Little Treasures (Part 1)
Does your little one love to collect treasures to bring home? My 3 year old is very fond of finding sticks, leaves, rocks and feathers when we’re out and about, and I know she’s not the only one. Most children enjoy gathering these little tokens of the natural world and often have an eye for finding the most beautiful things hidden amongst the dirt. It can also be wonderfully eye-opening to witness their appreciation for the plainer things which adults may not take time to notice or see as ‘special’… A tiny brown leaf, a squashed flower. To children, the ordinary is magical!!
Here are three great activities which you can use to incorporate the magical treasures that your little one brings home…
Play-dough. Forget the rolling pins and shape cutters - sticks, gumnuts, flowers, and stones all make wonderful additions to play-dough. The perfect size for little hands, these natural alternatives to the traditional play-dough tools are free, fun and fascinating. Keep it natural (don’t add any colouring) and watch the colours seep from flowers as they get crushed, then explore the different patterns leaves make when pressed into the dough.
Painting. Using whatever paints you have on hand (or check out some DIY options here), set up a painting area on the table, ground or easel. Instead of reaching for the brushes, why not use whatever natural resources you can find. Gumnuts and seedpods are perfect for stamping, while leaves and feathers make a great alternative to brushes and sponges
Pasting. Another great way to use and display the natural bits and bobs you’ve found outside is to use them for pasting. All you need is some thick paper or card and glue, and you’re ready to begin creating your very own nature collage! This activity works particularly well with lighter things like shells, feathers, leaves and flowers as they will stick to the paper quite easily. Once your masterpiece is dry, you can hang it up to display, frame it or even turn it into a card for someone special!
Mud kitchen. Gumnuts, seed pods, and stones make a great addition to any mud kitchen. You don’t need a fancy set up or special equipment - just grab some old pots and pans, bowls and spoons (or head to your local op shop to find a bargain if you don’t have these things at home!!). Add some dirt or mud and whatever natural bits and pieces your child has been collecting and you’ll have hours of open ended outside fun!
Keep an eye out for my next blog for some creative ways to display your child’s ever growing natural treasure collection. In the mean time, enjoy collecting and creating!!