can find too. When you get home, challenge your child to arrange the leaves on a sheet of paper to make an animal.
Let them make their own imaginary animals or monsters if they want to! They might like to use pens, paint or googly eyes to add extra details.
2. Lovely leaf printing
Pour out some paint onto a paper plate (or into little bowls) and ask your child to paint the underside of a leaf – covering every thing, including the stalk. Then ask them to place their leaf, painty side down, onto a sheet of paper and press it firmly. When they lift it off they should see a beautiful leaf print! They can make as many leaf prints as they like. They might want to try using more than one colour on each leaf to see what effects that makes too.
3. Nature crafts for kids – Fork print florals
Printing with forks can make the most beautiful spring flower paintings. Just dip the back of a fork (we used wooden forks) into paint and print on a piece of paper or card. Single fork prints look a bit like tulips. Or a circle of fork prints look like daisies or gerbera! We painted the centres of our flowers and added stalks with green paint too.
4. Swirly whirly sticks
This is a really simple make that little ones will love playing with.
Find some nice sticks on a walk and gather some ribbons (you could also use strips of tissue paper or strips of fabric). Tie them to one end of the stick to make a swirly whirly wand that toddlers can hold. They will have hours of run running about the garden or park waving their swirly sticks and coming up with all sorts of imaginative play.
5. Nature hanging window frames
Give your child a basket or small bag and ask them to gather lots of different leaves and flowers on a walk or from the garden. Cut round pieces of card and punch a hole in the top. Now your child can stick their nature treasures all over the cardboard frame to make a pretty picture. Thread some ribbon or string though the punched hole to hang in front of a window.
6. Nature crafts for kids – Painted pebble friends
Why not let your children paint their own little pebble friends?
They can simply paint them with different colours and patterns (try giving them cotton buds to print dots over a painted background). Or they can make them into rainbows or faces or even animals. You can varnish your pebble friends once the paint is dry by brushing on a coat of watered down PVA glue. This makes them nice and shiny and makes the colours pop.
7. I spy nature walk
Turn a walk into a treasure hunt with these adorable I-Spy Nature Walk printables.
Your toddler can tick off each thing they spot along the way, making an everyday walk much more fun. We’ve made I-Spy sheets for a nature walk as well as a walk along the streets.
Remember making mud pies as a child? It’s just so much fun. Embrace a bit of mess and mud and set up a mud kitchen for your child to explore.
It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just pop some bowls, spoons, baking trays, sieves – any kitchen equipment that is either old or can easily be washed – onto a bench or table. Or even just on the path or patio. You could set up bowls of shells, pebbles, grass, flowers and seeds too. Add a bowl of water and a small jug to pour. And let your child make mud pies and potions and squish and stir to their heart’s content.
9. Easy peasy bird feeder
Don’t forget your feathered friends! Little ones will not only love helping you to make and hang bird feeders but will then wait with excitement to spy who comes to visit them.
A really easy way to make a bird feeder is to cut and orange in half and cut out the flesh. Make holes in four sides (at the compass points) with a fat needle and thread one piece of string along one diameter (through the two holes that line up) and one piece of string through the other two holes. Your strings will cross over (as shown in the first photo). Tie the ends of the strings but, for now, keep them hanging down. You can fill your bird feeder with a mix of seed and either lard or peanut butter. Then bring the strings up to the top and hang in the garden.
How many times have you had a bored little one on your hands and needed to find something that would keep them stimulated and engaged? Well, if you have ever found yourself googling for ideas, it’s very likely that the phrase “sensory bin ideas” has popped up at least once!
There are a lot of benefits to making a sensory bin for your child. Not only is it quick, cheap and easy, but you’re opening up your child to a whole new learning experience!
This weeks article has been written by a wonderful guest author, content creator at speech blubs: Liz Talton! Enjoy!
Sensory bins are an incredible way to introduce new textures and imaginative play for children. But for those kids with autism and sensory processing disorder, sensory bins are a useful form of therapy. If you have no clue about how to make sensory bins, there are easy sensory bins to get you started!
When I first started doing sensory bins for my son with autism, I had no idea what to put in a sensory bin. So, my research began! When researching sensory bin activities, I kept a couple of things in mind:
I needed activities that introduced him to a variety of textures to desensitize him
I needed the sensory bin activities to be as easy as possible
With those two points in mind, I have plenty of easy sensory bin ideas to get us started!
1. Sensory bin idea, or doing the washing up?
For this sensory bin, take dish soap, water, and fill a plastic bin until the water is full of bubbles.
Then add in plastic utensils and dishware (the kind of play toys that come with a plastic kitchen set). Have your child “wash the dishes” with a scrub brush. You can even extend this sensory bin activity to include a drying station with dish towels and a drying rack next to the sensory “washing” bin.
This is an amazing sensory activity because it combines a sensory experience with household tasks to teach early responsibility.
2. Shredded Paper Sensory Bin
Simply take some old bills through a shred machine, then take the shredded paper and place it in a plastic bin. Now, get creative! You can add plastic animals, trucks, cars, cups, and more. Although this is a simple ingredient sensory bin, your child will need a significant amount of imagination to play.
3. Flour Pit
Flour makes a terrific dry ingredient to add to any sensory bin activity. But to make it as simple as possible, just pour a desired amount of flour into a bin. The amount you want depends on the size of the container you are using. However, there should be enough flour for your child to make small piles with it.
This sensory bin is called “flour pit” because along with flour a child uses small construction vehicles for playing at a “construction site.”
4. Letter Hunt and Numbers Game
Letter hunt involves searching through a sensory bin for plastic letters or alphabet letters from a wooden puzzle. All you need to do is fill a container bin with one of the following dry ingredients:
You can even color the rice ahead of time with food coloring, but always make sure the rice is completely dry before using it for a sensory activity. Alternatively, you could add plastic numbers andhave your child retrieve the numbers in order. In other words, you can use this idea to create a counting game! For younger children, you can add the numbers 1 through 5 or 1 through 10 to make it simpler to complete the activity.
While you can add visual stimulation with colored rice, the dry ingredients also make noise when moved to create hearing stimulation as well.
5. Scoop and Pour
By the name of the sensory bin, you have probably guessed the activity. Simply add a dry ingredient like black beans, then give your child large plastic spoons and ladles along with an ice cube tray. After that, all your child must do is scoop and pour the black beans into the ice cube tray. You can also do this same activity with your child’s favourite cereal. It will be completely taste-safe!
6. What a lot of “Smashing” Sensory bin ideas!
Speaking of cereal, another great activity is a “smashing” sensory bin. This activity is great for children needing help with fine motor skills or for kids who like destroying things! Take cereal like Cheerios or Fruit Loops and supply your child with a small plastic or metal hammer. Place the cereal into a plastic bin and instruct your child to smash each circle one at a time.
My son loves this activity. Mainly because he really enjoys destroying things and seeing how they are put together.
This is an activity that allows him to appropriately destroy something. Plus, all the mess stays contained in a shallow plastic container. Three cheers for easy cleanup!
Your Child’s Interests Provide Fun Sensory Experiences
When you start learning about sensory bins, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there! However, once you learn some key ingredients, add in your own creativity, and your child’s interests’ sensory bins become a fun multisensory experience for both you and your child.
If your child is on the autism spectrum or he/she has sensory processing disorder, sensory bins are an easy way to slowly expose your child to new sensory stimulation because they lessen an overreaction to sensory input. Plus, providing these experiences gives your child a healthy outlet to help manage anxiousness related to external sensory input.
About the Author
Liz Talton is a mom of 2 wonderful boys, has a Masters in Psychology. She advocates for her son with autism. That’s why she joined content creators at Speech Blubs, a speech therapy at-home app that helps many kids with speech difficulties produce first words and sounds.