I am so excited to share this kid & toddler craft project with you guys! Here are few reasons why:
- It involves exploring and foraging in nature
- It allows kids to be creative and learn how different textures and qualities in objects affect the look of their art
- It keeps a group of 12 kids (even toddlers) entertained for 45+ minutes
- AND… this activity was also part of our amazing Camping Birthday Party, that I loved with every beat of my heart and can’t wait to tell you about! (As soon as I can find time to weed through the 1,000 pictures we took there — uggghh, so many! — I will be sure to share more fun details about the party with you!)
How-To Make the Paint Brushes:
This project is very simple (and fun) to pull off! You’ll need:
- Some dry/crunchy/hard items in nature that you can use as paint brush heads (like seed pods, feathers, tiny pine cones, etc). If you are going to be using your paintbrushes right away, then softer items like flowers will work too. If you are making the brushes several days ahead of time like we were, though, then find things that won’t wilt of fall apart by the time you use them is key.
- Sticks (about the size of a pencil) to use as paintbrush handles. You’ll need as many sticks as nature items, or alternatively half as many sticks, and you could attach a head to either end of the stick.
- Tiny elastic bands to attach your nature items to the sticks. We found ours in the hair section at the 99 cent store.
After collecting your goods, simply assemble them by looping the hair elastic over the stick and brush head as many times as possible for a tight hold. That’s it. Really. A couple of the items did not have a tail or hook long enough to connect using the elastic, so on those brushes we used hot glue to attach the head. (Need an inexpensive low-temp glue gun? I LOVE this one and use it for so many projects, but note, it only cost about $5 at my local craft store!)
The Painting Set Up
My two best pieces of advice for setting up your painting station are:
- Do it outside!!!
- Use a roll of paper (like this one) or a huge piece of newsprint, matte wrapping paper, etc to run across the entire table. Allow all of the kids to paint on that one piece, rather than giving them individual sheets of paper. It is SO much less messy than kids picking up or flipping their papers over, and avoids some of the bickering and conflict over someone accidentally painting on someone else’s paper.
We also scattered the brushes and paint across the table to encourage the kids to try all different brushes and colors. We used these recyclable paper boats for the paint (and also used them for all of our food at the party).
Check out the hand prints and the pink hand being wiped down above. Yep, that’s one of my daughters! Somehow she was the only one to try that out.
Hope you guys enjoy this activity and craft as much as we did! I would like to credit this pin for inspiring us! Though I have yet to click through and read the post behind it, that one pinned image alone lead to this amazing toddler activity and was one of the highlights of our Camping Birthday Party!