Nature Painting – app. 30-45 minutes, longer to dry

My son’s preschool had a giant box of fern leaves a few weeks ago for a wreath making project. They had plenty left over at the end of the week, so I asked if I could bring a few home. We decided to try painting with them to see what would happen. Would we be able to make a fern imprint on the paper? Not super well, as it turned out, but we had a lot of fun trying! And the resulting paintings were still quite cool. I also like this idea of Nature Paintbrushes a lot.

What you need:  

  1. Tempera paint (washable kids paint works too)
  2. Cardstock or construction paper
  3. Leaves (we used fern leaves)

What you do:

  1. Pick your paper and your paint colors (we usually limit to 2 or 3 per project for easier clean-up).
  2. You can either pour some paint into a flat dish and dip the fern leaf into it, or paint directly onto the leaves.
  3. Press down onto the paper and see what happens. Other techniques – brush the leaf across the paper, pat it around, or use it as a brush for splatter painting (this can get messy!).
  4. Repeat until your work is complete.

Making Cards for Hospitalized Kids – as long as you want to spend!

My college roommate was visiting during the fern painting adventure and told me about a great organization that collects cards to send to kids who are in the hospital – a simple idea with big impact. It was created by a 20 year old who used to be a hospitalized kid, so the concept resonated with my 6 year old. (My son was just excited to paint.) Since we were already painting, we turned some of our artwork into cards. Then we got out the stamps, colored pencils, and markers, and went to town.

What you need:

  1. Cardstock
  2. Markers
  3. Crayons, paint, stamps…anything you like, as long as it won’t fall off (which can create health concerns for some kids)

What you do: Fold the cards in half or quarters to make the card size you want, then decorate however you like! For a spring theme, we used fairy stamps, suns and moons, rainbows, birds, and flowers. Write a fun message inside and you’re ready to send it off. Grown-ups might have to do the writing, but kids can choose the right words. The website has good suggestions if you don’t know what you say!

Contributed by Kristen Ramer Liang