Garden Themed Projects: Using Crafts From The Garden To Teach Kids

Toddler Painting A Wooden Birdhouse
birdhouse painting
(Image credit: Leslie Garner)

As homeschooling becomes the new norm, social media posts of parents doing projects with their kids abound. Arts and crafts make up a large portion of these, and there are abundant activities that can be done to combine arts and crafts with the great outdoors, specifically the garden. All you have to do is get creative!

Arts and Crafts Ideas for Garden Exploration

Can I teach art lessons to kids even if I’m not artistic? Yes! You don't have to be an artist or even very creative yourself to combine art activities with nature. The final project doesn't necessarily have to look like something you can identify, a famous painting, or even similar to another parent or sibling's that’s also participated. The point of these art lessons for kids is to be child created and nature involved.

Arts and crafts from the garden allow children of all ages to participate, each one using their own method of self-expression. Some may build on certain skills, such as hand-eye coordination or recognizing and identifying common things from the garden, but the finished artwork itself should have as little help as possible from the adult.

Garden Themed Projects

Some of the simplest crafts from the garden include painting with different materials, stamping or printing, tracings or rubbings, using recycled materials to build and decorate, handprints, and more! 

Painting with Nature

Children of all ages both enjoy and have fun exploring with paints. Make sure the paint is washable and nontoxic, then let them have fun. One way to do accomplish this is by exploring with different textures and making different designs using garden related objects. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Pinecones
  • Feathers
  • Rocks
  • Twigs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Corn cobs
  • Miniature garden tools

Other ways to enjoy using paints are to create things out of hand or footprints (such as toe tulips, thumbprint bugs, or a handprint sunshine). 

Stamping, Printing, Tracing, and Rubbing

Using paints or an ink/stamp pad, children can make prints of various items and then look closely at the textures and patterns left on the paper. This can include:

  • Apple printing
  • Pepper prints (makes a shamrock shape)
  • Using potato stamps to create ladybugs and other fun stuff
  • Leaves, corn, or other veggies

You can also examine textures on paper by doing rubbings of things such as leaves, grass, and bark. Just place the item under the paper and color over it with a crayon. 

Some children may also enjoy tracing different leaves or flowers found outdoors. Fake plants can be used as well if you don’t have any handy or want the children picking your flowers.

Nature/Garden Collages

This can be done a few different ways. Children can collect items from outdoors or while on a nature walk to include on their collage. They can be provided several items such as different types of seeds or fall related items to create a collage. Or use old magazines to cut out pictures of garden items, flowers, foods you can grow, or make a dream garden collage.

Crafts with Recycled Objects

Old milk jugs can be used to create birdhouses, plastic bottles work well for bird feeders, small jars work for bug catchers (observe and release when you are done), and just about any container can be decorated to use for a potted plant (just be sure to add drainage holes).

Place these crafts outdoors in the garden or landscape area where you can view them being used by nature.

Keepsake Crafts from the Garden

A fun way to save all of the garden inspired keepsakes done by your children is creating an indoor garden. Choose a place inside, maybe a blank wall space, and deem this "the garden." Anytime your child does a nature theme or garden related piece of artwork, it can be placed in the indoor garden to be displayed.

And don’t forget you can also plan for future garden themed projects by growing your own arts and crafts plants and supplies.