Why Craft with Nature?
Like most parents, when my first child was old enough to start doing craft, I went to the craft store and stocked up on pompoms, pipe cleaners and glitter. But somewhere along the way my girls and I started experimenting with natural items in our craft activities—leaves, stones, flowers, bark—and these days I hardly ever visit the craft store at all!
The benefits of crafting with nature are many and varied, and by the end of this post I’m sure you’ll want to try it too.
Why I love crafting with nature
Nature’s Readily Available
I love that if my kids decide they want to make some crafts I don’t have to go anywhere to get it. It’s all there for us, outside! It’s perfect for children who can be impatient to get into their craft as soon as a creative idea arises.
We’ve made so many crafts using so many different natural products. I have an endless list of ideas in my head but if you need inspiration, take a look at the nature crafts on Mother Natured or check out my Nature Craft Pinterest board.
I know parents and teachers that spend a fortune on the best craft items for their kids when most crafts end up in the same place—the bin. Crafting with nature is free (other than some glue and other incidental products you may use with nature) and although nature craft doesn’t always last as long, you can easily document your creation by taking a photo!
Nature Promotes Creativity
Working and crafting with nature can have some disadvantages (leaves don’t always glue onto rocks or sticks don’t always fit quite as perfectly as a paddle pop stick) but I find that this makes us more creative. It builds problem solving skills and I’ve noticed my children manipulating the nature resources in different ways to get the result they desire.
Nature’s Eco Friendly
One of the most important reasons I craft with nature is because it’s much better for the environment to use biodegradable products rather than synthetic craft materials. I’m not perfect but I am trying to reduce the waste we create in our home and considering we are big crafters, this is one area we are cutting down.
Of course, when we are using natural products from the environment, we do need to be mindful of the impact of taking these items from the environment too. You don’t want to spread weeds or destroy the environment by taking too much of something or removing it in a way that will damage the place you took it from.
Nature’s good for Kids
Many believe it is vital, both to the wellbeing of our children and to raising the conservationists of the future, that children interact with nature. There’s been plenty of research supporting this school of thought.
How to get started
The best way to start is by going outside with your children and collecting nature. We use a beautiful basket to collect our nature products. It’s also a great excuse to get the kids out of doors!
Start replacing craft items with nature
I’ve written a whole article dedicated to helping you replace some of the most commonly used craft items with nature products, but here are some of our most popular posts:
- Instead of using glitter (which is ground up plastic) make nature’s glitter instead
- Make nature pom poms using grass
- Make nature weaving frames (like the ones above)
I can’t imagine not using nature in our crafting now. It’s not just great for my kids but it’s great for me too. I love sitting alongside them and touching natural products from nature, it’s relaxing and feels good for the soul.
How do you use nature with your children?
ABOUT PENNY: Penny is the creator of Mother Natured, a site designed to help parents build and strengthen their children’s love of nature and wildlife through simple, fun activities.
A mother to three girls, she also works part time as a wildlife education officer. Penny holds a Bachelor of Applied Science – Wildlife Biology and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Early Years). In what little spare time she has left, Penny loves to read, go camping and be out in nature with her family.
Click to see more from Mother Natured or the Playroom