Mother Natured http://mothernatured.com Connecting Kids with Nature Wed, 20 May 2015 20:29:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Nature Craft: Sewing patterns on Leaves http://mothernatured.com/2015/05/20/nature-craft-sewing-patterns-on-leaves/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/05/20/nature-craft-sewing-patterns-on-leaves/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 20:38:07 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=6008

Sewing Patterns on LeavesI can’t help but use nature to teach my child a new skill. So, when my eldest was showing interest in learning to sew, I didn’t pick up some felt or cloth to show her, oh no, I picked up a leaf.

You see, teaching with items from the outdoors comes so naturally to me now. It doesn’t take much to teach your child more than just the process of sewing when you think outside the box. Teaching your child to sew on a leaf can also build their:

  • fine motor skills
  • nature appreciation
  • leaf decomposition knowledge
  • basic sewing skills
  • pattern recognition
  • knowledge of leaf structure
  • understanding of natural vs synthetic materials

Whenever your child is playing or crafting with nature, you’re building onto knowledge about their world.

How to Sew on Leaves

What you’ll need

  • Needle (I used a fairly blunt needle)
  • Thread (I halved wool threads but you could use embroidery thread too)
  • Freshly fallen leaves
  • Scissors

Sew on a leaf

  1. Enjoy the outdoors and take time to collect leaves with spectacular patterns. Falling in love with nature can start by appreciating a single leaf.
  2. Gently wipe your leaf clean with a wet cloth and let it dry.
  3. Thread the needle and push the needle into the leaf just as if you were sewing onto cloth.  Stay at least half a centimeter away from the edge of the leaf or it may rip.  I’d encourage young children to start sewing in the middle of the leaf. Leaves that are still slightly green are the best for this activity.
  4. Get creative and sew anything you like onto the leaf.

Here’s a quick video on how we made our leaf hearts but there are more examples of what you can do below.

We’ve also made sewn leaf heart gifts with a secret message inside too.

Here’s some of the beautiful crafts we’ve sewn in the last couple of days:

Sewing leaf hearts

Leaf Nature Crafts

Sewing faces on leaves

Leaf Art

Sewing patterns on leaves

Nature Art

More leaf heart ideas

Sewn leaf Hearts

Using nature in any learning experience adds so much value and fun to the activity. We’ve been sewing on leaves, how have you be crafting with nature lately?

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Wood Shaving Crafts http://mothernatured.com/2015/05/13/wood-shaving-crafts/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/05/13/wood-shaving-crafts/#respond Tue, 12 May 2015 20:32:27 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5981

Nature Crafts: Stick Shaving CraftsYou might have sharpened a pencil and, without a thought, thrown those pencil shavings in the bin. Or perhaps, like me,  you and your children were sharpening sticks the other day and you thought that the shavings would make perfect tinder for a fire.

Before you throw away or burn your shavings, consider using them in a craft activity first.

Sharpening Sticks

There are plenty of  wonderful pencil shaving crafts on Pinterest. When I saw how naturally pretty the shavings were from our sharpened sticks, I wanted to create pictures using these wood shavings too.

It’s easy to sharpen a stick. Just grab a stick that’s of similar thickness to a pencil and sharpen it!

Here’s what I made (with my children’s help) using the wood shavings.

Wood Stick Shaving Crafts

Don’t throw away those sharp sticks either. We used the sharp sticks in a painting and writing activity.

Mermaid. This one was by far their favourite.

Stick Nature Crafts

Owl. The brown shavings create a perfect fluffy-looking owl.

Shaving Nature Crafts

Mushrooms. I couldn’t help but make this one myself. I do love mushrooms.

Nature Crafts: Pencil Shaving Crafts

Dancer. The colours in the wood give this dress such a stylish look.
Nature Crafts

Tree. The girls put this one together themselves.

Nature Crafts - Wood shavings

Lion.Pencil Shaving Nature Crafts

Butterfly. This is my personal favourite. I love that tiny bit of moss on the bottom right hand corner of the wing.

Butterfly Craft

Whether you draw the pictures and your children place the shavings around the drawing or they do it all themselves, this activity is a must. Just sharpen a stick and get started!

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DIY & Ready Made Natural Home Office Decor Ideas http://mothernatured.com/2015/05/07/diy-ready-made-natural-home-office-decor-ideas/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/05/07/diy-ready-made-natural-home-office-decor-ideas/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 20:23:51 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5341

This post contains some affiliate links

DIY and Ready Made Natural Home Decor Ideas

I’ve finally setup my home office space. Except, there’s one crucial element missing, nature!  I can’t imagine not having some of nature’s natural textures on and around my desk. Something living is also a must.

So, I’ve been searching the web for DIY nature home office decor ideas. Considering I’m now back doing full time work,  I’ve also added some ready-made items to the list too.  I may have to take it a little easier with the DIY projects until I have more time up my sleeve.

Here are the glorious treasures I’ve found!

DIY nature Office home decor


Upcycled glass bottle vase

This lovely up-cycled glass bottle vase captured my eye straight away. I do love super easy DIY projects.  I can’t wait to make one and then add a pretty native flower in it from time to time. This vase would bring me on-going happiness every time I use it.

Striped-vase-DIY

DIY Macrame Planter

When I’ve exhausted all the spare space on my desk, I’m going to move plants above my head.  This one is particularly easy to make and oh so lovely!

Macramé-Planter-small-plant

DIY Wooden succulent planter pots

These are the mini planters I’ve made myself.  They are so simple to make, yet fancy enough that you’d see them sold at a decor store.

Succulent Pots DIY

 

Ready-made natural Office home decor


 

Wooden Thumb Tacks

I’m no longer going to purchase boring thumb tacks. No, I’m putting these on my Christmas list. I can only imagine how pretty they would look on my cork Can’t you?

Thumb tacks wood

 

Rustic  Natural Wood Frame

I adore the rustic, exposed wooden edges of this photo frame. I’d add a picture of my children playing in nature and place it on my desk. I’ll just have one problem though, which image will I choose. I have so many photos!

Wood frame

Zen Garden Table

There’s something so calming about running a rake through the sand. It takes me back to the day when I was a zookeeper. This beats raking up animal poo though!

Home office Zen Garden

Wood Pencil Holder

I’ve made a similar piece like this for my girl’s playroom, however it’s not quite as lovely as this. I’d rather see something a little more sophisticated in my office and this is perfect.

Wooden Pencil Holder

Beeswax Candle

I don’t burn candles much but it’s something I’d like to do more often. Winter is coming and should my fingers get cold typing away on the keys, I could simply cup my hands above the flame and give them a little dose of warmth. Oh, that sounds heavenly.

Beezwax Candle

Rustic Log Business Card Holder

I finally received my business cards in the post the other day and when I saw this card holder I couldn’t help but think how perfect a home it would be for them.  I doubt I could make this myself, so I’ll be buying it instead.

Rustic Business Card holder

Rustic Wood Slice Vase

I think this has to be the prettiest vase in the world.  The bright flowers contrast perfectly with the tones and textures of the wood. The only way it could be prettier is if it held native Australian flowers!

Wooden Slice Vase

Hex Spora Plant Pots

I don’t think I have ever told you that I have a thing for little planter pots, succulents and hexagonal decor. Yet I still don’t have anything like this in my home. This combines my three loves and so you can see why I had to add it on the list.
Nature Decor for the Office

Wireless Bamboo Keyboard and mouse

I can imagine my fingers happily tapping away at its lovely sustainable keys. This would most certainly keep me typing!

Woodedn decor for Office

Whether you’re happy to make your own or buy some natural home office decor it’s bound to bring more creativity, colour and fresh air to your desk!

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Painting and Writing with Sharpened Sticks http://mothernatured.com/2015/04/29/painting-and-writing-with-sharpened-sticks/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/04/29/painting-and-writing-with-sharpened-sticks/#respond Tue, 28 Apr 2015 20:22:27 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5927

Nature Crafts: See how to add sharpened ticks to your play timeHave you ever used a sharpener to sharpen sticks? The idea popped into my head the other day and I ran out into our garden to try it with a stick that was of similar thickness to a pencil. It sharpened remarkably well and I thought sharp sticks would make a fun addition to our nature craft play time.

We’ve used sticks and paint in a previous activity before. We made beautiful art by in colouring in animal silhouettes using sticks. This time though, I thought I’d let the girls decide how they would like to use the sharpened sticks.

What you’ll need for this activity


  • Sticks (similar thickness to a pencil)
  • Sharpener
  • Paint
  • Paper

What we did


  1. We sharpened the sticks with a sharpener. This was a fun way to teach my four year olds how to sharpen pencils without wasting an actual pencil. They really enjoyed sharpening sticks.
  2. Set out some paint, paper and the sharpened sticks on the table.
  3. Let your children go for it.

Write a letter to a fairy using the sharp stick

My eldest said she felt really earthy with the sharp stick in her hand and decided to write a letter to a forest fairy. She spent time gently dipping her stick into the paint before she wrote each letter. Writing with a stick (to a forest fairy) was pretty enchanting already but each letter turned out quite otherworldly too.

Writing a fairy letter with sticks

I couldn’t help myself and wrote a letter to the forest fairy too.

Writing a fairy letter with sharpened sticks

My youngest (by 9 mins)  kept watching us and decided that using the stick for writing was a brilliant idea and she joined in on the fun too.

Nature Crafts Writing with sharpened sticks

Miss E wasn’t interested in writing a letter, instead she experimented with the stick by making dots, painting lines and then trying to place big blobs of paint on the paper. She had a glorious time.

Playing with Paint and Sticks

If you’ve never sharpened a stick before and used it in your painting time, try it.  We thought it was such a fun writing activity. Enjoyable and educational too!

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Nature Craft Collage: Boy and Girl Head Printable http://mothernatured.com/2015/04/22/nature-craft-collage-boy-and-girl-head-printable/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/04/22/nature-craft-collage-boy-and-girl-head-printable/#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:59:45 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5902

Nature Craft Ideas for Kids

It may not be Spring for us in Australia but so many flowers bloom at different times of the year that this nature craft printable can be used all year round. Many of you are just coming into Spring after a long, cold winter so I thought it would be nice to provide you with an activity to celebrate the season.

These boy and girl head printables were made with inspiration from Dada who decorated heads with magazine cut outs of nature (among other things). I loved her ideas and her print outs but I wanted mine to be more child-like so designed my own printable for kids. I encourage you to use them by creating a collage using real nature.

What you’ll need:


  • Download and print the head printouts below
  • Glue sticks
  • Nature. We used ferns, flowers, grass and leaves but you can add dirt, sand, small sticks and gumnuts too!

Download Boy Head Printable              Download Girl Head Printable

Nature Craft Head Printable

The girls and I had collected many of the flowers for this nature collage at their Gran’s house and we kept them in the fridge over night ready for the activity in the morning. They had no idea what I had planned but they loved collecting the nature we needed. Collecting nature is always an enjoyable outdoor activity. I tend to pick up items from nature and comment on its colours, patterns or shape and the girls are really taking notice of these things now too. It’s heart warming to watch them appreciate nature like I do.

I set the materials out on the table and called my children (and my neighbour’s children) over. My goodness were they enthusiastic when they saw the head printable. To say they loved this activity is an understatement!

What I enjoyed watching most was how different and creative all the heads turned out with just the use of nature to collage with.  I assumed they would make hair with the nature they were given. I didn’t consider they’d create earrings, nose pieces, beards and eyebrows!

Nature Craft Idea

Boy Nature Grass Head Printable

Nature Craft Activity

It must be an amazing sight to go from snow to Spring. Although I follow many of you on Instagram and watch your seasons behind the screen, I’d love to experience that transformation of a landscape in person. I’ll add that to my bucket list! I hope this nature craft collage printable using boy and girl heads helps you celebrate all those vibrant colours blooming with the warmer weather.

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Made with Nature — Leaf Bow Hair Clips http://mothernatured.com/2015/04/15/made-with-nature-leaf-bow-hair-clips/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/04/15/made-with-nature-leaf-bow-hair-clips/#respond Tue, 14 Apr 2015 20:00:40 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5866

Make a Bow using a leaf

I know I should be posting more nature crafts related to flowers because many of you are coming in to spring (although I’m now in Autumn) but the leaves are so inviting right now and I’m realising just how versatile they are.

We’ve made leaf crowns,  leaf paper balls, created leaf shape art, sewn leaf hearts and more all in the last couple of months. I’m turning a little leaf mad to be quite honest.

I saw this modular gift bow on Pinterest and felt I had to add this to the Made with Nature Series. I was going to try my hand at making a bow using leaves. I couldn’t help making it even more useful by adding the bow to a clip. The perfect hair accessory for a garden or fairy party.

What you’ll need:


  • Beautiful leaves that have only just fallen off the tree
  • Hair clip
  • Good quality craft glue
  • Peg
  • Glue gun

How to make Leaf Bows


  1. Cut your leaf/leaves into the three shapes in the image below. Your leaves will need to be able to bend without snapping so the best leaves to use are the ones that have just fallen off the tree. DIY Nature HairAccessory
  2. Using the shape in the middle of the image above, fold the two tabs at the ends behind and glue them to the back middle of the leaf.
  3. Place the long rectangular piece around the middle of the bow and glue at the back. It might be easier here to hold the glued section in the middle together by holding it with a peg. Nature hair bow
  4. If you’re impatient like me you can cut the last shape in half (the bottom shape on the image above) and then glue them to the back center too. Use a peg to secure it and let it dry.
  5. Take the peg off and using a hot glue gun, glue your nature bow to the hair clip.
  6. Put it in you or your child’s hair.

Nature Hair clips

Nature hair accessories

My daughters received so many comments the days they wore their leaf bow hair clips. I think people loved how unique they looked. These really would be perfect to make at a fairy or garden party. Don’t you think?!

See more items from the Made with Nature Series.

Made with Nature Challenge

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DIY Succulent Planter Pots made using a Branch http://mothernatured.com/2015/04/07/diy-succulent-planter-pots-made-using-a-branch/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/04/07/diy-succulent-planter-pots-made-using-a-branch/#respond Mon, 06 Apr 2015 19:52:25 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5849

DIY Wooden Planter Succulent Pots

I was making some craft items for the kid’s play area I’m responsible for in my new job when I stumbled on an idea to make a mini planter pot using a thick branch.

Luckily I had the perfect branch to use, with rich natural patterns on the exterior of the wood. I used this same branch to make the wooden texture stamps and the slithers of wood from the wooden heart bracelet not long ago.  It seems one single branch goes a long way in our household!

This craft does require you to make the pots yourself, but your children can be involved at the end by getting their hands dirty and finishing it off.

What you’ll need:


 

  • A large branch (mine was 3.3 cm in diameter)
  • A saw
  • A  large drill bit
  • Gravel
  • Clamp
  • Potting mix
  • Succulents

How to make the Wooden Planter Pots


 

  1. Cut the branch with a saw. Try as best as you can to make a level cut so it sits nicely on the table. You can always sand it if you need to though.  I decided to make three pot (one for each child), with all being different lengths.succulent wooden planter
  2. Next, secure the branch upright in the clamp. Drill into the center of the branch. Move the drill around in a circular motion on the inside of the hole to make the hole bigger at the top. You can drill down fairly deep but make sure you don’t go through to the other side. drilling planter pot
  3. Clean out the saw dust by turning it upside down and tapping it on a table. DIY wood planter
  4. Fill the pots with half a centimeter of gravel, then fill the remaining hole with soil. Add the succulent while you’re filling it.
  5. Clean the soil from the top of the pot. You could also add small black or white rocks on top of the soil so make the hole in the wood more defined. Succulent Pots DIY

I became a little too involved in this activity and forgot to take a photo of the girls putting the dirt in the pots. They loved it though and now each has their own little succulent plant to take care of. They were so simple to make yet I could imagine these wooden planter pots being sold at a fancy decor store.  We made ours for free!

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Nature Craft Easter Eggs http://mothernatured.com/2015/03/30/nature-craft-easter-eggs/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/03/30/nature-craft-easter-eggs/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 20:23:32 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5800

Nature Crafts using Blown EggsI wasn’t prepared to see the Easter eggs at the shops already discounted. I had so many Easter Egg crafts planned but with a new job that’s now five days a week, adjusting to a tighter routine has certainly taken a decent cut of my time.

Still, I always says it’s the simple activities that I love best and this is just another example of a nature craft that requires hardly any effort to set up. As usual, when using natural materials from nature in your crafts, the end result is always spectacular.

Do you like the way I displayed them in a nest? I just couldn’t help myself!

What you’ll need:


  • Eggs (please use free range eggs)
  • Sand, flowers, leaves, seeds (what ever nature is around you)
  • A good quality craft glue
  • A container, or two
  • A paint brush

How to:


Start by blowing out some eggs. I’d blow out two eggs per child. Best to have a spare because blown out eggs are very fragile.

 how to blow eggsHow to Blow Out Eggs

  1. You can do this by using the sewing pin to make a hole about double the size of a pin head in both the top and bottom of each egg.
  2. Then, in a cup (to use in an animal mini quiche or animal pikelets for later), gently blow into one hole making the yolk come out of the other hole. If you’re finding it difficult, make the hole slight bigger down the bottom.
  3. Rinse the inside of the eggs with water and then dry them.

Make Nature Craft Eggs

  1. It’s pretty self explanatory from the images, but firstly collect all the natural materials (flowers, leaves, sand etc.) and set them out on the table.
  2. Find some small lids around the house that hold the eggs steady.
  3. Using the glue, let your child stick the natural materials on to the blown eggs. Nature Egg Craft
  4. You can also put smaller nature materials in a container, let the children paint the whole of the egg with glue and then they can roll it in the materials until the egg is all covered.

Easter Egg craft
We love how they turned out!

Spring Egg Crafts

Textured egg Craft

Sand covered egg

Nature Eggs

Such a simple little nature craft perfect for Easter!

The newsletter will be coming out on Tuesday, so you can find out more about my new job in there. It’s very exciting and will hopefully give me even more inspiration to help you share glorious nature and outdoor activities with your children.  For now, I hope you have a wonderful Easter filled with family, friends and of course, time in nature!

~Penny

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Tree Printable: Learning Numbers with Natural Materials http://mothernatured.com/2015/03/16/tree-printable-learning-numbers-with-natural-materials/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/03/16/tree-printable-learning-numbers-with-natural-materials/#comments Sun, 15 Mar 2015 19:52:57 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5737

Learning Numbers with Natural Materials free Tree PrintableDo your preschoolers love to play school at the moment? Mine do and I’m jumping on their enthusiasm for learning.  This simple activity encourages the use of natural materials that will engage your child, yet teach them some important number foundations before they get to school.

This tree printable should be used with a variety of natural items from nature. It’s a fun resource to get children counting, estimating and understanding math language like ‘if we add’, ‘if we take one away’, ‘how many are there?”

Children will enjoy the variety of natural materials they can put on the tree and will love counting them as they are placed on the leaves.

Download the Tree Printable


* Please don’t laminate this printable. Instead, stick the printable to a piece of cardboard. It works just as well and lasts as long as you’ll probably need it. I’ve mentioned why I don’t like laminating in this post.

Download the Tree Number Printable

Number Tree Play setGive your child a choice of these natural materials


  • Gumnuts
  • Flowers
  • sticks
  • leaves
  • seed pods
  • berries
  • nuts

If you can think of more natural materials I can add to this list, please let me know.

Tree Playset

Learning with Natural Materials

Learning Numbers with Natural Materials

 

I love simple activities like this that provide good quality, engaging and educational fun for my children. I’m getting quite a collection of activities that include learning with natural materials. I can’t wait to think up more resources that will keep my children engaged in playing school and learning numbers.

More ways to learn with natural materials

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Fun with Playdough and Nature http://mothernatured.com/2015/03/11/fun-with-playdough-and-nature/ http://mothernatured.com/2015/03/11/fun-with-playdough-and-nature/#respond Tue, 10 Mar 2015 19:21:19 +0000 http://mothernatured.com/?p=5701

Fun things to make with playdough and anture

You may remember the very popular post I wrote with a similar title called Fun with Playdough and shells. That post was a hit because the twins gave me a brilliant idea to make a lifelike snail using playdough and a snail shell. This time we’ve been bringing nature to our playdough play and there’s no shortage of creativity.

Again, the twins experimented with the different mediums and made quite a fun mess of both. Miss L (my eldest) and I had a few more ideas in mind.

Invitation to play with playdough and nature


Here’s how I set up the invitation to play with playdough and nature. It was a fairly simple to prepare. It took me five minutes.

You’ll need:

  • Containers filled with sticks, leaves, gumnuts, stones sand, bark. You can use what ever you can find.
  • A container with old playdough. The playdough will be ruined after this activity so I’d suggest using it when it’s on its last days.
  • A small bottle of nature eyes. You can see how I made them here.

Invitation to play with nature and playdough

Then we started creating. These are just some examples of what we came up with but I’m sure you and your children can think of more.

Playdough and sticks helicopter

Playdough and Rock Play

Playdough and nature fairy

Playdough and stick teepee

Playdough and Nature ladybug

This is a perfect activity for after school or to relax after a busy, hyped up day.

More activities with playdough and nature in mind?

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