Nature is rich with beautiful, free art supplies. From twigs, to rocks, to acorn shells, it is fun for kids to collect and create. My children and I gathered supplies in an old coffee canister during our last nature walk with the intention of creating whimsical Bark Owls.
If you’ve been a reader of Fireflies and Mud Pies for a while, you know one of my passions is getting kids outside to play. Outdoor play positively influences a child’s health by improving their mood and physical fitness, developing their immune system, and enhancing their creativity, leadership skills, and imagination. Additionally, children who spend time outdoors are more likely to become environmental stewards, demonstrating a higher level of respect and appreciation for their environment and the people, creatures, and plants that live within it.
Time outdoors needn’t be intense. Much of our outdoor play revolves around playgrounds, leisurely nature walks, sand play, and crafting. Our latest nature craft, DIY Stamped Nature Shirts, taught my oldest son how to identify several common trees while getting his hands messy in the art process.
Today while running various errands with the boys, we saw school supplies, autumn wreaths, and Halloween decorations on sale. Wait, what? It feels like just yesterday I was declaring summer with Wild Blueberry Lemonade, and now it’s time to buy fleece jackets and backpacks?
Not in this home. There is still time for chasing fireflies, catching frogs, and cooling off with water blaster games. It’s summer in Wisconsin for at least 42 more days, and we are going to enjoy every last bit of it, starting with this drink.
He argued back and panicked when I shared what we were going to do that morning. Fear and self-doubt began to consume him as I searched in the garage for knee and elbow pads. “But what if I can’t? I’m going to fall!” I calmly strapped knee pads to his shaky legs and replied, “You will walk your bike to the school, but you will ride it back home.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I believe in you!”
We strolled to a flat field, and he began to whimper, “I’m going to fall. I’m going to fall.” I crouched down to his level and said, “Yes. You will fall. You will fall once, then twice, and probably a third time. So let’s practice falling first, then we will practice riding.” I held his bike steady as he climbed on and began to pedal. “I’m going to let go now, and you are going to fall.”
He fell to the right and hit the grass. A smile erupted over his face as he began to laugh. “That wasn’t scary! Let’s go again!”
We practiced again, and again. With the fear of falling no longer occupying him, his confidence grew with each length across the field. Within 30 minutes, he was cruising!
Once upon a time, there were two little boys who wished to meet a fairy. Each stroll through the forest was a chance for a magical encounter. Every cracked acorn cap could have once been a delicate fairy bowl. A wisp of silk floating in sun haze might just be a new friend, if only they could catch it. Small hands offered marbles, buttons, and cotton string at the base of rustic fairy homes built thoughtfully between mangled tree roots.
“Are fairies real, Mommy?”
I’ve never said yes, but I’ve never said no. “Do you think they are?”
“Yes. I believe in them.”
And for now, that is just fine with me. Children (and grown-ups!) need a bit of magic in their lives anyway!
Lazy summer afternoons are simply perfect for feeling relaxed around the kitchen table engaged in arts and crafts activities that awaken one’s senses and creativity. The homemade fingerpaint recipe shared below uses 4 common pantry staples, and dries to a beautiful shine. Scented and colored with a classic seasonal drink, it is the quintessential summer play recipe.
Are you following our Arts and Crafts for Kids board on Pinterest?
Yesterday I received the first official “I’m booored!” of summer. (Frankly, I’m surprised it took 2 weeks!) Of course it was from my oldest, who is almost always bored when no one is attending to him. I gave him my old digital camera and sent him outside to photograph the elusive albino squirrel known to breakfast on cracked corn at our bird feeder every morning. My other child can happily entertain himself for hours on end. In fact, not once in his 4-years of life has he ever proclaimed boredom. Isn’t it funny how two children, raised almost identically, can be entirely different?
Well, my aspiring photographer apparently needs to work on his stealth and shutter speed. He came back 5-minutes later and admitted defeat, “The white squirrel is in the tree hiding. I did not get a picture of it.” Then he informed me, once again, that he was bored. I told him that boredom was an “opportunity for adventure” and that I was sure he would think of something to do and if not, he was welcome to fold laundry. He asked for my iPhone. I passed him a basket of socks.
The morning went on and on like this, but eventually, my kiddo found markers and a coloring book and settled quietly in the family room. Later that afternoon while the boys were eating lunch, I slipped out the side door to arrange an art activity on the lawn.