10 nature crafts and activities to try indoors

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Bring the outdoors in with these 10 fun nature crafts and activities to try indoors. Young learners can take inspiration from outdoor environments and use natural materials to create works of art. From wind chimes and journey sticks to leaf rubbings and bird nests, there is something for everyone to keep kids busy and entertained indoors.

 “Art is a harmony parallel with nature” – Paul Cezanne, French Artist

1. Bird cake

(Image: http://thelittleactivitychest.com)

You’ll need:

  • Bird seed
  • Cheese
  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Lard/suet
  • Yogurt pots
  • String
  • Mixing bowl
  • Scissors

Do this activity:

Firstly, mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then, lay out the block of lard or suet and leave it out until it is at room temperature. Chop the lard or suet into small pieces and mix in with the dry ingredients using your hands. The ideal ratio for this mixture is one part fat to two parts bird mixture. Pierce a hole in the bottom of your yoghurt pot and thread through a piece of string, tying a knot on the inside (make sure there is enough string available to hang your bird cake to a tree). Holding the string in place, fill the yogurt pot with the cake mixture and leave to set in the fridge. When set, cut the yoghurt pot away and you will be left with a tasty treat to hang up for your garden birds!

Once you’ve done this fun nature craft, learn about how to be a birdwatcher. We have lots of hints and tips on how you can become a citizen scientist and learn about our feathered friends.

2. Wind Chimes

(Image: www.woohome.com)

You’ll need:

  • A collection of sticks (1 long and 4 short)
  • String
  • Paint
  • Small screw eyes

Do this activity

Start by removing the bark from each stick and then painting them with different colours for a fun rainbow effect! For an extra shiny finish, use a clear varnish when the paint is dry. Place a hook eye screw in the top of each small stick (this part will need adult assistance) and then screw them in until they are tight and secure. Fasten one end of a piece of string to the hook eye screw and the other to the long horizontal stick. Repeat this for each short stick. Make sure the string is long enough to allow the sticks to sway in the breeze and they are spaced so they are able to knock together. When all of the sticks are fastened on, tie an additional piece of string to the horizontal branch to hang from your favourite place in the garden!

3. Pine Cone Hedgehogs

(Image: ikeadesign.com)

You’ll need:

  • A selection of pine cones
  • A packet of googly eyes
  • Felt
  • Pom poms
  • Glue

Do this activity

This is a fun activity to transform pine cones into prickly friends! Start by cutting some triangular shapes out of felt, making sure that they are big enough to cover the narrow end of the pine cone. Stick a small pom pom on to one corner of the felt for the nose and two googly eyes. Once the glue is dry, attach the piece of felt to the narrow end of the pine cone using glue. For extra customisation you can paint the pine cones too!

4) Journey Sticks

 (Image: nigelwalking.blogspot.com)

You’ll need:

  • A chunky stick approximately 30cm in length
  • Coloured string
  • Nature items collected from an outdoor adventure

Do this activity

A journey stick is a great way to remember a fun outdoor adventure! When out on a nature walk collect natural items with your child making sure to ask questions about what it is and where it came from. When you get home lay out everything you have collected. Provide your child with the journey stick and some coloured string and ask them if they can remember what order they found the items in. Fasten each item to the stick for a colourful work of natural art! To extend the activity use the journey stick as inspiration for a story.

5) Leaf Rubbings

(Image: examiner.com)

You’ll need:

  • A collection of leaves
  • Coloured crayons
  • White paper

Do this activity

Make sure that you have a good selection of dry leaves that haven’t been damaged. Lay them out on a sheet of white paper with the veins facing upwards and then place another sheet of paper over the top. To stop the leaves from moving you can tape the paper to your work surface. Rub a crayon gently over each leaf, making sure to tilt the crayon at a 45 degree angle.  The finishing artwork will be a colourful collection of detailed leaves that you can display indoors!

6) Natural Paint Brushes

(Image: www.messylittlemonster.com)

You’ll need:

  • A collection of thin sticks approximately 15cm long
  • Different items from nature such as small flowers, blades of grass and leaves
  • Elastic bands
  • Poster paint
  • Large sheet of paper

Do this activity:

Give your paintbrushes a fun twist with all natural components! Collect lots of interesting things from nature and explore their different shapes and textures with paint! Start by laying out everything you have found and selecting your favourite pieces. Attach each item to the end of a stick using an elastic band. Let their imaginations run wild by dipping each brush into poster paint and creating a colourful masterpiece on a large sheet of paper!

7) Fairy Wands

(Image: www.craftster.org)

You’ll need:

  • A collection of wand-shaped sticks
  • Sand paper
  • Arts and crafts materials such as beads and buttons
  • String and scrap materials
  • Glue

Do this activity:

Choose the stick you would like to use for your wand and remove any loose bark. Sand it down so that it is smooth. To create a fun and artistic handle, glue some scraps of material to the base of the wand. Then, thread some beads and buttons onto a long piece of string, making sure to spread them out evenly. Wrap the string around the wand over the glued-on scraps of fabric and tie a knot at both ends.  Tie on a name-tag for a personalised finishing touch!

8) Nest Building

(Image: nlvbannister.blogspot.co.uk)

You’ll need:

  • Sticks
  • Leaves
  • Moss
  • Feathers
  • Grass
  • String
  • Paper plate
  • Scissors

Do this activity:

Can you make a nest with the same materials that birds use? Go outside and collect some natural items and then lay them out on a table indoors. This activity can be done as a group or individually. Each person is given a paper plate, scissors and a ball of string but the challenge is not to use tape or glue. Can you make a nest that would be up to a bird’s standard? Top points go to nests that are sturdy and use all of the materials.

9) Nature Portraits

(Image: TeachWithMe.com)

You’ll need:

  • A paper plate
  • Natural materials such as leaves, plants and flowers
  • Glue, string and tape

Do this activity

This is a great activity to build self awareness using nature! Lay out a collection of natural materials and ask your child to create a self portrait using them. Ask them questions about their own features to build on speech and language skills throughout the activity.

10) Painting Pebbles

(Image: http://recycledawblog.blogspot.co.uk)

You’ll need:

  • A collection of large pebbles
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Newspaper

Do this activity:

Spread some newspaper over your work surface to protect it and then lay out your collection of pebbles. Use the paint and paintbrushes to create designs such as animals, insects and fruit. You can varnish your design once dry to protect it and make it shiny!

Enjoy more outdoor learning fun with 6 ideas for celebrating Autumn. Download a free printable Nature Scavenger Hunt activity sheet. Plus, find lots of ideas for Outdoor Toys and Activities that will get kids excited about nature.

#LoveLearning #Wildaboutlearning



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