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Art Ideas for Kids That Will Get You Outdoors

Erica Loop
June 1, 2017

Crafty kids will appreciate a chance to get outdoors with these great art ideas.



Yes, you can get out of your house with imaginative art ideas for kids! If you're thinking, "But my kitchen table is my child's art studio," think again. Your child can create art anywhere, from your own backyard to your local art museum. Not only does this give your kids a new perspective that fosters creativity, but it's also just fun to pack up like an artist and find new inspiration!

Make Backyard Art
MaryLea Harris, a blogger for Pink and Green Mama and the author of the e-book "Backyard Fun," says, "One of our favorite places to make art is outdoors, in our own backyard and driveway." Harris suggests using "an easel and paints, watercolors, paper and crayons, black paper and oil pastels, or play dough."

Setting up a drop cloth on the grass or using a small picnic table provides space for your child to create, Harris says. You can adapt backyard art outings for any age from toddlers to tweens. Buy inexpensive paints, crayons and oil pastels at your craft store. While an easel may be an investment, using the ground as a foundation for drawing or painting is free!

Sidewalk chalk is, of course, a no-brainer for backyard patio art. Have your child trace shadows appearing on the ground in chalk or even photograph them, such as in this "family portrait" craft idea from Pink and Green Mama.

Go On a Nature Walk
A trip to the local park or hike in the woods make excellent opportunities for trying out art ideas for kids. You won't need to bring many art supplies along (making this activity almost free)!

According to the University of Michigan's Art at Michigan, plenty of professional artists use natural materials -- Japanese artist Mitsuru Koga uses leaves and stones, Richard Shilling uses leaves to create faux stained glass and Michael Fleming makes life-sized sculptures from driftwood.

Toss a few pieces of card stock, a glue stick, scissors and yarn into a bag. As you walk through woods, have your child collect anything that catches the eye. Drop twigs, flower petals, fallen leaves, moss, bark and pebbles into the bag, then find a clear, grassy spot to sit and have your child create a collage with the natural materials.

A basic collage is ideal for acquainting toddlers and preschoolers with nature. Up the ante and have your grade-schooler create a textured landscape.

For example, glue grass and leaf clippings onto the bottom of the paper as a meadow, make a pebble-filled creek and add purple mountains using flower petals.

Visit the Town Square
The hustle and bustle of city life provides a bountiful backdrop for your child's art. For kids in kindergarten and up, take a sketchbook, colored pencils and oil pastel crayons to your town or city's center.

Look for a park bench or stoop from which to sketch the city's hum. Your child can focus on architecture, draw portraits or create an entire street scene. There's no need to buy a fancy (and pricey) sketchbook. Use a journal with blank pages or make your own by stapling white paper together.

Head for the Museum
Sure, your art museum houses art, but did you know your child can also create there? Many museums offer art sessions for youngsters. In addition, your child can just draw there!

Jena Robbins Schieb, the studio arts director for the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, says, "I am also a vocal advocate for galleries and museums. Nothing can take the place of interacting with real artwork." Have your preschooler or older child bring a notebook and pencil while visiting your museum's galleries and sketch.

Schieb says, "Witness these beautiful and mysterious objects in person and draw a picture of what you see." While viewing, Schieb also suggests children take on the shape of the work with their bodies. This is an easy alternative for toddlers and preschoolers if the museum doesn't allow art materials inside.

Have fun, and now that you're out of the house, keep the adventure going with 101 Outdoor Activities and Games for Kids.

Erica Loop is a mom, parenting writer and educator with a master of science degree in child development. When she's not busy teaching, she's creating kids' activities for her blog Mini Monets and Mommies.

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