Nature art frames

Nature art frames are really simple to make, fun to play with and create some wonderful images. They also encourage creativity, fine motor skills and engaging with nature with children of all ages and abilities. You just need a recycled piece of cardboard, a pen and some scissors to make a these. We hate to waste anything and recycling and reusing materials is one of many small things we can all do to help the environment. So instead of throwing away old cardboard boxes we like to find ways to use them in crafts and activities.

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Being able to engage with nature is so important for our physical and mental well being. Many studies have shown that spending time outdoors in nature helps lower levels of  anxiety, stress and depression in both adults and children. The changing nature of natural environments also stimulates the senses, natural curiosity and conversation, helping children to develop their language and vocabulary as well as physical motor skills, coordination confidence.

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Making nature art frames is also a great way to encourage people (children especially) to care about nature and the environment around them. We protect the things we care about, and in order to get more people to care about the wonderful world around us we first have to get them to enjoy it. 

To make your nature art frame you first need to draw a simple shape or picture onto the cardboard. Your shape or picture should have at least 1- 2 easy to cut out sections that you can then look through. You could draw anything from hearts and triangles to animals, objects and people.

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When you have cut out the see through sections of your frames, all you need to do is take them outside and hold them up against any of the interesting natural things you can see, like sky, trees, flowers, grass or water for example. The picture you see or create with the frames changes as you move the paper around. It is wonderful to see all the beautiful natural patterns, shapes and colours bring the pictures to life.

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You can also experiment with using different materials other than cardboard to make your nature art frames. Such as paper, newspaper, old wall paper, fabric scraps, thin plastic packaging. (just be careful when cutting plastic packaging not to leave sharp edges), foil or even wood. You could also add additional decorations or details to the nature art frames using pens, paint or collage.

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How about taking your nature frames out on a nature walk. You could then easily take photos of the nature art pictures you make as you go so you can compare the differences in backgrounds or print out the pictures to enjoy as artwork. You could even turn your photos into cards or seasonal calendars. Simply take a photo of the nature frames outside at different times of year, to see how the seasons affect and change the landscape and colours.

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You could also experiment by exploring different areas with the nature frames, so you can compare and contrast the different textures, patterns, shapes and colours you might find in different areas like the shore, woodlands, countryside, urban and freshwater environments. You could also theme the shape of the frames around the area you visit using boat of fish shapes for areas around water for example.

How about using the frames as teaching aids to learn and talk different animals or subjects. You could also pair the frames with different stories, songs, books or themes. For example the learning about the life cycle of a butterfly whilst reading about the Hungry Caterpillar. Or simply leave them out as loose play parts for the children to explore and experiment with in any way they like.

*For Day 7 of 30 Days Wild 2020 we had fun playing with nature art frames as we explored the woodland dens, lakes  and wildflowers at Swanwick Lakes nature reserve.

If you like this you might like to try:

14 Bee activities + fun facts

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20 Butterfly and caterpillar activities + fun facts

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10 Beetle activity ideas + fun facts

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