Children can press flowers, either with a flower press, or by placing flowers between two layers of newspaper and placing this under a few heavy books. Leave the flower until it has dried out completely.
- Get children to make leaf prints by dipping leaves in paint, or rolling paint over them, and then pressing them onto paper. Or use fabric paint to print material. Use pieces of newsprint to press the leaf down onto the surface, to avoid getting paint all over hands. Get children to try making a variety of prints, using things such as flowers and feathers.
- Children can collect dry leaves and use them to make a collage or picture.
- Dried, or fresh, leaves can also be used for leaf rubbings. If children use a light colour, they could keep the paper for unique writing or wrapping paper. Bark rubbings can be used for adding texture to pictures.
- Using air-drying clay, or plaster of Paris, to make leaf moulds. Children can either use the leaf to make an imprint (cover the leaf with a layer of petroleum jelly to prevent sticking), or use dried leaves or pressed flowers and set them into the mould.
- Children can paint stones to resemble animals and insects, or paint them with fun colours and designs.
- Pebbles can also be used to create an outdoor board game, played on tiles outside. Get children to paint noughts and crosses on pebbles for a game of tic-tac-toe. Add letters to pebbles for an outdoor scrabble game, or use dots, shapes or colours on stones for dominoes.
- Children can turn pinecones into creatures. They can cut out cardboard feet and stick these to the base of the pinecone to hold it upright. Then they can stick on cardboard eyes, make stick arms, and add an acorn hat. For a sparkly creature, dip the pinecone in a little wood glue and sprinkle on glitter. Or add feathers for a bird.
- Children can also make creatures from seed pods, sticks and leaves.
- If you’re at the beach, ask children to collect any shells they can find with little holes in them. Then string them together to create necklaces or bracelets.
- Bigger sea shells can be used to create a seaside mobile. Make a cross from two pieces of driftwood, and attach strings of seashells to the ends. Children can also do this with leaves, flowers or feathers.
Sticks and twigs
Children can use small twigs to create a border around a photo frame, or glued together around a glass vase for a candle holder.