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Outdoor Arts and Crafts for the Playground and Beyond!

Most kids love playing outdoors, and doing so can also be good for them in a lot of different ways. Of course, running around outside is great exercise, but the outdoors is also a great place to exercise the mind. Spending time in nature promotes creativity, provokes curiosity, and can help kids to develop critical-thinking skills as they explore. There are plenty of "toys" outside: With a little imagination, a stick can become a sword or a horse, a playground climber can become a house, and a group of trees can become the boundaries of a village. And there's also a lot to inspire art out there. Kids can have fun drawing pictures of the birds they see, painting the sunset, or making art out of materials they find, like leaves and rocks. There's a world of possibilities out there!

Outdoor Art Projects

Making art outdoors gives kids the freedom to do messy art projects without making a mess in the house. There's also plenty of room to spread out, so kids can take on bigger projects that there just isn't room for inside.

  • Outdoor Balloon Splatter Painting: Balloon splatter painting is a fun activity that can get really messy, making it a great type of art to make outdoors.
  • Ice Cube Painting: This activity allows kids to explore textures and interactions between wet and dry materials.
  • Water Gun Painting: Water gun painting is a fun way to paint that will keep kids entertained all day long.
  • Fly Swatter Painting: This is a fun and easy outdoor painting activity for toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Bubble Painting: Blowing bubbles is fun on its own, but kids can also use the bubbles to create beautiful art.
  • Puffy Sidewalk Chalk Paint Recipe: This puffy sidewalk chalk paint recipe only requires a few ingredients and is really easy to make. Once it's ready, kids can spend hours painting sidewalks and driveways with colorful art.
  • How to Tie-Dye: Make a tie-dyed T-shirt that you can wear to the playground.
  • Mud Painting: This hands-on activity is a fun opportunity for kids to explore textures and natural colors.

Nature-Inspired Arts and Crafts

Being outside means you can incorporate natural materials into your art projects. Using leaves, pine cones, and other things found in nature adds a new sensory experience to creating art.

  • Creating a Nature Paint Brush: Make your own nature paint brushes from leaves and sticks. Kids can experiment with different leaves to create different designs.
  • Rock Painting: Kids will love decorating rocks, and the results can make pretty decorative accents for your yard.
  • Make a Jam Jar Garden: Take a little bit of nature with you by making a miniature garden for fairies.
  • Leaf Prints: Leaves have interesting shapes and patterns of veins, and kids can use them to create interesting art prints.
  • Pressed Flower Bookmarks for Kids: Making their own bookmarks out of flowers might also encourage kids to read.
  • Painted Twig Bouquet: Collect twigs and paint them in different colors to create a bouquet that won't wilt. This is a great way to make natural artwork that you can display indoors.
  • Craft a Nature Sailboat: Turn sticks and a leaf into a boat that you can sail on a puddle or pond.
  • Create a Pine Cone Feeder: Pine cones make a great base for a bird feeder that's easy to make, even for very young kids.

Upcycled and Recycled Art and Crafts Projects

Upcycling doesn't always use materials from nature, but it's a good way to protect nature. Kids can turn all sorts of discarded things, like milk cartons and plastic bottles, into upcycled art and craft projects inspired by the outdoors.

  • How to Make a DIY Bird Feeder From Recycled Materials: Your kids will have fun creating these cool-looking bird feeders. It's a fun and easy project that can attract more birds to your backyard.
  • Egg Carton Ant: Transform an old egg carton into a cute ant (or even a whole colony of them!).
  • Milk Carton Birdhouse: Encourage children's creativity and environmental awareness with this recycled milk carton birdhouse.
  • Recycled Plastic Butterfly: Use old plastic water bottles to create these simple and beautiful butterflies.
  • Popsicle Stick Biplane: Kids can create planes from Popsicle sticks and take the opportunity to learn about the Wright Brothers' plane.
  • Easy Paper Tube Animal: When the paper towels are gone, follow along to create your own paper tube animal.
  • Plastic Bottle Flowers: It's fairly simple to turn plastic bottles into pretty flowers.
  • Water Bottle Prints: A bottle can easily become a rolling pin that kids can use to paint fun patterns onto paper.
  • Sun Critters: Kids can make a cardboard sun critter and watch it light up as they hold it up to the sun.

Arts and Crafts for Special Needs

Making art can be great for kids with special needs, as art provides a range of sensory experiences and can develop critical motor skills. Doing art projects can also help with emotional regulation as kids learn to fix mistakes and manage frustration when something doesn't come out exactly like they planned. Having fun with art is accessible to everyone!

Additional Art Websites for Kids

Edited by: Ben Thompson