10 Easy Ideas for Making Art Outdoors

Today regular contributor Tricia Hogbin of Little Eco Footprints presents 10 fun and easy ways for kids to create art outdoors.

Outdoor art activities for kids

I like art with kids to be spontaneous and not requiring too much in the way of preparation, and I usually find that taking art outdoors fits the bill nicely.

Here are 10 outdoor art ideas that I hope inspire some spontaneous, messy, outdoor creating with your kids….

1. Draw on a trampoline with chalk

Outdoor activities with kids- Create jewellery using twine and found natural materials

2. Create jewellery using twine and found natural materials like feathers, rocks and shells

Outdoor activities with kids - beach sculpture

3. Create a plastic beach litter art sculpture

Outdoor activities with kids - Draw on rocks

4. Draw on rocks

Outdoor activities with kdis - Paint on stump or tree trunks

5. Paint on stumps or tree trunks

Outdoor activities for kids - Draw on leaves

6. Draw on leaves

Creative activities for kids - Paint with feathers

7. Paint with feathers

Creative activities for kids - bark drawing with chalk

8. Draw with chalk on sheets of fallen bark or other natural materials

Outside activities for kids - Draw on bark

9. Draw (or write) on bark carefully collected from a paper bark tree

Outdoor activities with kids - Body painting with washable water colours

10. Enjoy full body painting with washable paint on a big canvas or bed sheet

What is your favourite way to make art outdoors?

For more art making inspiration check out Time to Create: Hands On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children.

Time to Create by Christie Burnett

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  1. I’ve really taken to bringing along some watercolours, brushes, oil pastels and paper with us now most places we go. Jack and Sarah like to lay down on the picnic blanket with their clipboards and paper and just draw and draw. It is so very relaxing for me too to be out in the fresh air watching them create 🙂

  2. I have been subscribed to Childhood 101’s mailings for a bit now, but haven’t commented often. I am bugged by this post, though, and want to respond.
    1. Draw on a trampoline? I need more info. Does the chalk wash off easily? What, exactly is the point?
    2. I don’t believe young children had anything to do with those. Maybe finding the stones?
    3. How about, I dunno, picking UP plastic litter on a beach? Yuck.
    4. A young child did NOT draw that!! The frog’s “quads? upper legs?” are super-symmetrical.
    5. OK,……If you happen to have, you know, uniform, sanded stumps handy.
    6. Yes, a child did those. But… how much prompting??? Do another!! OMG! Do another!
    7. No complaint. Process = paint with feathers; no “product” shown. 🙂
    8. and 9. Maybe “a paper bark tree” is an Australian thing? I don’t know. drawing on bark is a fine exploration, I guess. My feeling is that most people don’t interact with outdoors + kids enough to have that be a naturally occurring available material…. but no big problem with the idea.
    10. 🙂

    1. Lisa Garcia says:

      Wow. Grace. Rude much?

  3. Hi Grace. I’m sorry my suggestions have you ‘bugged’. Regarding drawing on the trampoline (1) the chalk washes off next time it rains. My daughter loves having the huge trampoline as a big canvas – rather than being restricted to a page. Regarding the stone neclaces. My daughter and I collected the stones together and tied the knots together. I’m more than happy to be involved in her art when needed. And (3) of course we picked up the plastic litter after we created the sculpture. I used the artwork as an opportunity to chat to my daughter about pollution and rubbish. And regarding the frog (4) a child did draw that. It was a c. 7 year old girl on a camping trip we were on. I love that she included eggs, tadpoles and small frogs and was super impressed which is why I took the photograph. (5) The same thing could be done on any tree trunks or branches. You don’t have to be restricted to stumps – that is just what we were using. (6) I wasn’t even any where near my daughter when she did those. No prompting required. (8) and (9) – yes ‘paper bark’ is an Australian tree – but the same could be done on many types of bark. I hope the detail has helped reduce your annoyance. I was merely trying to be brief and inspirational rather than prescriptive. I’m hoping people can look at what we have done with the materials we have available and apply it to their own outdoor environment and materials.

  4. As an early childhood teacher, I have used some of these ideas many times and have found they work a treat. We have been working on knotting lately – the children (aged 2-5 years) love to wrap, wind and knot twine/yarn through the trees. Like “spiderwebs” as they call them. Knotting is tricky for young children but it’s a great skill for them to have – and I have found as many of our children are so keen to try, they have managed to form some simple knots . So I think I’ll try your knotted stone jewelry with them next as we have been making necklaces and wrist bands out of long pieces of woven grass. This would be a great follow up experience! Thanks for the ideas. Gill

    1. I love that idea of wrapping and winding twine through the trees. Will defiantly give that a go Gill. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love the idea of painting/drawing/writing on tree trunks and branches and rocks and leaves. I hadn’t thought of it, but it looks great and we definitely have plenty of fodder. Plus, it’d be funny to simply let the toddler run loose in the yard with chalk or water-based paints.

  6. Hi, Tricia,
    Thank you for responding so graciously. (Reading my comment over, I apologize if I was a bit snappish!)

  7. Wonderful ideas and inspiration here…my twins love trampoline drawing and we have also had fun painting our paperbark with water colours…collecting feathers and doing some painting with them is another firm favourite.
    My girls would live outside if they could I think….thank you for sharing your beautiful pics and love of fun in the outdoors…those necklaces are such a great idea!

  8. Why have I never thought about chalk drawing on the trampoline!?!? I always lament our lack of footpaths or concrete driveway because there is no where to draw with chalk when all along we’ve had this huge tramp waiting to be coloured!!!

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