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Nature-Based Activities for Children

Children have an almost infinite ability for innovation and creativity.

Children have an almost infinite ability for innovation and creativity.
Sue Watts, ©2019, South Carolina Botanical Garden

Summer at the South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG) that is a fun time filled with summer camps and children laughing and learning. Below are some of the simple, low cost ideas we used in our Creativity Camp to get children outside, where they enjoyed nature, and tapped into their creativity.

Painting with Flower Petals

The children discovered this art medium themselves. We went out with the goal of shadow drawing, but they quickly extended this activity into seeing what color flower petals turned when crushed onto the page. One of the things that I learned in this camp is that children have an almost infinite ability for innovation and creativity, if given the freedom to experiment.

A camper weaving a “Y” stick with yarn and flowers.

A camper weaving a “Y” stick with yarn and flowers.
Sue Watts, ©2019, South Carolina Botanical Garden

Weaving a “Y” Stick

This activity required more material (yarn) and a little more dexterity, but even the youngest kids were able to participate with some help. Some very much enjoyed the weaving, while others enjoyed decorating “Y” with natural materials. However, a significant portion of children wanted to make the “Y” stick into a sling shot (be forewarned).

Creating an ephemeral sculpture requires cooperation, design, experimentation, and engineering.

Creating an ephemeral sculpture requires cooperation, design, experimentation, and engineering.
Sue Watts, ©2019, South Carolina Botanical Garden

Creating Nature-based Ephemeral Sculptures

Simulating the examples of the SCBG nature-based sculptures (the Crucible and the Natural Dialog), we spent a morning creating our own ephemeral and natural art. This activity included an enormous amount of cooperation, design, experimentation, and engineering

Leaf & Flower Petal Art

Normally, collecting natural objects in the SCBG is not allowed. However, for this activity the children were allowed to gather leaves and flowers (very judicially) from the Children’s Garden. Then, with a piece of card and bottle of glue, they set out to create magical insects.

Using a piece of card and bottle of glue, a magical insect is created from flower petals and leaves.

Using a piece of card and bottle of glue, a magical insect is created from flower petals and leaves.br /> Sue Watts, ©2019, South Carolina Botanical Garden

Poetry

Inspired by the book The Lost Words, written by Robert McFarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris, our children created inspiring, acrostic poems. If you have a chance, check out this amazing book. This beautiful work of art was written as a response to the omission of forty common words, many to do with nature, from the Junior Oxford English Dictionary. The children in camp were dismayed that words, such as acorn, otter, and willow were no longer thought to be worthy of inclusion in the dictionary.

Children created acrostic poems that were inspired by the book, The Lost Words.

Children created acrostic poems that were inspired by the book, The Lost Words. Sue Watts, ©2019, South Carolina Botanical Garden

For more information on programs at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, see the SCBG Event Calendar.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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