Your students are going to have an absolute blast painting with nature! It’s one of my favorite fall activities for preschoolers. Start by going on a nature hike to gather some materials, like pine cones, sticks, or leaves. Then put those materials to use as natural paintbrushes. Using familiar materials in a novel way can be so much fun for kids (and adults)!
While waiting at the bus stop for Engineer, the other kiddos usually have fun running around outside. They also enjoy playing in the gazebo that’s by the bus stop, and they always enjoy checking out the trees nearby. Recently, they’ve taken to collecting pine cones, acorns, and sticks to incorporate into their play. We’ve pretended to be forest animals hunting for acorns, the sticks have been turned into swords and walking sticks, and we’ve even brought some items onto our porch as part of a sensory activity.
Well, this time Girly Girl suggested we paint with what we could find while waiting for Engineer’s bus. So Girly Girl, Captain America, and Little Hurricane set about collecting acorns, sticks, and branches with pine needles still attached. I focused on finding a few acorns as well, just because I didn’t want to be left out. 😉 When Engineer got off the bus, he didn’t even bat an eye that my arms were full of all these materials. He’s used to this by now!
After a snack and some down time, the kiddos wanted to try painting with the items we collected. Girly Girl and Engineer were the most interested in it, as was Snoopy when he came by later.
Materials for Painting with Nature
Since we already gathered lots of items for this project on our nature walk, we only needed a few more things to pull this project off. Here’s the full list of things we used along with some other material ideas (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Pine cones
- Construction paper
- Sparkley red paint
- Sparkley green paint
- Sparkley blue paint
- Assorted tempera paints
- Paper plates
- Assorted paint brushes
Engineer and Girly Girl started out by dipping items in the paint, then making prints on white paper. They tried this with the acorns, the pine cones, the sticks, and the pine needles.
After making prints with the various materials, they decided on another tactic — just painting what we’d collected. They really got into painting the pine cones and the acorns! Engineer was especially focused on the best way to get the acorns decorated the way he wanted. Snoopy joined in as well, once he’d arrived.
From there, Engineer decided he wanted to create a 3-D work of art. He used the paper he’d already painted on as a base, then added the painted items on top of that. He used some extra paint to act as a glue, and he made sure I knew he wanted the acorns, sticks, and pine cones to stay stuck on the paper. It cracked me up that he explained his artistic vision to me — he must be so used to me saying “tell me about what you made”!
What are some non-traditional items your children have painted with recently?
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week while balancing other teaching responsibilities and a personal life can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time!
Preschool Teacher 101 has created some amazing preschool lesson and activity plans that will be perfect for your classroom. Click on the images below to learn more about some of our great nature themed resources!
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