Outside Art in the Last Days of Summer
August is upon us. Summer is coming to an end, and school will be back in session before you know it. The end of summer is the perfect time to get some last fun art experiences in, but that doesn’t mean your child needs to sit at a table with a pack of crayons or pencils. There are plenty or ways to enjoy being outside and getting creative at the same time. If you are looking for ideas for some outside art experiences, read on for some inspiration.
What little doesn’t love blowing bubbles? Take this favorite past time and turn it into a creativity experience by adding a little paint or food coloring to your bubble solution. You can make a few different colors, each in a separate bottle of bubbles. Then have kids blow bubbles at a blank piece of paper. As they pop, they will leave a collage of circles in various colors and sizes. You can also use a straw to blow piles of bubbles on to the paper for a more controlled effect. The experience alone is worth the effort, but if you like, use the product as wrapping paper for your next gift giving occasion.
Squirt Gun Painting
What says summer more than water guns? And these popular toys can be the means to a fun filled painting experience. Simply mix a little paint into some water to create a thin, colored liquid. Carefully fill an inexpensive squirt gun with the solution. (Save the super soakers for the big water gun battles.) Mix up a few colors and put a different one in each squirt gun. If you have an easel, set it up outside with a clean sheet of paper. No easel? Just tape your paper to a piece of cardboard (pizza boxes make great makeshift easels) and prop it up outside. Then have your child take aim and fire. The squirt gun will create a fun painting even Jackson Pollok would be proud of.
Barefoot in the Park
Whether you are the barefoot or flip-flop type, the naked foot is a fun instrument for summer’s canvas with foot print art. Start by rolling out a long piece of paper (five to six feet) on an open patch of grass. Put two paper plates at one end and squirt some of your favorite tempera paint into a large, shallow puddle on each plate. Have your kids start by stepping into the puddles of paint, one foot in each, and then walking along the paper leaving footprints behind them. Once they get to the end of the paper, they can walk on the grass back to the plates, reload their toes, and walk again. As your kids paint, you can talk about how the prints get lighter near the end of the paper. (A great lead in to talking about shades of color.) Not only will your kids have fun making art, they’ll get a good sensorial experience too.
You can make your next trip to the playground an art experience as well with minimal materials and effort. Simply bring along a sheet of paper (larger is nice, but anything will do) and some markers. Set the paper up underneath a playground swing. Then have your child put their belly on the swing and push themselves with their feet, marker in hand. As they swing over the paper, they should draw on it however they feel inspired – lines, swirls, anything. The movement of their body will add an interesting dynamic to the drawing experience. The final product may not be much to look at, but it’s more about the process than the product for this art experience.
If you’re experiencing a bright, sunny day, it’s the perfect time to do some shadow drawing. Collect some items from your home (plastic animals or Lego creations work great for this) and set each one on the edge of a piece of paper. Point out the shadow made by the object, and have kids outline the shadow. If possible, leave your objects in place for a couple of hours and come back. Note how the shadow has changed and outline it again. Repeat the outlining as often as you like. When finished, your child’s picture will be a series of concentric shapes reflecting both the object that they used and how the light changed its shadow over time.
You don’t need paint or pencils to make art outside. Nature provides everything you need if you look close enough. Sticks, plants, and pebbles are the perfect elements for a nature collage. Go for a walk near home or just give your kids some time to explore and gather nature items that appeal to them. Have kids arrange their collage on a piece of paper and either glue down or just put in place to create temporary arrangement. Have kids take their collage to the next level by outlining their objects in concentric rings, or leave collages (made on construction paper) in the sun and let the light bleach out the surrounding color making sun shadow art.
What are some things you like to do outside for art?