Kid Craft: Painting with Nature

Create beautiful works of art using items found outside as paintbrushes

By Julie Dikken, publisher of Macaroni Kid Evergreen and Macaroni Kid Arvada, Colo. July 18, 2021

Summertime is the perfect time to get crafty with the kids. You could just get all the supplies out of the craft closet... or you can try it a new way, by stepping outside to see what samples of nature you can use to create beautiful art! We call this technique "Painting with Nature."

What you need:

  • A bag or basket to collect nature's "paintbrushes"
  • Several clothespins or chip clips
  • Paper for your canvas
  • An assortment of child-safe paints
  • Paper plates or paint pallets
  • Water to thin paint (if necessary)

What to do:

  1. Go outside to search for anything that would be fun to use as a paintbrush. As you search, talk about the patterns the item may make. Ask questions like "If we try this flower, what pattern or texture do you think we will get?" or "How do you think this pinecone would look if we used it as a stamp?" Let creativity take over and give each child the opportunity to gather their own brushes.
  2. Clip a clothespin to each leaf, plant, grass, etc. that was collected. The clothespin will keep the item together and act as a handle.
  3. Prepare paints. The paintbrushes work best if the paint is watered down to the consistency of cream. Stir in a bit of water at a time to get the right consistency. 
  4. Dip your unique paintbrushes into the paint. Try painting lines, squiggles, and swirls. Test it out as a stamp. Use your brushes to create a pattern or a design. Let your creativity run wild!
  5. Repeat with all of your paintbrushes.
  6. Let your creation dry and display!

Julie Dikken is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Evergreen and Macaroni Kid Arvada, Colo.