8 Nature-Inspired Crafts for Earth Day
As we approach Earth Day 2020, I’m reminded of some of the social distancing “silver linings” I’ve seen shared on the internet. Dolphins reappearing in Venetian canals, increased visibility of the Himalayas in India, etc. While some of these reports are exaggerated, I understand the appeal of wanting to find hope in the midst of this crisis. I hope that the Coronavirus catastrophe does have some of these positive impacts and that it’s not all just wishful thinking.
A Word on Local Produce
One such silver lining may be that, more than ever, people are looking to support local. Not just local storefronts, but local farmers as well. Our family ordered eggs, milk and meat from Prairie Creek Farms for the first time. It was delivered to our door for free just a couple days after ordering, and so delicious! Another option is to subscribe to LocalFarmOK. They have a couple of subscription bags that can be delivered weekly or bi-weekly for as little as $19.99 a week. Beyond the subscription bags, you can order additional items as well. And the Tulsa Farmers Market has a vendor list, complete with contact and ordering information, if you’re missing your local farmers market.
But this article is about Earth Day Crafts, so without further ado, here are some fun, stay-at-home activities to do with your kids this Earth Day.
1. Yarn-Wrapped Sticks
My son’s school is decorated in natural art that the kids have made. So we tried some at home! Hunt for an interesting stick (not too skinny), then wrap it in yarn. Try to keep the yarn wrapped tightly, with few gaps showing. Don’t forget to knot it on the ends!
It’s beautiful as-is, but if you have some beads lying around, you can tie additional strands of yarn to the branch, hanging down. Thread beads on these strands, and knot at the bottom. Use one more piece of thread to make a hanger so you can hang your artwork on the wall, from the ceiling, etc.
2. Beaded Stick Arrangement
A variation on the turn-sticks-into-art theme is to get skinny sticks and place the beads directly onto them. Put the sticks in a vase, and you’ve got a beautiful arrangement that will never go bad! Straighter sticks may work best–if they are too curved at the ends, the beads might fall off! And if you have a variety of beads, that will add to the interest of the piece. Feel free to paint the sticks before beading, and consider painting a recycled glass bottle for the vase as well!
3. Nature Portraits
Start by gathering natural materials outside. Leaves, flowers, rocks, grass, etc. Next, arrange them to create a face, animal, or whatever your imagination comes up with!
4. Flower Paintbrushes
If you’re like us, your kids have been doing a lot of painting lately. So switch it up by hunting for some natural materials you can use as paintbrushes! What textures or patterns do you get by using different types of flowers?
Here is a recipe for taste-safe paint you can make at home using just dry milk powder, water and food colors.
5. Pinecone Bird Feeders
Coat a pinecone in crisco or peanut butter, then roll it in birdseed. Tie a piece of yarn to the top, and hang it in your yard!
6. Maple Seed Dragon Flies
If you take a walk around the neighborhood, no doubt you’ll see an abundance of maple seed “helicopters.” Gather a few, as well as some small, straight twigs. Glue the maple leafs onto the twigs and decorate with paint, glitter, etc. Now you have a dragonfly!
7. Plaster of Paris Nature Imprints
One thing we learned while doing this craft was to make sure you let your Plaster of Paris set slightly before adding your natural elements. Otherwise, they just sink to the bottom, leaving holes when removed.
8. Rock Painting
Stock photo. No way mine would look this polished!
Gather rocks, and use acrylic paints to create your preferred design. Think about the shape of the rock: What does it remind you of? How can your painting reflect that? Use a spray-on sealer if you want to protect your paintings afterwards.
When you’re done painting, leave your rocks around your neighborhood so people can find a fun surprise!
In addition to these crafts, some other Earth Day-inspired activities include: Do our Neighborhood Naturalist Scavenger Hunt. You can also create your own Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. For example, see if you can find every color of the rainbow!
You can also plant a seed and track its progress over the coming weeks! Joss’s class at school is enjoying watching the growth of their two tomato plants, Elizabeth the Bolting Seedling and Twinkles. It’s been amazing to watch how quickly the plants sprout and grow–over an inch per day sometimes! They started out inside and have now moved outside to a larger pot. This has provided lots of discussion prompts for the class as well. For example, what do seeds need to grow? Why might they need to move to a bigger pot? Etc. And you can always paint a fun design on their pot as well!
Another Earth Day activity that’s on my radar is this Picnic in Place event hosted by Myriad Botanical Gardens and the Oklahoma Nature Conservatory. Hopefully we will have a beautiful Earth Day, making it the perfect day to plan an outdoor picnic. Eat in your back yard, or consider bringing a blanket and basket to a park (keeping in mind safe social distancing, of course!!).
How are you celebrating Earth Day this year? Let me know in the comments!