Learning through outdoor crafting

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Summer is on its way and it’s a great time to get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine and take the opportunity to do some al fresco crafting that’s also educational. Here are a few ideas to get this summer off to a crafty start…

Outdoor crafting ideas

Clay prints

All this idea requires is oven-bake crafting clay and some bits of foliage. Start by going out on a walk and collecting a bag of leaves, twigs, feathers – whatever bits and bobs you come across that catch your eye. Then take them home, and form balls of clay and flatten them into smooth tablet shapes. Carefully take a piece of foliage and press it firmly into the clay, smoothing it from edge to edge to make sure the details are captured. Then gently peel it away to reveal the imprint in the clay. Once cooked, have fun making a game out of it and asking children to identify the species of plant or other matter on each tablet. You can also paint/decorate them.

Cyanotype prints

Crafting

Cyanotype print by Wayne Foskett

This simple and historic method of printing images is a very easy crafting activity and a lot of fun. Go for a walk and collect any interesting things you find; eye-catching shapes are perfectly suited to this kind of art. Place your greenery on top of special cyanotype paper (widely available). If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can do a coating of cyanotype chemical mix on normal paper/card instead of using cyanotype paper.

Then place a plate of glass carefully over the top of them – the front of a cheap clip frame will do just fine – and leave them in full sun exposure for around twenty minutes. When you take the leaves away, you will be left with fabulous sun prints. This is a good way of demonstrating the power of light and chemical reactions.

Bird feeder

Crafting

This idea allows children to develop an interest in the wildlife around them, and observe their behaviour. You can adapt these basic instructions to make more advanced creations.

The easiest method is to take an empty plastic bottle and two wooden spoons; skewer the bottle and then pass the handles of the spoons through one side of the bottle and out the other. The handles provide perches for the birds whilst the bowls of the spoons collect the seeds for them to eat (the holes where the spoons are inserted allow the seeds to spill out). Paint or decorate the holder before filling it with seeds and nuts and hang it in a tree. Get the children to make a note of the different kinds of birds they attract with their feeder.

Dream catcher

Fun to make, great for decorating indoors or out, and a good way of honing fine motor skills. Find some slender and flexible sticks and wrap them into a basic circle shape, tying the ends in place. Then weave the thread to make the net formation. There are many tutorials online, but here’s a simple pattern to follow:

Outdoor crafting

Then decorate the finished product with leaves and feathers that you collect outside. Children can then experiment with lots of different colours and designs.

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By Charlotte Baldwin, Operations Manager at IQ Cards:

IQ Cards are a fundraising company that provide schools and establishments with the necessary tools to fundraise via selling high-quality and unique gifts designed by pupils. They are an approved supplier for Parentkind. For more information please visit: http://www.iqcards.co.uk/

More posts on activities:

Summer Activities for the Kids Rainy Day Activities * Potato Printing with ChildrenCheap Ways to Keep Kids Entertained Marbling 

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About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on TalkMum and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.

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