With spring here and Earth Day around the corner, this is a fun activity for kids.  It gets them exploring outdoors and doing some painting too. Looking for natural materials gets kids thinking about what they can find in nature, and how to use those items in artwork as well.

Materials needed:

  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Natural materials to paint with, such as: twigs, leaves, pine needles, flowers, pine cones, plants, etc. – especially items with interesting shapes and textures.

* Be sure that kids collect these materials while showing respect for nature.  For example, make sure kids know not to rip branches off trees or cause damage to plants – you might want to have them use only dead or dry materials.  If you are at a nature center or natural area, there are likely rules about staying on trails and not collecting or removing any natural materials. You can always do this project at home in your own yard, using materials that would normally go in your yard waste bags.

This is a great time to talk with kids about concepts like leave no trace. However, you can certainly go to a park or your own yard and respectfully enjoy nature. There are plenty of things like some pine needles or weeds that can be used without causing a negative impact.

Nature Crafts for Kids: Painting with Natural Materials


Have your kids explore outdoors for items they might want to paint with (again, respecting their natural surroundings).  Depending on their age, you can direct them towards ideas or have them think about things like texture.  This is a great time to go for a walk and really observe the natural world!

Moccasin Kill Sanctuary Trail

Gather your items and decide which items (or all!) you want to paint with.  If your kids have gathered up large branches or messy items, you may want to do a quick check as far as what is actually usable or needs to be altered to make it usable.

Place paint on a plate or palette so that it is easy enough to dip the materials in.

Get painting!

Nature Crafts for Kids: Painting with Natural Materials

Also consider painting with recycled materials!