Nature's Paintbrush - Oneonta World of Learning

Enriching Life

Through Play

Tuesday, 14 September 2010 02:02

Nature's Paintbrush

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Description:  This painting activity trades the traditional paintbrush for things found in nature.

Age Range: 2 years - teens
Materials Needed: Paper, paint, things found in nature (pinecones, pebbles, pine branches, etc.)
Time: less than one hour, or it can be stretched into a lesson over several days

Begin this activity with a nature walk.  Your walk can be as simple as spending a few minutes in your backyard or you might take a longer walk around your neighborhood.  If you want to expand this project into a lesson over several days, you might want to plan a destination for your nature walk and pack a picnic.  

On your walk, look for things that you could use for a paintbrush.  This could include pine branches, pinecones, pebbles, seeds and seedpods, nutshells, grasses, and leaves.  If you are taking your walk on public lands, please make sure that you don’t disturb any protected species.  Don’t forget to take along a container for your treasures.

Now it is time to set up your painting area.  Protect your work area with newspaper, plastic tablecloths or old sheets.  Smocks and old paint clothes are recommended especially for younger children.  Plastic lids like those found on raisin, yogurt and sour cream containers make great paint palettes.

Dip your "paintbrushes" into the paint and start creating.  Experiment with different techniques.  Some of the "paintbrushes" lend themselves to making brushstrokes while others lend themselves to stamping.  You might try substituting a stamp pad for the paint.

Younger children will be done at this point.  For older children, once they have experimented with "paintbrushes," they may wish to create a representational picture using a variety of tools.  Expand the activity even farther by experimenting with making your own natural paints (

Julia thought her picture looked like animal tracks.

The "Rolling Pebble" Technique*

For this technique you will need several pebbles that are quite round and a shallow box.  

Place a sheet of paper in the bottom of the box.  Put three or four dime sized drops of paint on the paper.  Place a pebble in each drop of paint.   



Pick up the box and tip it from side to side.  The pebbles will roll through the paint and leave a trail as they move across the paper.
 The finished product:   

* Note:  The rolling pebble technique is a good choice for children with developmental delays.  It requires little technical skill and due to the abstract nature of the project, the result is successful every time.

Read 5555 times Last modified on Monday, 04 April 2016 09:33
More in this category: Oil Spill Educational Activities »
Login to post comments