This scratch art activity is a fabulous way for kids to get creative and a little bit messy with mother nature. This painting project can be done indoors or out, as long as you’ve already collected your supplies. But if your kids are like mine, it will be outside all the way!
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Scratch Art Nature Painting for Kids
- white craft paper
- non-toxic craft paints, in a variety of colors (we used these)
- paint brushes
- a variety of nature items
How to Assemble the Activity
Gather white paper in a variety of sizes to ensure your child has several options to choose from. Assemble all of your paints, paint brushes and paper in a paint-friendly location, so it will be ready for you when you are finished the next step. If you don’t have a paint friendly location, you can always create one really cheaply with a reusable drop cloth.
After setting up the painting area, you and your kids get to enjoy a calming nature walk to collect scratching items. Talk about the texture of different items as you gather them, and make guesses about which types of patterns they might make on the paper. Once you have a nice variety of items, return to the painting area to being your project.
Ways to Create
Use the paint brushes to to spread a thick layer of paint over the white paper. The kids are free to use as many colors as they choose and to cover the paper as much or as little as they like.
After there is a thick layer of paint, then it gets really fun. Have your kids scratch patterns into the paint using a variety of the collected nature items. Try to use light strokes to avoid ripping the paper. Talk with the kids throughout the process about the different textures and patterns they are creating on the paper. Also make a note of any colors that are mixing to create new and fabulous shades. If your kids have never read “They All Saw a Cat” I highly recommend it as a companion book to this activity. It is a picture book that explores color, texture, and artistic patterns, using a narrative story.
How to Adapt
Extra Active Kids – Take this activity to the next level by making a large scale painting outdoors, using a shower curtain as your canvas. This will allows kids more freedom to move.
Low or Tight Muscle Tone – Find nature items in varying thicknesses to accommodate differing grasps.
Special Positioning Needs – Try using a slant board or vertical work surface to make reaching the paper easier.
Kids Who Are Unable to Use Paint – If your kids have special sensory or behavioral concerns that makes paint off limits, allow them to use the nature items to scratch designs into clay, a rice bin, or a salt bin instead.
More Amazing Nature Art Activities
Painting with Nature, Kids Classroom
Spray Bottle Nature Art, Mom Explores The Smokies
Mirror Leaf Drawings, The Imagination Tree
Silly Leaf Monsters, Mom Explores The Smokies
Nature Stampers, Danya Banya