Art is healing, and every time I turn to it to ease my feelings of stress and anxiety, I immediately feel better. This is especially the case when a creative project involves nature. It is simply not as soothing to paint a building as it is to paint a flower.
Children can also benefit tremendously from engaging in nature-inspired arts and crafts. Creativity has been shown to develop many positive characteristics and help children lead happy, successful lives. When children are creative, they tap into curiosity, intuition, and playfulness to help them solve complex problems. Creativity can also be an important stress buster to help kids feel happier and more relaxed. It provides a healthy outlet for them to express and cope with their emotions in a safe, calm manner. In fact, art has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels.
Creativity can have a major impact on a child’s health and well-being. If your children are feeling stressed, you can teach them how to channel their anxious energy into a creative project or hobby. How does this help? Nature is one of the best sources of inspiration for creative endeavors since it is filled with so many sights, sounds, smells, textures, colors, and other stimuli. Children soak up what is in their environment, so it is important for them to be stimulated by natural elements to increase their creativity. By the same token, the arts can also be a path for connecting children to nature. Since both art and nature are such effective (and fun!) stress reduction tools, we can look for ways for our kids to connect with nature and be inspired by it to create a masterpiece.
There are endless opportunities for us to engage our children in various forms of environmental art. Creating nature crafts from nature stories is one of my favorite ways to do this!
Phillipa Warden, author of Rupert’s Snowman and Emma’s Sunflower, is the expert at creating calming, yet fun, nature crafts for kids inspired by children’s books about nature. She has been teaching craft activities for elementary school students for over 12 years. Phillipa has developed craft-based lesson plans for her books that numerous parents, teachers, librarians, storytellers, and of course children, enjoy creating. She believes that these types of craft activities bring a book’s characters to life and let the story live on in the reader’s mind.
Both of her stories involve time spent in nature as a central theme. They reflect her deep-rooted love of nature and are designed to encourage children to go outside into a garden, park, forest, or anywhere they can interact with nature. Phillipa’s books are set in the countryside surrounding her cottage in Cambridgeshire, England. Whether building a snowman in the depth of winter or refilling the bird feeders at the apple tree during springtime, her family is happiest when they are outside.
She developed so many lovely activities that help children enjoy the wonders of nature. A bird template allows kids to make a beautiful hanging mobile; a flower shaped ‘lens’ asks children what they hear, see, smell, and how it makes them feel; and a sunflower diary reminds them to water and log the growth of a planted sunflower. Here is a sampling of her nature craft activities for you to enjoy. You can download them, plus so many more, at www.phillipawardenbooks.com.
Be sure to grab your copies of her books today!
And please check out our activities page to help your kids find some ecohappiness.