Art & Nature Connection
Brenda Nickolaus 561-262-2727
Creating art classes with Big Life Lessons—for Kids & Their Grown-Ups
Nature in Your Art Basket
I am Brenda Nickolaus from Art & Nature and today I’m here to give you some ideas and inspiration for encouraging the little artists in our lives. By Exploring nature creatively, it helps develop a child’s since of joy and wonder about the world around them.
I love including natural objects in my craft box. It not only expands the creative experience but opens so many learning opportunities with your little ones.
Humans have been creating and learning with natural objects for 1000′s of years. The planet is abundant with natural supplies – some are commonly found throughout the world, others unique to one specific area.
When out collecting natural materials from your area, always remind your child how delicate the earth’s ecosystem is, and that you will only be collecting a limited amount, so that other creatures also have what they need.

What kind of supplies should you collect?
Here are a few off my suggestions:
Different colors and shapes of leaves * Shells *pine cones * acorns * empty nut shells * fallen bark * moss * skeleton leaves * seed heads * different types of rocks * driftwood * flowers for pressing * abandoned egg shells * feathers…just to name a few…
And remember to continue to explore nature throughout the seasons to observe the changes that have occurred and to discover new supplies that are found only during specific seasons. Living in south Florida it takes a good eye to observe the subtle changes in our seasons, but we do have them. Collecting fallen acorn caps and smaller pine cones and little acorn caps are a few nature finds we look forward to every Autumn!

While out searching for your new supplies, ask your child simple questions to start a conversation. As you pick up each leaf, seedpod or shell remark on what the piece reminds you of. For example, a piece of driftwood may resemble the body of a duck, or a pine cone the body of an owl. This invokes the creative mind to see objects beyond simply what they are.
Or you may comment on how a certain shell reminds you of a storybook that you have read with your child or an interesting fact that you learned on a field trip together. Having the child recall the information about the book or experience stimulates the analytical mind and sparks curiosity.
Remember to keep in mind your child’s personality and keep it fun! My son is very analytical he likes to line everything up by size, color…etc.-Where my daughter is more the playful throw it all together and see what happens.

To stimulate the analytical mind, use the collected materials as learning aids:
• Sizes big to little
• Matching colors
• pebbles or shells for counters in Math
• create your own Nature table
• Test magnetic principles, buoyancy (does is sink or float?), or electricity (does it conduct electricity?)
• Botany (species of trees and plants)
• Life cycles (plant the seedpod to see what grows!)
• early man (how they created tools/art materials from stones and branches or used berry juice and bark for writing)
• birds (empty egg shells, bones, feathers)
• paint letters or words on small stones for spelling and sentence structure
• look at the items under a microscope
What types of natural materials are available to craft and learn within your corner of the world? I’d love to hear and see some of your crafting ideas. Please share