Make a Bat Wing Costume using an Umbrella

No-sew Bat Costume using an Umbrella

Do you need a bat costume before Halloween but can’t sew? Perhaps you need to dress up as a bat for another occasion? These glorious membranous bat wings are cheap, look great and no-sew, so they are perfect for your costume-themed dress up party.

I wrote this Bat Wing Umbrella Costume Tutorial last year. There are step by step images too.

You can tell Miss Possum had a lot of fun pretending to be a bat.  She liked it so much, she wants to go dressed as a bat again this year too. No doubt I’ll be making three (two more for three year old twins).

Click here to see how to make it

(Mother Natured used to be named Wildlife Fun 4 Kids)

Bat Costume for Children

Bat Costume kids

These bat wings would be a perfect way to recycle a broken black (or multicoloured) umbrella too!

More Halloween Activities

What are you dressing up as this Halloween?

Common Craft Materials you can replace with Nature

Craft Materials you can replace with NatureIf you haven’t noticed, I’ve been going all nature craft crazy lately and there’s plenty of reasons why you should too. Here are the benefits of changing your common craft materials to nature:

  • It’s free. Most craft materials are expensive, whist getting nature craft is free!
  • It’s easily available. You don’t have to go anywhere to get them, only outside.
  • It’s creative. There really are so many things you can make with nature. See our nature craft category.
  • It’s Eco friendly. Your nature craft will biodegrade much faster than the synthetic material in craft items.
  • It’s good for your kids. There is a school of thought that believes it is vital, both to the well being of our children and to raising the conservationists of the future, that children interact with nature.

I’m not suggesting you change all your craft to nature but ease it in there. You may be surprised with how beautiful it looks and how much fun your kids will have playing with it.

Replace with nature

Paper

Rather than painting or drawing on paper, make nature your canvas. Paint on leaves, bark, rocks and more!

Use Nature as your canvas

Popsicle sticks

Sticks work just as well and are so much more textured. You can also get them in an variety of sizes and shapes!

Nature Craft Materials

Pipe cleaners

It took me a while  to think of an alternative to this one. Some sticks can be flexible so this is something I’m going to try in future. Can you think of another alternative to a pipe cleaner?

Beads

We’ve been using gumnuts in quite a lot of our craft lately. We made this beautiful Gumnut Bracelet and I’ve seen one made using acorns too. They make a great alternative to plastic beads.

An alternative to Beads

Paint

We use acrylic paint in most of our craft but it you want to go even more natural, why not make your paint using rocks, mud or crushing up flowers and mixing them with a little bit of water!

Glitter

One of the most popular posts on Mother Natured is our Nature’s Glitter. Instead of using little shards of plastic to decorate your craft you can use nature instead. See how we made ours here.

Pink Glitter

Dye

Dying with nature products is another area I’d like to explore with my children in future. I’d like to try natural dyes using left over fruit and vegetables.

Ribbons

There’s not quite a perfect nature product that works just like a ribbon but long grass or lomandra leaves look lovely as ribbons on presents! We’ve also used grass and lomandra leaves for a threading activities too.

Nature Craft replacements

Stickers

Well, items from nature may not be sticky on the back but you only have to add a little bit of glue and you have nature stickers. They’ll be easier to get off the walls too!

Paint brushes

These are the most beautiful paint brushes ever and the texture created from them is just spectacular. We love painting with flowers and different items in nature.

Nature Paint Brushes

Googly Eyes 

It took me a while to think of an alternative for googly eyes but I found an answer. All I needed was a spotty leaf and a hole punch. Easy!

Googly Eye Alternative

Buttons

Make our own wooden buttons by cutting up small branches and drilling two holes in each slice. So pretty!

Nature crafting

Sequins

Our replacement for sequins are hole punched leaves. We’ve made a pretty bracelet out of star hole punched leaves. It’s stunning!

Nature Craft items

Pom poms

We made nature pom poms last week.  They are easy to make and so much prettier than regular pom poms.

Pom poms

 A few things to be mindful of whilst collecting Nature:

  • Ensure you’re collecting nature that’s safe for you and your family. If your child gets asthma or hay fever, best not to collect nature’s glitter, for example, and perhaps it’s best not to pick those berries for crafts if you’re not sure what they are.
  • Please be mindful of the environment you take your nature from. It’s not environmentally friendly if you’re killing a plant or tree in the process. Try to reduce as much impact to the environment as possible.
  • Try to be safe while collecting. We’ve haven’t any problems whilst collecting nature but you should always be mindful of creature’s that may be near you when you’re collecting. We never see any but we always do a quick snake safety refresher before we go collecting.

We adore nature craft and creating this list alone as inspired to me to get even more creative with the kids. I can’t wait to use those googly eyes in a craft with them. They will love adding them in our craft box.

How have you included nature in your crafting? Do you have another nature alternative you can add?

Five Ways to Appreciate your Pet on World Animal Day

World Animal DayWe just came back from a camping holiday and we couldn’t wait to see our pets. We’d really missed them.

You’d think I would have heaps of pets considering I’ve posted about snails, mealwormscrickets, worms and fish.  I haven’t really posted about our dogs yet though and they are important family members.  I’m not ashamed to say that Sam and Caddy, our Maltese cross Silky Terriers were our children before our children came along.

So, with World Animal Day right around the corner on October 4th, and the fact that we’ve missed them a bundle, here are few ways we are appreciating our pets.

1. Take them for a walk.

If your pet is mobile, take them for a walk. Most dogs (and some cats and guinea pigs) love going for a little stroll outside. You may not be able to take some pets for a walk though, so give their enclosure some new furnishings instead.

Walking in bush with dogs

2. Draw pet portraits.

Sketch some beautiful pet portraits. Miss Possum and I spent some time sketching our animals yesterday . It’s a relaxing experience that allows you to take notice of the wonderful little adaptations your pet has on their body to help them live.  We talked about body coverings, eyes, gills, noses and scales.  This is a perfect activity if you have pet fish too.

Appreciating your Pet on World Animal Day

Pet Portraits Kids

3. Give them enrichment.

In a wildlife park we regularly stimulate our animals to keep them from getting bored by scattering their food, placing different smells around their enclosures and more.  We do this for our dogs too (I’ll have to write a post on this) but this time we enriched their life by giving them an extra special treat inside a recycled cardboard box.

pet treats

4. Play with them.

Play with your pet, brush their hair or just letting them sit on your lap. There’s nothing more our dogs love than some undivided attention. Of course, if your pet doesn’t really want attention at that moment, wait until they do.

Best you don’t play with your fish but I’ve heard they don’t mind if you chat their ear off either.

Pet pampering

5.  Give them a present.

It’s World Animal Day after all, why not pamper them?  A new bed,  a toy that the kids no longer want or a special treat? I think most pets love presents. I know my cheeky puppies do!

Our Puppy dogs

I’m sure there are many more ways you could spoil them. How do you appreciate your pet?

World Animal Day

See more wonderful ways to celebrate World Animal Day.

There’s a count down!

 

DIY Nature Pom Poms

DIY Nature Pom Poms

We made nature pom poms today. I’m not sure why, I think it was because I wanted to see if it was possible. Plus, if it worked, I knew they’d look  great and they did!

Make Nature Pom Poms:

  • Long grass
  • Cardboard
  • Fishing line
  • String
  • Scissors

I can tell you that lomandras or anything thicker and less flexible than grass won’t work. Why, you ask? Well, I tried and it failed miserably. Grass was much easier to weave and like wool yarn it was easier to manipulate into a pom pom.

Our first activity was collecting some long green grass.

Collecting grass for craft

You don’t really need to print a pom pom template for this craft.  All you need to do is put two pieces of cardboard on top of each other, (we recycled a cereal box for our cardboard) then cut out a circle and cut another circle out of the middle of that circle. See the image below.  Easy!

Grass craft activity

Next, hold onto the end of the grass while you wrap the grass strand through the hole and around the outside circle and through the hole again. Keep threading it over and over until there’s no more grass strand left. Do the same thing with more grass strands.  The more grass you wrap around the cardboard the thicker the pom pom will become.

Nature Craft

Once you can’t wrap anymore grass through the hole, get your scissors in between the two cardboard pieces and cut around it, cutting the grass wrapped there (see image below). Now it’s time to squish the grass back towards the cardboard. In between the two pieces of cardboard, wrap and tie the fishing line around the grass.

Grass Pom Pom

Take the cardboard pieces off and squish the grass again and give the pom pom a little trim if there’s a few uneven areas. Tie a bit of string onto the fishing line and viola nature pom poms!
DIY pom pom
Have you made pom poms using material other than wool yarn?

DIY Gumnut Bracelet Craft

DIY Gumnut braceletIt turns out that gumnuts are quite a versatile product for play. We’ve already painted them, used them for a sensory activity and then created a  fun shape activity with them. It’s been so much fun.

I still have heaps of gumnuts left over so we made our own gumnut bracelets this time. The girls love threading activities and these gumnuts were almost the perfect size to make them into medium sized beads.

Here’s what you’ll need for this Gumnut craft:

  • Gumnuts
  • A Drill with a fairly small drill bit
  • Acrylic paint
  • string or twine

1.   The first thing you’ll need to do (if you’d like a colourful bracelet) is to paint the gumnuts and then set them out to dry. I think a natural gumnut bracelet would look just as stunning though.

Painting Gumnuts

2.   Once the paint has dried, you can drill into the gumnut. We drilled through the hole in the gumnut and out the other side with a very small drill bit. It’s best if you judge the size for yourself because gumnuts do come in all shapes and sizes.

drilling into gumnuts

3.    Next, get a small twig and push it through the drilled hole a few times to remove any loose fibers left over after drilling.

4.    Thread the gumnuts on the string. If you’re finding it hard to get the string through the gumnut hole, thread the string through a blunt needle and then thread on the gumnuts.

threading gumnuts

5. Measure  the gumnuts around your child’s wrist  and once they fit tie the ends of the string together in a bow.

Gumnut Bracelet

We love our gumnut bracelets. They are a really sweet nature accessory. Best part of all, you can take them apart, store the gumnuts in a container and bring them out again to make different coloured bracelets another day!

Gumnuts aren’t found everywhere, does anyone suggest a similar process but using another natural material, perhaps acorns?

Learning about Biodegradable & Non Biodegradable Materials

Biodegradable and non biodegradable

There are moments when Miss Possum will ask me a question and I’ll step back and remember that her little mind is still filling up with information every single day. Today she picked up a leaf, examined it and asked ‘what happened to the leaf?’ To you and me, that leaf is just decomposing and becoming the earth, it’s biodegradable. To her, something devastating was happening to the leaf. It was no longer green and pretty anymore but dry, dead and broken. I can’t believe I hadn’t taught her about biodegradable and non biodegradable materials until now.

Her question was the perfect learning opportunity. So, on our way back home from our regular bush walk, we discussed what around us was biodegradable.

biodegradable leaf

First, we tried to find leaves that would show different stages of decomposition and then we put them in order of decay.  We discussed that these leaves are biodegradable because it is capable of decaying through the action of living organisms. Having the series of decayed leaves right in front of her really helped her understand what biodegradable meant.  

biodegrading leaves

Then, we looked at sticks to see if they were biodegradable.  Again, we put a number of sticks in order to see the stages of decay.

Biodegrading logs

I asked Miss possum questions like, what would help a stick or leaf biodegrade faster. I supported her by asking if  weather, worms, bugs and fungi (as seen on the stick) would help organic matter biodegrade at a faster rate.

Once we came home, we looked at items that weren’t biodegradable or that took a very long time to biodegrade. We talked about plastic and why it doesn’t biodegrade like organic matter.

To see if Miss Possum understood our chat, I set her a challenge to find four materials around our yard that were biodegrade and four materials around our yard that weren’t biodegradable.  She did really well.

non biodegradable and biodegradable

Talking about biodegradable and non biodegradable materials was the perfect opportunity to bring up waste and how it’s affecting our environment but this time I didn’t. I could see that Miss Possum was starting to lose interest so I’m keeping that conversation for later time.

I don’t think we’ll have any problem with bringing up the topic again. For the last couple of days she’s been telling me what’s biodegradable and what isn’t around our house. It’s a good reminder to keep me on track to reduce the waste we use and replace, what I can, with items that a biodegradable. Stay tuned for the next waste post.

Do you have any other great ideas to help teach your child about biodegradable materials?  Or any ideas on how I can teach Miss Possum about how non biodegradable materials affect the environment?

 

Nature Superhero Masks

Nature Superhero Mask TemplatesMy kind of masked superhero wouldn’t save the planet from bad people or street crime but they’d be right on top of big business polluters that impact negatively on the environment. Bring back Captain Planet! Do you remember him?

Any way, we decided to make nature masks yesterday and be nature heroes. The girls have enjoyed colouring with nature before. Last time we used animal templates and it was a hit, so I knew they’d love this activity too.

Make Nature Superhero Masks

One of my girls wanted to use a dinosaur mask, so if your child isn’t keen on super heroes, you could try colouring in animal masks with nature instead. You can find koala, wombat, dinosaur, spider and frog masks in the printable section.

Print out the superhero masks below.

Download Colour with Nature Face Mask

Download Colour with Nature Super Hero Masks

Print the mask and stick it to some cardboard using a glue stick (we recycle our cereal boxes). When it’s dry, cut it out.

Color with Nature MaskColour with Nature Mask

The only other things you’ll need are:

  • A collection of nature (leaves, sand, grass clippings, flowers, nature’s glitter)
  • A good craft glue
  • String
  • A hole punch (to tie string to the mask)

Nature activity for kids

Then, let your children colour in their superhero (or animal) mask using the nature you’ve all collected together.

Making a mask

Here’s how ours turned out. I think they look absolutely spectacular!

Craft for Kids

Nature Superhero Mask

Nature Mask

I couldn’t help but make one for myself too.

Simple Leaf mask

Now that we’ve made them, it’s time to become true nature superheroes and act for nature. Tomorrow well be going out collecting rubbish in the nature reserve and pulling out some weeds.  We’re so motivated to help the environment right now. A mask always helps you to feel more powerful, doesn’t it?!

Do your children love to wear super hero masks? Do they love nature craft?

Wooden Stump Pen or Pencil Holder

DIY Stump Pencil HolderI’ve seen these wooden stump pencil holders everywhere. I’ve seen them for sale in many educational stores and I’ve also seen a few images on Pinterest.  I couldn’t help but make some for the girls for our craft room. Just in case you haven’t seen how to make these yet, it’s quite simple.

Along with the gumnuts from the craft last week, I took a couple of little stumps from the neighbors yard too (with permission). I couldn’t let all that wood go to waste!

How to make the Wooden Stump Pencil Holder

What you’ll need:

  • A nice chunky log or thick branch
  • sand paper
  • Pen
  • Drill with a 3/8 drill bit (best to measure your pencil/pen thickness first)
  • Pencils or pens
  • felt

How to make it:

  1. Cut the log to length. I made mine 10 cm tall. Cutting a stump
  2. Smooth out the top and bottom of the log with sand paper.
  3. Decide on the number of pencils you’d like in the pencil holder and draw dots on the top of the log, spacing them evenly. Natural Pen Caddy
  4. Drill the holes. You can make the holes an even depth by making a mark on your drill bit and only drilling down to the mark each time. Stump Pen Holder DIY
  5. Give the top of the stump another light sand with sand paper.
  6. Place the log on some felt and trace around it. Cut out the felt and stick it onto the bottom of the log. This will reduce scratching to your table surfaces. Stump pencil holder
  7. Add your pencils to your wooden stump pencil holder!

More Nature crafts? Click here to see all the ideas on our Pinterest Board!

DIY Terrarium Necklace Pendant

DIY Terrarium Necklace PendantI’ve been making  nature accessories like our stunning leaf bracelet, hair facilitator and nature crowns for my kids for far too long. It’s about time I made something for myself!

I wanted something earthy and beautiful to wear, so I decided to make myself a terrarium necklace pendant.  I know wearing it will brighten any day that may start out gloomy.

You can also make this striking necklace pendant. It’s quite simple.

What you will need to make the mini terrarium necklace pendant:

Terrarium Necklace ingredients

1.    Use a peg to hold the glass bottle upright. Add in a thin layer of gravel first.

Mini Terrarium DIY

2.   Then, add a fine layer of charcoal and next, a fine layer of soil. Don’t worry too much if the soil touches the sides. We’ll wash it off later.

3.  Add the moss using a skewer or tooth pick.  I found this part much easier than expected. Gently use the skewer to place the moss where you would like it to sit.

Tiny, mini Terrarium

mini terrarium

4.     You should now have a thin layer of gravel, charcoal, soil and moss in the round glass bottle, in that order.  Using a spray bottle, gently spray a small amount of water inside the  bottle. This should clean up any soil debris that’s stuck to the inside glass. Don’t spray too much.

DIY Terrarium
5.    Push the cork on tightly. Screw in the hook and you’re done!

6. I let mine sit for a week in a shaded spot outside to let the moss settle (it must not get any sun or the moss will die).

Just before I wore the most beautiful necklace in the world,  Miss Platypus got to it and dropped it on the floor. I was devastated. Luckily,  it’s easy to make! So I’ll be making another just like it this weekend.  Kids!

Did you have something beautiful that your child destroyed?  Would you like more nature accessory tutorials for us Mothers?

Rainbow Gumnut Play

Rainbow Gumnut PlayI couldn’t help but steal a whole heap of gumnuts from the tree our neighbors felled a couple of weeks back. At the time I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all of them but i’m starting to realise that the possibilities are endless.

Last week we included some of them as ingredients in our mud stew and this week we used them in a simple nature craft activity. I have more gumnut posts planned too!

We painted a lot of gumnuts red, blue, green and yellow this week. Luckily the girls like painting, so they did most of the work.  I just had to finish them off which I didn’t mind. I knew we’d be keeping these for a long time and probably be playing with them often.

All we used for this activity was gumnuts, paint and creativity!

Painting Gumnuts

After painting the gumnuts, we lay them out on the newspaper and put them in the sun. They didn’t take long to dry.  Then, the girls couldn’t help running their fingers through the container of coloured gumnuts.

Nature Play

Our first activity with the gumnuts was to sort them into coloured groups.

Sorting colours with Gumnuts

Then, we moved the gumnuts around to create different shapes. These turned out just lovely.

Nature Play

Gumnut Star

Of course, we also had to build a rainbow. Miss Possum built one and then we all made one together.

Gumnut Play for kids

 

rainbow

We love simple nature play. What have you made with gumnuts?