Having reached the grand old age of seven, Elsie is now an expert in pretty much everything. Today she’s offering up a range of ideas to get your creative sprogs outside. Some of these suggestions are tried and tested… solid ideas that will help your children get out and about and explore their imagination. Others… well, despite being an expert in all things fun and imaginative, there’s still a little work to do on practicality and common sense before she’s ready to leave home. After running through her ideas for outdoor creative activities for kids, she was ready to hear one of mine. I’m pretty sure it passed the fun-with-mom test, so between us I can confirm the Twin Pickle Think Tank is going pretty well.
*This post is sponsored by NaturePrint paper*
Elsie’s carefully, yet spontaneously considered, outdoor creative activities for kids:
We are lucky enough to live in a house constructed in the late 1980’s. A time when landscaping usually involved pebbles rather than gravel. It may not be so popular with homeowners now, but it has been a great resource for various projects at school and home. We have a fine selection of pebbles in our yard – if you don’t, get out there and find some. You can paint your pebbles in any way you like, how about pebble bugs, Tic Tac Toe, or recreating the rock trolls from Frozen?
When Elsie suggested this, I’m not entirely sure if she meant cutting flowers from the outdoors to bring in, or planting flowerbeds in the garden at home. Either way… I’m liking both ideas!
Picking fruit and baking a fruit pie in the sun
Er… This is where things went a little off piste. Elsie loves to bake, and in true avant-garde spirit, she wants to test out baking in the Arizona sun. I did see a YouTube video once of someone cooking steak on Arizona asphalt in the height of summer, so I’m not ruling it out. However, until we’ve hit the 120°s I’m not ready to even entertain the idea, and I really wouldn’t suggest trying it at home.
What kid doesn’t love a race? Why waste time leisurely enjoying the great outdoors, when you can turn it into a competitive speed sport? Collect as much as you can, as fast as you can!
We’re returning to a somewhat sensible suggestion here. Elsie has always had a thing for puppet shows and frequently makes puppets on sticks to play with. Explore for leaves, flowers, sticks and feathers, and create a collection of nature puppets. You may even find the perfect setting for the show.
Although you can make paper airplanes inside, if you make them properly, they are much more fun to fly outside. A well made airplane can get some decent distance, so construct and tweak your design, and see what works best. For a good starting point, check out this tutorial for the best paper airplane ever… (although there are a lot of people claiming this title on youtube so I think someone needs to step in an officiate).
Homemade juice paint to make rocks into easter eggs
Now I know it was Easter last weekend, so Elsie was in the egg painting mind set, but we’re back to the fruit picking. I tried to explain that the juice from the grapefruit in our yard is likely too watery to give good color to a rock, but she wasn’t convinced. Needless to say I do not recommend painting with grapefruit juice… however, there are plenty of natural food colorings you can make yourself (including those from fruit), and there is no reason these couldn’t be used as paints. I love this fun video on making homemade colorings (despite the slightly dramatic intro about poisoning our organs with artificial dyes).
Build a rockpool birdbath
Kids love digging holes, it’s personally satisfying… I understand why dogs are into it. Elsie suggests digging a hole, decorating with pebbles and filling with water. She also suggests making a sign saying ‘only birds allowed’ to keep away potential predators.
And what we really did this past weekend…
All these creative juices were putting the pressure on Mom this past weekend to offer something awesome for Elsie to get stuck into. As well as her role as Think Tank Chairman, Elsie takes her role of Chief Blog Product Tester very seriously, so when she got her hands on some NaturePrint Paper she was excited to put it to the test.
NaturePrint Paper is a photosensitive paper that doesn’t require any fancy chemicals to develop. It’s crazy simple, which I consider an important factor in the success of family fun. Outdoor creative activities for kids have to be easy to get started, or they get bored listening to instructions and your idea is axed for a round of ‘Nature Run’ (see above). Once Elsie and I had experimented with a few different images, she was hooked and I left her to it. She really enjoyed watching the paper change color and seeing how different pictures turned out. We laid over plants, toys, rocks and anything else we fancied trying, and Elsie particularly enjoyed the little stencils that came with the ‘sun printing kit’ (the butterfly shown above is one of the stencils… no real butterflies were harmed in the making of this blog post).
There is more information, including where to buy, on the NaturePrint Paper website, so do go and have a looksy. Rather that go into detail about how to use it, we made this little video showing all the action…
NaturePrint Paper passes the ‘outdoor activities for kids’ testing panel here at Twin Pickle, and Elsie gives it a solid thumbs up! And if you don’t fancy the paper, you can always try baking a fruit pie in the sun…
Related Elsie Posts:
- Banned Google Interview Questions: Smashed by a Six Year Old;
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies: Elsie in the Kitchen;
- Who’s on Santa’s Naughty / Nice List: Elsie Decides;
- Child Organizational Skills: A Tale of Two Ninjas;
- Poopcrastination: A Child’s Guide to Difficult Questions;
*This post is sponsored by NaturePrint paper*