Mother Natured Connecting Kids with Nature Tue, 21 Jul 2015 19:30:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DIY Leaf Wall Art Tue, 21 Jul 2015 19:29:21 +0000

DIY Leaf Wall ArtIf you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for a couple of weeks, well I haven’t fallen off the end of the earth if that’s what you’ve been thinking. I’ve score myself a full-time day job.

Yep, I’m still working in environmental education (of course)! Nope, I no longer wear khakis (I get to dress like a girl). Yep, in this job I don’t have to shovel poop (I do miss the animal snuggles though)!
I have an office, a rather cramped office, and right outside is, thankfully, bush land. Problem is, the bush isn’t inside and so I’m missing my outdoor time.

So, I’m bringing nature in! For starters, I made this lovely wall leaf art. I loved the end result so much I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

What you’ll need:

  • Leaves
  • Glue gun
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Good quality art paper
  • White photo frame
  • Heavy text book (to flatten the leaves)
  • Circle hole punch

How to make it

  1. Find some beautiful leaves. Keep your largest leaf for the middle of the artwork.
  2. Use the circle hole puncher to cut out leaf circles with the remaining leaves.
  3. Put the large leaf and the leaf circles in the middle of a white sheet of paper. Place that sheet of paper into a big, heavy text book and let them sit in there for just over a week (or longer). You want the leaves to be flat. Press leaves
  4. Using a piece of good quality art paper, draw up you paper into equal boxes. You can do all sorts of patterns, so bring out the leaf and leaf circles and experiment with your own unique design. Nature Art
  5. Rub the lines out, so that you can only just see where you’re going to place your leaf circles. Leaf art
  6. Next, using the glue gun, glue the leaf and leaf circles to the art paper. Creating artwork with leaves
  7. Place your leaf artwork in a simple, white frame. The white background will make the colours in the leaves pop!
  8. Place your leaf artwork on the wall for all to admire.

Nature Art Wall Hanger

Now that I’ve made some nature craft for my wall, next on the list is a terrarium for my office desk! I’ll be working with nature around me in no time!

Here are some other wonderful suggestions to bring nature into your office.

]]> 0
Easy Turtle Craft for Kids Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:56:52 +0000

Easy Turtle Craft for KidsIf your child loves turtles, this craft is for them. It’s super easy to prepare and it gets your child’s creativity flowing.

We’ve been drawing all types of turtles using a simple home-made stamp. It’s amazing how many unique and interesting turtles you can make!

What you’ll need:

  • Wooden branch or wooden block
  • Circle or oval shaped foam
  • Glue gun
  • Stamp ink pad
  • Paper
  • Pencil

How do you make the turtle shell stamper

  1. Use a saw to cut a small tree branch into round cylinder blocks.  The branch I used had a diameter of 10 cm. I cut the cylinder block 20 cm long.Animal Craft
  2. Using a glue gun, glue the round piece of foam onto one of the ends of the cylinder block. turtle Art
  3. Let your children press the foam end of the stamp into the ink pad and make prints on a plain piece of paper.
  4. Next, pick up a pencil and start creating all sorts of wonderful turtle pictures using the stamped circle as the turtle’s shell.
  5. Here’s a video to help you get the idea.

 Here’s a few examples. The turtles you can draw are endless.

Turtle Art

Turtle craft for preschoolers


See what turtles you can create!

]]> 3
Make a Mushroom Stamp Wed, 03 Jun 2015 20:02:41 +0000

Make a Mushroom StampI hate wasting food. When we have left overs, which is pretty rare now, I tend to use them in our play or chuck them in our worm farm. When the worm farm gets too full, sometimes I let my children paint with the fruits and vegetables. Here’s a fun and educational activity you should try if you have old mushrooms.

What you’ll need:

  • Old mushrooms of different sizes
  • paint brush
  • acrylic paint
  • paper
  • knife (to cut the stalks off)

It was unusual to have mushrooms left over but they were certainly beyond their fresh date. I cut the stalks off at the same level as the head of the mushroom and made a mushroom stamp. All I needed now was to set up a quick paint station.

All the girls were quite shocked that they were going to paint the mushrooms. My two eldest love eating mushrooms so I had to explain that they were no longer fresh enough to eat and we were going to use them in a different way. Painting Mushroom activity

Painting the mushrooms was wonderful to watch. They were very focused while painting and I could see that they were studying each part of the mushroom. It wasn’t a surprise when they started to ask me questions. Luckily,  I had my phone with me so I could answer (thanks to good old google)!

While painting mushrooms we learnt:

  • Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies produced by some fungi. Herbarium, 2015
  • Mushrooms are excellent at decomposing organic matter
  • Mature mushrooms produce microscopic spores that are similar to pollen or seeds, sometimes numbering in the trillions
  • The structure of a mushroom


Image Source

Painting Mushrooms


Painting Mushrooms in nature

We also tried with our small, older mushrooms. We left the stalks on and cut the head of the mushroom about .5 cm up from the stalk.

Painting and pressing mushrooms

Not only did we enjoy stamping with mushrooms but learning became immersed in play.  I love when that happens!

Have you been playing with items from nature lately?

]]> 1
Lunch Box Scavenger Hunt & Litter Free Living Thu, 28 May 2015 20:55:00 +0000

This is a sponsored post

Lunch Box Scavenger Hut Ideas and Litter Free LivingDo you ever cringe at the amount of glad wrap you use while making school lunches? Would it make it worse if I told you that a school of 500 kids produces 15 tonnes of rubbish each year from lunch boxes alone?

Don’t worry, I’m not here to make you feel bad. In fact, with any luck this post will make you feel a whole lot better, because today I’ve got an easy solution to the problem of lunchbox waste, as well as a suggestion for making lunchboxes just that bit more fun and exciting for your little ones.

Last year I vowed to reduce the use of plastics in my household, and since that post I think I’ve done a pretty good job of achieving my aim. Cutting the plastics from school lunches was the first thing to change. I no longer use disposable plastics like glad wrap and plastic sandwich pockets any more. But what do I use instead? I hear you ask.

Kylie Etheridge,  a qualified primary school teacher and now the founder of Litter Free Living, was fed up with seeing the amount of rubbish being brought to schools in lunch boxes. What I find glorious about her is that she didn’t just adopt litter free living within her family but she also created products that help others become litter free too.

The products have all been designed to help replace disposable items that end up in landfill. That’s a pretty great goal to have because ‘the average Australian family of four people makes enough rubbish in one year to completely fill a three-bedroom house from floor to ceiling’ (, May 5 2015). She’s even kept our families’ health in the forefront of their creation and made them out of materials that are PVC-free, phthalate, BPA free and non-toxic! So, you can see why I was excited when I found her and her products.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Litter Free Living Scavenger Hunt

The reusable sandwich sets are my favourite. I just shove the sandwich, sunflower seeds, air popped popcorn (whatever I can think of) in the pretty material bags, put them in the lunch box and off we go. The sizings are perfect for a lunch box too, which means I don’t have to worry about finding a container that won’t fit. They take up hardly any space and if the sandwich is smaller than the bag, I just flip it underneath with no hassle.

Living litter free

I don’t wash them as much I thought I’d need to either. The water-resistant inner lining keeps the food fresh and if it needs it, I just give it a little wipe down with a damp cloth. When it’s time for a clean, I just throw it in the washing machine along with all the other clothes.

She also has bags that you can use to store left over fresh foods in. Keeping my food fresh in the fridge without the use of plastics is so much easier now. If I have a half cut capsicum or avocado, I just add it to one of Kate’s bag.  I’ve been searching all over for a way to keep my cheese fresh without the use of a plastic bag to cover it. I squealed when I got this. It works so well, I love it!

Litter Free Living

Thanks to Litter Free Living I’m spending less time packaging lunches with plastics and spending more time adding fun to my children’s lunch boxes.  A while ago I added Animal Quizzes to my eldest’s lunch box and she just loved the little notes she received each day.

This time I’m adding a nature scavenger hunt. So, every day for a fortnight, my children will have to bring me back one thing they’ve found in nature. It’s a prefect way to get my children appreciating nature every day, and in different locations other than our house and on our bush walks.

Lunch Box Nature Scavenger Hunt

In keeping with the rubbish-reducing theme, I wrote the scavenger hunt notes on pieces of an old cereal box.

Lunch box Scavenger Hunt

Here’s 14 Scavenger Hunt notes you can add to your child’s lunch box:

  1. Find a leaf bigger than your hand
  2. Find a small interesting rock
  3. Draw an animal you see on this piece of paper
  4. Find something round in nature
  5. Make a rubbing of a tree trunk in your school
  6. Find a stick shorter than your pinkie finger
  7. Find something in nature that matches this colour
  8. Put a leaf in your hair and wear it home
  9. Find a bird feather
  10. Find something rough in nature
  11. Help nature by picking up some rubbish and placing it in the bin
  12. Find something pointy in nature
  13. Find a Y shaped Stick
  14. Bring a flower home for me

Litter Free Living

Want to find out more about Kate’s products? You can find her Litter Free Living range here or help her mission and like her on Facebook!

Win some products from Litter Free Living!

MN Giveaway (400x400)

1 x lunch bag set value $24.50

1 x Stainless steel drinking straws value $11.95

1 x food cover set value $24.50

1 x bread wrap $20

Total value $80.95



“What plastics would you most like to reduce in your household and why?””

Terms and conditions:

  • Australian entries only.
  • Competition closes at 5.00 pm AEST on Thursday 11 June 2015. 
  • The prize is as follows: 1 x lunch bag set value $24.50, 1 x Stainless steel drinking straws value $11.95, 1 x food cover set value $24.50, 1 x bread wrap $20 from Litter Free Living. Total value $80.95
  • The winner will be the entry deemed most creative by the judges. Judges decisions are final.
  • The winner will be notified within 24 hours after the close of the competition.
  • The winner must respond within seven days or the entries will be judged again excluding the initial winners entry.
  • We will require the name and address of the winner to send out the products. This information will be destroyed after the products have been sent.

]]> 14
Nature Craft: Sewing patterns on Leaves Tue, 19 May 2015 20:38:07 +0000

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?

]]> 1
Wood Shaving Crafts Tue, 12 May 2015 20:32:27 +0000

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!

]]> 0
DIY & Ready Made Natural Home Office Decor Ideas Wed, 06 May 2015 20:23:51 +0000

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.


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!


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!

]]> 0
Painting and Writing with Sharpened Sticks Tue, 28 Apr 2015 20:22:27 +0000

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!

]]> 1
Nature Craft Collage: Boy and Girl Head Printable Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:59:45 +0000

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.

]]> 0
Made with Nature — Leaf Bow Hair Clips Tue, 14 Apr 2015 20:00:40 +0000

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

]]> 0