Engaging in Nature Art
Eco art is well known in the art therapy community and I wanted to provide two tangible ways to bring this into your own home. There are numerous benefits to engaging with natural materials including supporting the environment by minimizing waste and connecting with mother nature in meaningful ways. In addition there are numerous benefits to engaging in creativity including feeling better about oneself, seeing tangible accomplishment, and self-regulation for the nervous system as we are often focused in the present while in the creative process. Here are two ways to engage in nature art:
1. Nature Mandala's
Finding any items from nature you wish to use that you find naturally on the ground, such as sticks, stones, fallen flower petal, pinecones, and leaves. Starting with a centre item and creating layers of circles around the centre. Continue the circles until you feel it is complete or until you run out of materials. Provide opportunity for your child(ren) to share about what they created and how they felt while creating it. I also encourage parents to make one while their child is making their own.
2. Clay & Nature
You will need clay, something to cut shapes or a safe tool to carve the shapes, something to create a small hole at the top of the clay sculpture (if you wish to hang it), modge podge, paint brush, cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and items from nature you wish to press into the clay (petals from a flower, fallen leaves, grass, or any other items that can easily be pressed.) Following this press clay flat and carve shapes, place on cookie sheet with wax paper, then choose nature item to press in, help your child(ren) to ensure it is pressed in well so it is flush with the clay around, create a hole at the top, allow to dry and then modge podge. Once dry you can put a string through it and hang it outside to enjoy all summer long.
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I have been working with parents for over 10 years. I have learned a great deal from them as well as from parenting my own children. It has taught me that parenting is the most trying job there is, requires the support of a village, and with the right supports can be truly rewarding.