Earth Day will be here soon, and I always think this is a great reminder to teach our kids to be good stewards of our planet. I hope to set good examples in our daily life, but we all know lessons are best reinforced through crafts and play! So this year we did a bit of both by making DIY nature impressions.
We often will use nature for our crafts in one way or another, which I love. It always provides a good opportunity to talk about taking care of the earth.
For example, lately Lu has been into finding worms as we clean out our flowerbeds. I have to explain to her that it’s better for the worm to be put back in the dirt because they would die if left in an empty flower-pot. The simplest thing ever, but small conversations add up to big thoughts and opinions!
So I love getting outside to use our craft and playtime as an excuse to sneak in some good ol’ learning. Our DIY nature impressions gave us lots of opportunities to talk about different aspects of nature. How to take care it, the animals that live in it, and about a billion other questions. Anyone with a preschooler knows what I mean haha.
How To Make Nature Impressions
The first part of our activity was to find some cool pieces of nature in our backyard. I know there are many who don’t have backyards. So taking a (socially distant) walk in a park, or even adding a bouquet of flowers to your next shopping trip could work fine!
Next, we made some salt dough! You’ve probably made this for other crafts before, but if not– no worries! It’s the easiest thing ever. Just mix 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of water. To make more or less, just keep the ratio to 2:1:1 and it will be great!
Have a little extra flour to put on a rolling pin to prevent sticking, and roll your dough out to about 1/4 inch. Then you or your kids can simply press the different natural materials into the dough and reveal the unique print left behind! Make sure the kids don’t push it so hard that the dough gets holes. Just do it enough to leave a recognizable impression!
Cut around your new nature impressions however you’d like. Usually I use a cookie cutter if I’m able to. Some of our prints were large or an odd shape, so this time I just used a knife and cut around them.
Put the salt dough pieces on a baking pan and in the oven for about 2 hours at 250°F. They should be dry and hard after this. But it won’t do any harm to leave them in a bit longer if they don’t seem done. Then once they’re out and cooled off, you can choose to paint them or leave them plain! We even left some seeds in one- partly because we couldn’t get them all out, but it also looked cool haha.
Nature & Art- What could be better?
You know I love a simple nature craft, and this one is right up there with the best of them. Between going out to get the natural materials, making the dough and prints, and then painting them. This is a great way to spend a day! And once you’re done, the kiddos have a tangible piece of art they can display and be proud of.
For another way to use nature prints as a craft, check out this post on making nature stamp art!
Don’t forget to pin this for later!