The Educational Advantages of Crafting With Nature

Today we have a very special guest blogger joining us at Teacher Types, she's a fellow member of the Aussie Kid Blogger Network, is passionate about nature, and has just released an ebook of Nature Art & Craft Printables. Meet Penny from Mother Natured! She's going to talk about just some of the benefits of nature play and using materials from our world for art and craft activities!

Welcome Penny!

I’ve been a fan of nature craft for a long time. There’s something about the beauty of creations made from natural materials that’s unlike anything else. But since becoming an educator and a mother, I’ve become aware of a long list of benefits of nature craft that extend far beyond the unique beauty of each piece.

To get many of these benefits, though, you need to make sure you include your child in that first vital step of collecting the natural materials before the crafting even begins. Dress for the weather so you’ll all be comfortable during your little expedition, then head out into your backyard or local park and start collecting leaves, flowers, bark and whatever other natural treasures you can find!

So, what could possibly be happening during such a simple exercise that could be so advantageous to a child’s development?

Gross motor skills

The simple process of stepping over sticks and ducking under branches in search of potential craft materials gives them the opportunity to practice their gross motor skills. It teaches them so much more about how their body works and how the world is put together than a flat pavement ever could.

Healthy risk-taking

As a parent, this can be a daunting concept to wrap your head around! But the reality is that our kids need to take small, healthy risks so they can learn from the consequences. If they fall off a log and scrape their knee, chances are they’ll be more careful next time. Playing in nature is one of the best ways for them to practice this, so try to avoid over-using the words ‘be careful!’ and let them find their limits on their own.

Learning about ecology, weather and the seasons

Not only will your child be making discoveries about the plants they’re collecting, they’ll be learning about other things as well—the variety of bugs in your neighbourhood, the construction of spider webs, the way trees behave on a windy day. Plus, as the seasons change you can point out the ways in which the landscape around you is changing and how the days are getting shorter or longer. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you have a lot of knowledge to share with your child on these topics. Simply being a fellow explorer is enough.

Burning off steam

All this nature play helps to burn off some of that excess energy that children have in droves, so that they’re better able to sit down and concentrate afterwards.

Once you get back inside and start crafting, there’s a whole bunch of other benefits that come into effect, like fine motor skills, the opportunity to use their imagination, and even to practice problem-solving skills as they figure out how to work the natural variations of nature into their craft.

To help you and your child get started on your nature crafting journey, I’d like to share an activity with you for free from my ebook Nature Arts and Crafts. This one is called ‘Nature Dress Ups’ and it’s a really good example of how versatile the activities in my ebook are. Just print off the printable and get started creating costumes for these little characters. Not only can the activity be completed with whatever natural items you have access to, it can be done over and over again, resulting in a completely different creation each time!  

Click to download FREE printable

If you like the look of this activity then you'll probably enjoy the rest of the ebook, too. It’s suitable for both parents and educators, regardless of how familiar you are with nature play and crafting with nature. With over 30 activities, step-by-step instructions and corresponding printables, it’s packed full of value. From weaving to mosaics to pattern recognition, from the prescriptive to the open-ended, whether you have 20 minutes to spare or a whole afternoon, there's something for everyone.

*Early bird special ends Wednesday 7th June.
*Affiliate link

Click to get your copy!

But no matter how you do it, my challenge to you is to find a way to bring the outdoors into your child’s education. You won't be disappointed!

Penny Whitehouse is the driving force behind A mother of three, with tertiary qualifications in wildlife biology and early years education and 12 years' experience as an environmental education officer, she is a perfect storm of the passion, knowledge and skills required to get younger generations connecting with the natural world.

You can also find Penny on Facebook and Instagram

Thanks so much for being here today Penny! We love your beautiful nature crafts. xx


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