Summer is the perfect time to create art with your child. Nature provides endless inspiration for art. Here are three fun art activities using leaves that you can do with kids or just on your own!
This post was created as part of the Elmer’s Crafty Bloggers team.
Learning Activity Topic: Using nature to inspire art
1. Identifying and sorting items from nature
2. Using shapes and variety to create a composition
3. Learning about negative and positive space
4. Gaining experience using paint brushes, inks and markers
Begin by going on a nature walk with your child or students. Bring a bucket or bag to collect things from nature. Collect any items you find on the ground (leaves, rocks, grasses, flowers, candy wrappers etc.). Look for shapes that are interesting and objects that are the right size for the paper you will be using for your art projects. Be careful to supervise your children to make sure they are only picking up objects that are safe to touch.
This activity can promote all sorts of interesting discussions and questions.
- Point out interesting shapes, textures and colors.
- As your child has questions, talk about topics that arise related to nature, grass, leaves, litter, etc.
- When you return home, sort through the objects. Is there anything man-made or is it all natural? If the object is man-made, what is it made out of and what do you think it was used for?
- Compare the sizes and weights of all the objects.
- If your child is interested in learning more about a particular type of natural material, find children’s books to read.
- Older kids can use guidebooks to identify things from nature.
- Practice using a camera and take photographs of what you find.
- Let the child’s interests guide you. As you start an art activity, your child may have ideas of their own and be open to let them explore their own way of creating.
Art Project #1
1. Select several leaves, feathers, rocks or other natural materials to arrange on your piece of watercolor paper.
2. Pour liquid watercolors into small cosmetic spray bottles and dilute with water. Another option is to purchase ink sprays from a craft store. Protect your workspace by placing newspapers on your table.
3. Spray a variety of colors onto your paper. Use a paper towel to dab areas that become pooled with ink. Younger children may need help spraying.
4. When you are satisfied, remove the leaves to reveal the finished picture. The paper will remain white in the areas where the leaves were placed.
Art Project #2
1. Select, arrange and glue several leaves onto a piece of watercolor paper.
2. Color around the leaves with Color Slicks. Since Color Slicks are water-soluble, you can use a paintbrush dipped in water to blend the colors. Watercolor paints can also be used in combination with the Color Slicks to create a vibrantly colored background.
The leaves will start to dry and crinkle after awhile, so take a picture of your beautiful artwork!
Art Project #3
1. Choose several leaves or other natural materials with interesting shapes. Arrange them on your paper.
2. Use a black permanent pen or marker to trace around the objects.
This example is by my daughter, who is entering kindergarten this fall. She finished hers by coloring with markers.
3. After tracing the leaves, color them in with markers, watercolor paints or Board Mate Color Slicks. The Color Slicks are water-soluble, so you can use a paintbrush dipped in water to blend the colors. You can also dip your paintbrush in water, rub it onto the tip of the Color Slicks and use it like paint. In this example, I used watercolor paints and Color Slicks to add color.
A big thank you to Elmer’s for sponsoring this post and providing products to use. All opinions and tutorial instructions are my own.