Unless they’re unusual, most children adore being outside. They may also like picking up things they find while playing at the park or in their own garden. Consider making a nature collage with them; they’re loads of fun and can be a great learning experience.
What do you need for a nature collage? Anything your child can find and pick up is fair game as long as it’s not a live animal, poisonous, or otherwise hazardous to their health. Twigs, neat pebbles or small rocks, pinecones, weeds, leaves, and small flowers are common items children like to pick up.
Let your child know they shouldn’t pull leaves off trees nor chase after wild animals. However, if they find bird feathers, empty nests that have fallen from trees, or chewed-on nut shells, they’re fair game. Don’t forget to bring along a bag so your child has someplace to carry their treasures.
Where can your child find all of these neat items for their collage? Your own garden is a great place to begin. They may also find them at parks, along lakes as long as an adult is walking with them, or walking in their own neighbourhood. Anywhere you can find items in nature is a good place to look. Other benefits of looking for these treasures is that it provides good exercise and gets your child out in the sunshine and fresh air.
Now you may be wondering what to do with all this great ‘stuff.’ Find a sunny spot in your garden such as a picnic table or spread a blanket in the grass. Let them dump the contents of their bag out onto a surface and look carefully at each item. If you have a magnifying glass, so much the better!
Ask them about what each item came from. If they found a leaf, do they know what type of tree it came from? What colour is the flower or feather they found? Does it have a smooth surface or is it rough?
Gather together the items they want to use for their collage, several sheets of heavy duty paper like cardboard or poster board, and some tacky glue. Next help them arrange the items on the paper and then glue them down.
If you have a larger piece of cardboard or poster board, you may want to glue it to the back of their original. This will give you a place to write their name, their age, and the date so they, and you, will remember the day. When everything has dried and there’s no chance it will fall off, don’t forget to display their nature collage where everyone can see it.
Making a nature collage with your child is a great way to get them outside and begin teaching them about the world around them. Your child may love making nature collages so much they ask you to go with them to gather more items so they can make more. Encourage their love of nature and you’ll encourage their love of learning.