Easter Craft – Seed Collage Egg

This seed collage or seed mosaic is a fun craft to do at Easter time.  Find some colourful seeds, and glue them onto thick cardboard which has been cut into an egg shape.  If you’d like to hang them, add a hole and tie some string through.  A simple, but really effective craft, and quite cheap too, for when you’ve got a large group of children.

These works of art can also be composted when it’s time to get rid of them!

Easter-nature-craft-seed-mosaic

Mothers Day Craft – Seed Mosaic Heart

Looking for cheap and easy Mothers Day craft ideas?  A seed mosaic heart is a fun and relaxing activity for all ages!

If you’re working with a large group of kids, first create a heart shaped template.  The kids then trace around the template onto cardboard from old cardboard boxes.  They cut out the heart with scissors, and make a hole at the top with a hole punch.

An assortment of colourful seeds (beans, peas, rice, lentils etc.) can then be glued on with PVA glue to make a pattern.

kids-craft-seed-mosaic-heart-collage

This is a great use for seeds which are past their use-by date, or weevil infected.  Once dry, a piece of string or ribbon can be tied through the hole so the heart can be hung.

This is a fun, inexpensive, nature craft activity for a whole class.  It is also a great way to start a conversation about the diversity of seeds, and can lead to discussion about the need to preserve heirloom seeds.  For more information check out the The Seed Savers Network.

More examples of seed mosaics can be found on page 14 of my book Nature Crafts with Common Plants.

Insect Nature Craft Collage

This collage has been created using an assortment of pressed leaves, sticks and a couple of acorn caps for it’s eyes.  They’ve all been glued onto a black piece of paper which makes the bug really stand out.

wooden-flower-leaf-pressLeaves can be easily pressed in old books, or in a flower press like this, made from two pieces of wood joined with screws and wingnuts.

The leaves are sandwiched between layers of paper and cardboard for a few weeks to dry out before use.

For more inspirational collages, check out the stunning work of Canadian artist Rakou Inoue.

 

Make a cool Dinosaur!

To make this very cool dinosaur, you first have to go on a hunt outside for materials. (This is just as much fun as the making!)

Find a large pinecone to use for the body.

pinecone

And a bunch of Jacaranda pods.  Jacarandas are commonly found in many cities, and their weird, woody pods are great for crafting!

dried-jacaranda-seed-pod

Find a couple of acorns and acorn caps to use as eyes.

acorn-caps

And a stick for the tail.  The legs can be made using acorns, small gumnuts, or small sticks – whatever you can find.

Make your dinosaur

Use a low-melt glue gun to attach the pieces together.  (Don’t touch the hot glue!)  Glue two acorns into their caps and stick them onto a Jacaranda pod head.

Attach the head to the pinecone body, then break some of the Jacaranda pods in half and attach them along the body.  Glue on the stick as a tail and attach four legs.

Take it outside and listen to it ROAR!!!  Maybe it needs you to make it a friend?!

kids-nature-craft-cool-pinecone-dinosaur

(This dinosaur sneaks onto page 2 of my book Nature Crafts with Common Plants)

Drip Sand Castles at the Beach

Drip sand castles are a fabulous beach activity for all ages.  Just dig a hole in the sand until you reach water, then pick up some really wet sand out of the hole using your hand and drip it in a pile to create a castle.  They look like amazing sandy stalagmites!

See how tall you can build one, or make one with lots of towers. I think they have a rather gothic look to them.

Check out some very cool, gravity defying drip castles by clicking here.

drip-sand-castle-beach-nature-play-kidsdrip-sand-castle-kids-beach-play-nature

Twig Christmas Tree Ornament

This little twig Christmas Tree craft is featured in my book, Nature Crafts with Common Plants.  It’s a really simple but fun (& cheap!) craft to do with a class or group of kids, or your own child.  The trunk of the tree is a pop stick and I’ve collected some different sized twigs to use for branches.  While you could use a larger twig as the trunk, the flatness of a pop stick makes it easier to stick the twig branches on.  PVA or any other craft glue works fine.  I’ve added a string so it can be hung up, and I’ve glued on a Crepe Myrtle pod as a star on top.

Nature Craft Christmas Reindeer

Making a Christmas reindeer out of seedpods and sticks is really fun and easy.  This little one has a large gumnut (Eucalypt seedpod) for it’s body, and a sheoak pod for it’s head. Small sticks make perfect legs and antlers, and it’s all glued together with a low-melt glue gun.  Small plastic eyes and a gumnut cap nose, painted red, finishes this little nature craft Rudolf off!

Spooky Halloween Spider

I made this rather spooky Halloween spider using a sheoak pod for the body and gumnuts as eyes.  It’s been glued together using a trusty low-melt glue gun.

I used black pipecleaner legs and fangs made from a hakea seedpod finish him off.  Happy Halloween!

Check out my cool  Halloween Bat made from seedpods too!

Nature crafts as therapy

It was great hearing about research into the effects of nature based therapy, at the Therapeutic Landscapes Conference in Adelaide recently.  There is now clear evidence to support the belief that spending time in the natural world is good for mental health and well being.  Indoor nature crafts are a way of bringing the therapeutic benefits of nature to people who are unable to spend time outside. The meditative and relaxing process of arranging an assortment of seeds and other natural objects into a mandala pattern is wonderful therapy.  The simple act of handling a variety of natural materials gives multiple sensory benefits. Creating a collage on paper using fresh flowers and glue is another easy nature craft enjoyed by people of all ages.

Here are some photos from the crafting workshop I delivered at the conference.  It was a lovely group of participants, and some were very pleasantly surprised at their own creativity!  I didn’t doubt it, encouragement is all that is needed 🙂

nature-mandalas-seeds-seedpods

The natural materials were arranged in a pattern on a circular mat, a photo was taken when complete, then the artwork was disassembled so the materials could be reused.
flower-leaf-nature-collage-beautiful-craft

 

Festival of Children’s Books, Adelaide

Festival of Children’s Books

I’m excited to be part of the inaugural Festival of Children’s Books in Adelaide this October! It will be in the beautiful grounds of historic Carrick Hill. 

I’ll be hosting a nature craft activity, there will be a variety of author talks, and heaps of books for sale from Shakespeares Bookshop.

 

 

Seedpod Critters

Seedpod Critters

This gorgeous echidna was made by a 9 year old boy named Charlie.  It’s body is a beautiful big dried banksia flower.  I met Charlie and lots of other lovely kids and families at my local Australian Plants Society sale in Adelaide over the weekend.  We had loads of native seedpods to choose from, and it was fabulous to see so many children (and some adults!) completely engaged with creating their own unique seedpod critters using their imaginations and a trusty low-melt glue gun! Head outside, collect some bits and pieces and have a go yourself!

Here are some other creations:

kids-nature-craft-spider
Spider
kids-nature-craft-chicken
Chicken
kids-nature-craft-critter
Not sure what this is!

 

 

Wattle Crowns and bracelets

Winter in Australia is brightened by our amazing range of flowering wattles.  Kids (and adults!) just love making wattle crowns and bracelets, and it’s so easy to do.  Just staple a strip of cardboard to make a crown or bracelet, and attach the wattle with sticky tape or staples. A beautiful winter nature craft!

Golden Wattle

The Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha, became the Australian floral emblem in 1988, and wattle appears on the Australian Coat of Arms.

Golden-wattle

 

For more information about wattle click here .

Nature Craft Swan Collage

Nature Craft Swan Collage

This nature craft is super easy, so great for a class of really young kids.  You can make a template of the swan shape for them to draw around, then cut out.

Use a black texta to draw on an eye and colour in the beak.

Glue on leaves for feathers, using whatever leaves you have around. Done!

 Paper plate swan

Beach Mermaid

A sandy beach is the perfect canvas for some fun ephemeral land art.  Use seaweed, shells, pebbles and any other bits and pieces you can find on the ground nearby. Create a mermaid or other sea creature. Take a photograph, then leave the pieces on the ground to be returned to the sea or for someone else to use.

For more inspiration, see the work of Land Artists Richard Shillings and Andy Goldsworthy.

Seedpod Reindeer

Here’s another easy Christmas nature craft which kids love.  Collect some large gumnuts for the body and sheoak pods to make the head for your seedpod reindeer.  Small twigs can be used for the antlers and legs.  Glue them together with a low-melt glue gun to form a little reindeer.  Add plastic eyes and a Coral Gum cap for the nose, which can be painted red to turn it into Rudolph.

Gumnut & Acorn Angel

Here’s a simple angel decoration to get your Christmas creativity started.

I’ve used a large gumnut for the body, with an acorn and cap for the head. Bow tie pasta is the perfect size and shape for wings.

Use a low-melt glue gun to glue it all together, and add a dash of gold paint for some sparkle!  Glue a loop of thread on the back if you’d like to hang it.  Voila!

Gumnut angle pieces

 

Pink Petal Girl

Encourage children to pick some flowers and leaves and arrange them on the ground to create their own unique little character.

Explain that sometimes the most beautiful things aren’t permanent, eg. flowers and sunsets, but if we want to, we can capture them with photographs.

Sometimes called ephemeral art, this style of using natural materials has been used by famous British artist and sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.

Nature Craft Mouse

Oak trees are found in cities around the world, and acorns have been used by crafters in all sorts of ways for centuries.  Young kids love collecting acorns, and nature crafts are a great use for them! Make a nature craft mouse like this or some other little creature.

I’ve used a low melt glue gun to glue on pistachio kernels for the ears and plastic eyes.  Alternatively, you could use acorn caps as the ears, or even small leaves.   Vine tendrils form a perfect tail.  Head outside, collect some acorns and make a whole colony!