Nature painting: Process art for kids

Lately, Peeper is fascinated by combining complementary things. “Together!” she cries, popping a bite of cheese and hot dog into her mouth, or “Pomegranate on top!” while balancing a seed on a forkful of peas and tofu.

Her enthusiasm makes me think of the scene in Ratatouille when Remy discovers how two tastes together can pop like fireworks or melt together for a transcendent out-of-body experience.

ratatouille-gifs-3142-19317-hd-wallpapersThe other day, I followed her lead. Peeper loves art, and she loves the outdoors. So voila: nature painting!

Toddler Nature Painting - ten Thousand Hour Mama

Prep for kids’ nature painting

With a bucket in tow, we set out on a walk in our neighborhood. We picked up bits of this and that, dropping rocks and fallen pine boughs in the pail with a plunk. Peeper soon caught a taste for collecting, and before long her bucket held an abundance of nature’s detritus.

Toddler bucket walk - Ten Thousand Hour mamaToddler Nature Bucket - Ten Thousand Hour mama
Back at home, I set up an array of stems, sticks and blossoms for Peeper to dip in the paint in lieu of a brush. Even Eric jumped in, helping her stamp daisies and roll rocks around the paper.

Of course the arts and crafts session ended as they always do, with Peeper elbow-deep in finger paint. We’re way past trying to keep anything clean; my motto is embrace the mess.

More often than not, that turns into embrace the fun.

Toddler and Dad Nature Painting - Ten Thousand Hour mamaToddler and Dad Nature Painting - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Instructions for nature painting

  1. Collect a variety of nature objects, like leaves, flowers, pine cones, rocks and sticks. Aim to collect a range of sizes and textures. Note: Nature painting works better if the objects aren’t drenched, muddy or dirty.
  2. Clean off any dirt, mud or broken pieces—unless you’re going for a very natural nature painting look!
  3. Arrange the objects on a tray or paper towel. On a palette (or tupperware lid, which is what we usually use), squirt out washable and nontoxic paint. (Limit the colors to three ones in the same color range if you don’t want it to get cray.)
  4. Invite your child to dip the nature objects in the paint and stamp onto a piece of paper. Enjoy the beautiful nature painting!

0 thoughts on “Nature painting: Process art for kids

  • March 31, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I love this, and I love how the “fun” got into her hair! 🙂

  • March 31, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    I love the little gif and reference you made to Ratatouille, it sounds fun that Peeper is trying all these different things together, which maybe hints at lots more exploration in her future? I also admire that you let her finger paint with clothes on.

    • March 31, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Washable paint is a staple in our house. We’ve been lucky in getting it out in the wash so far!

  • March 31, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Love this gif! Ratatouille is the best! I’ve done this type of project with kids before, always a hit 🙂 Its always great when you can incorporate your child’s natural creativity and aptitude with fun and captivating activities. What a little cutie pie!

  • April 1, 2015 at 7:16 am

    We love Ratatouille! What a great way to explore nature!


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