Spring has sprung and it’s all about flowers, butterflies and sunshine! Start by taking a family walk, hike, stroll or jaunt to search for inspiration. Fill up your baskets or backpacks with beautiful flowers, twigs, leaves and so forth. Grab your glue sticks, pull out your paint, secure your scissors and let’s have some family craft time!
Here are four fabulously fun nature themed crafts!
- What you need: Masking tape; things from nature.
- What you do: Wrap the piece of tape sticky side out around your child’s wrist to create a bracelet; have him stick things on the tape and voilà! Nature bracelet!
- Did you know? Exposure to a variety of tactile experiences, such as digging in the dirt, picking petals off a daisy and rubbing your hands on tree bark can enhance your child’s hand and finger awareness, attention and fine motor planning. These skills support fine motor development.
Make your own tree
- What you need: Construction paper; glue stick; craft glue; things from nature.
- What you do: On a white piece of construction paper, place a pre-cut tree or draw/ paint one in the space; have your child decorate the tree with the things from nature.
- Did you know? Climbing a tree is more than just a fun childhood adventure. It helps develop so many important skills: motor planning, problem solving, balance, visual perception, strength, coordination. Who knew you had an inanimate personal trainer in your backyard?
Paper plate sun catcher
- What you need: 2 paper plates with the center circle cutout; paint/ paintbrush or finger-paints; sticky back plastic contact paper, packing tape or laminating plastic cut into circles slightly larger than the center circles of your plates; things from nature.
- What you do: Have your child paint the front side of one plate circle and the back side of the other; put things from nature on the sticky side of the plastic and place the other circle on top sticky side down or put through a laminating machine if you’re using this method; glue the clear circle in between the plate circles. Hang with string and let the sun shine through!
- Did you know? Children often spend so much time looking at things in two dimensions (phones, computers, TV, iPads), that they can have weaker oculomotor and visual perceptual skills. Simply taking a walk in the woods and looking at the trees, the trail, the flowers and so forth can have a positive effect on a child’s development of visual processing abilities.
- What you need: Cardboard or a piece of a paper bag, yarn, things from nature.
- What you do: Cut little slits at the ends of your base, weave the yarn over and under, weave the nature items over and under the yarn.
- Did you know? The ability to coordinate both sides of the body is known as bilateral integration. Crafts like weaving and lacing can help a child build a foundation for higher fine motor skills, like shoe tying.
Author’s profile: Lisa Helenius is a practicing occupational therapist with over 25 years of pediatric experience. She currently is a partner at Growing Up Therapy. See https://growinguptherapy.com for more information.
Special Thanks to Tara Blanchard, certified occupational therapy assistant, and her two sons for making all of these awesome craft examples!