One activity that is always a hit for students in the Teaching Garden is nature collages. We do this in two different ways that are easy to emulate at home with or without any extra materials. The first way we do this is called impermanent art, we give students an area to lay out their art, and they arrange things to their liking. We like this type of art because it doesn’t waste any paper or glue, however sometimes students like to bring their masterpieces home. The second type of collage we do with students is on paper. Each student gets a piece of paper to arrange their design on and glue it to. We always do our art with natural materials! We think this is a great way to connect students to nature and for them to see the beauty in natural objects. In order to do this at home you will need to first take a nature walk!
Take a walk outside and look for natural objects that you find beautiful. Remind students that they should not take any natural materials from people’s personal gardens! They worked really hard to make that garden and it would not be nice to take something someone else is growing. Instead keep your eye out for weeds like dandelions or things growing in places where you know they are not being tended to. Once you have a nice little collection of natural materials you can return home to begin working on your art! If you are unable to get outside, or you are having trouble finding natural materials you can also use bits and pieces of house plants, food or food scraps (as long as they are not too wet, things like carrot tops, avocado shells, dried beans, dried pasta, or anything else you think would work!).
Once you are ready to create your art, it sometimes helps to give students a theme to work with, that way they have some kind of guidance for what type of art to make. This is totally optional as many kids have wild imaginations and don’t need any help! If your child seems to be struggling with what to make here are a few themes that we have used in the teaching garden: making fruits and vegetables, making plants with all the plant parts (roots, stem, leaf, flower, seed, fruit), or making animals. The possibilities are endless! You can even use pencils or crayons to add some details to your art. See what I came up with below!
Once you have finished your nature collage, it can be fun to make a story about your piece of art! My story is about Jack and Jill taking their dog Jello for a walk on a glorious sunny day, they walked all around the neighborhood picking up pieces of beautiful nature to make a collage at home. The end :)
Try this at home and send us your nature art!