What are some good craft ideas? We’ve put together a great list of nature crafts and nature art projects for kids and adults of all ages you can try at home or in the classroom. (First published on August 31, 2018; this page is regularly updated and republished to add nature craft ideas and improve the content.)
This incredible collection of nature craft projects and nature art activities includes fun and easy ideas for crafting and creating art with acorns, flowers, leaves, mud, pinecones, rocks, shells, sticks, twigs, walnut shells, and more! We have arranged this list into categories based on the natural materials needed–and put them into alphabetical order–to make it even easier to find a new nature craft to try at home or in the classroom. Please scroll down to see them all!
We will continue adding easy crafts to this list of nature craft ideas as we create more nature crafts and nature art projects for kids and adults, so be sure to bookmark this page for easy reference! Making nature arts and crafts with these fun ideas helps children develop their creativity and improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, in addition to several other benefits. You might also enjoy this list of Fall Nature Crafts because autumn is one of the best times of year to make crafts with nature’s treasures.
The Best Nature Crafts and Nature Art Ideas that use Materials Found in Nature
When children ask, “What can I do for arts and crafts? or “What can I craft when I’m bored?” First, encourage them to go on a nature walk to hunt for and collect natural materials they can use to make nature arts and crafts.
Next, gather a few simple art and craft supplies such as paper, scissors, paper plates, pom poms, googly eyes, buttons, fabric, ribbon, clay, glitter, glue sticks (or hot glue), etc. Then use the natural treasures you find in nature to engineer crafts and use them for process art activities.
When your kids run out of ideas, offer your favorite nature crafts and nature art project ideas from the lists below. You will notice that each art and craft project idea has a craft supply list and a step-by-step tutorial to make it easy.
But please remember that these nature craft ideas are only suggestions. Encourage children to use the ideas shown here to create natural arts and crafts using the natural treasures they find outdoors in any way they please. In other words, use the lists of nature activities below as a springboard to inspire children’s natural creativity.
We’ve alphabetically arranged this list of nature crafts and nature art ideas to make it easy to find fun craft ideas with the kind of natural supplies and materials you have available. Click on the creator of each nature art or craft idea for all the DIY details. You might also enjoy this nature-matching game.
Here are a whole bunch of acorn craft ideas you can make with all the acorns and acorn caps that you find in nature:
- DIY Acorn Peg Dolls | Rhythms of Play – Here’s a cute set of handmade dolls that kids can make with acorn caps and peg dolls. Once finished, these sweet little acorn dolls are fantastic props and toys for imaginative or dramatic play.
- Rustic Acorn Marble Ornaments | Rhythms of Play – Collect some acorns and find marbles to make these rustic DIY ornaments for your Christmas tree.
- Acorn Frame | An Extraordinary Day – Make a simple photo frame with acorns and acorn caps.
- DIY Acorn Wreath | Tried and True – Use acorns to make a rustic wreath to hang on the door.
- Acorn Marble Necklaces | Rhythms of Play – Make gorgeous necklaces using natural acorn caps and glass marbles. Acorn jewelry is a fun nature craft and homemade gift idea for kids and adults! (photo below)
Fresh Flower Crafts
These nature craft ideas use real fresh flowers as the primary crafting material. This list of easy craft ideas includes nature activities and crafts that use real flowers to create natural art you can hang and enjoy. Encourage children to get outside to collect spring and summer flowers to make the fun nature arts and crafts on the list below. You might also enjoy this list of flower art projects and painting ideas for kids and adults.
- Top 10 Flower Suncatcher Crafts for Kids | Rhythms of Play – Use real flowers to add a pop of color to your windows with this easy nature craft idea for kids and adults.
- Nature Craft Printables: Masks, Crowns, Tiaras, and More | Rhythms of Play – Make nature crafts using natural materials (including real flowers and leaves) to make masks, crowns, tiaras, and more!
- Flower Nature Crafts for Kids and Teens | Rhythms of Play – Here’s a fun list of nature craft ideas made with fresh flowers and other natural materials. (Photo below)
Related: Marbled Clay Fall Leaves
Leaf Art Projects and Painting Ideas
There are many fun ways to make nature arts and crafts using real leaves. Here’s a list of autumn leaf art projects and painting ideas you can try. And we have fall leaf crafts on the list below. Or check out this list of fall art projects and painting ideas for even more autumn leaf art and craft ideas.
- Watercolor and Fall Leaf Art | Rhythms of Play – Use real fall leaves and watercolor paintings to create gorgeous nature art.
- Leaf Baby | Rhythms of Play – Make this cute leaf baby craft with real fall leaves. A book-inspired nature craft and activity for kids of all ages.
- Invitation to Create Fall Leaf Art | Rhythms of Play – Use this step-by-step tutorial to create fall leaf art with this easy nature art invitation using real fall leaves.
- Best Fall Nature Craft Ideas | Rhythms of Play – Here’s a list of fall nature arts and crafts with a few more ideas you can try.
Leaf nature crafts are not only for the fall. There are leaf arts and crafts on the lists below that you can try at home or in the classroom with children from toddlers to teens all year. Check out all of the fun ideas below.
- How to Press and Preserve Leaves | Rhythms of Play – Preserve the vibrant colors of autumn leaves and save them for leaf crafts and leaf art projects. Learn six easy ways to preserve fall leaves with this tutorial.
- Fall Leaf Crown Craft | Rhythms of Play – Make a beautiful fall headdress (crown or tiara) for a girl or boy of any age with this fall leaf craft idea.
- DIY Leaf Lantern | Rhythms of Play – Use a gorgeous array of autumn leaves to make beautiful fall lanterns and glowing luminaries with this step-by-step craft tutorial.
- Fall Leaf Lacing Beginning Sewing Activity | Rhythms of Play – It’s fun and easy to turn sturdy fall leaves into lacing cards with this beginning sewing project and craft for kids. And using real leaves makes this beginning sewing lesson an economical (and eco-friendly) handwork idea for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
- Thanksgiving Leaf Turkey Crafts | Rhythms of Play – Make leaf turkeys for Thanksgiving using natural fall leaves with this fun list of nature crafts for kids and adults.
- Thankful Tree with Real Leaves | Rhythms of Play – Make a thankful tree with bare branches and real fall leaves. Making a gratitude tree at home or in the classroom is much easier than you think.
- Heart Leaf Lanterns | Rhythms of Play – This leaf nature craft makes a gorgeous centerpiece with a candle for your dinner table and a great hostess gift idea. You can make this simple mason jar leaf luminary with or without the kids.
- Turkey Leaf Lanterns Nature Craft | Rhythms of Play – Use a mason jar, tissue paper, and an autumn leaf to make this simple nature craft for kids and adults. (photo below)
Related: 20 Ways to Play Outside in the Rain
Mud Art and Play Ideas
Mud is a classic art and craft material of childhood. It’s a sensory play material like play dough, but FREE. It’s fun to make mud pies on sunny days and rainy days. Mud is a craft material you can use to make nature art in many creative ways. Have a look at the list of mud play ideas below for inspiration:
- Mud Pie Nature Art | Rhythms of Play – Try this new twist on a classic mud pie with kids’ fun outdoor sensory art activity. (photo below)
- Paint with Mud – This is a fun sunny day and rainy day activity for kids. Mud painting is a nature art idea children from toddlers to teens love to create in any weather, spring, summer, fall, or winter. First, use sticks or paintbrushes to paint with mud on paper, the driveway, or the sidewalk. Next, wash it away in the rain, or have the kids wash it off with the hose when they finish creating mud art!
Related: Apple Button Tree Craft for Kids
Creating mandalas in nature is a fun STEAM activity for kids and adults with several educational, psychological, and spiritual benefits. Try either of the nature mandala craft ideas below!
- Nature Mandala Art and Craft Ideas | Rhythms of Play – See a few gorgeous nature mandala craft examples and Learn how to make mandala arts and crafts with nature’s treasures with these easy step-by-step instructions. (Photo below)
- Mud Pie Mandala Art | Rhythms of Play – This easy project tutorial will show you how to use mud and natural craft materials to make mud pie mandalas.
Oak Ball Crafts
Have you ever crafted with those funny little apple-shaped growths found on and around oak trees? We have, and it’s fun! Try either of the oak ball nature art and craft activity ideas below:
- Oak Apple Nature Craft | Rhythms of Play – Paint oak balls to look like apples with this fun nature craft for kids from toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners, to teens. (photo below)
- Paint Oak Balls – Oak apples are a free natural canvas found in abundance around oak trees. Children love painting them, and we recommend using biodegradable paints.
Related: Arts and Crafts for Kids
There are so many fun ways to use pinecones for arts and crafts. Try any of the pinecone craft ideas on the list below to get started. You might also enjoy this list of winter art projects and painting ideas for kids and adults.
- Rhinestone Pinecones | Rhythms of Play – Add a little bling to the pinecones you find in the great outdoors with this simple fine-motor nature activity and craft for kids.
- Easy Pinecone Ornaments | Rhythms of Play – Use this pinecone craft DIY to make rhinestone pinecone ornaments for your Christmas Tree.
- Pinecone crafts and activities for kids | Rhythms of Play – Here’s a fun list of pinecone crafts and activities for kids and adults.
- Pinecone Rosebud Card | Rhythms of Play – Use a small pinecone and a twig to make this easy and gorgeous rosebud card for mom, grandma, nana, aunt, or teacher. (photo below)
Rock Crafts and Stone Art
Here’s a list of rock nature crafts for young and old alike. Pick any of these rock crafts and painted rock ideas, and get rocking!
- How to Paint Rocks | Rhythms of Play – Rock painting is a fun nature craft for kids and adults. Learn how to paint rocks with the rock painting ideas on our rock craft ideas list.
- Painted Rock Fairy Houses Craft | Rhythms of Play – Turn any garden into a fairy garden with these cute painted rock fairy houses.
- Stone Owl Nature Craft | Rhythms of Play – Make stones into owls with this simple nature craft for kids.
- Rock Balancing Stone Stacking Art | Rhythms of Play – Stack rocks on top of each other to create fun stone sculptures with this fun nature art activity for kids and adults. But before you do, please click the link above to learn why rock balancing is discouraged and illegal in some areas. (photo below)
Use the shells you collect on your daily adventures and family travels to make nature arts and crafts. Once finished, shell crafts make great gift ideas. Find inspiration in the list of shell art and craft ideas below:
- DIY Shell Frames with Handprint Keepsake | Rhythms of Play – First, decorate wooden frames with shells. Next and add photos, artwork, handprints, or footprints inside. Finally, hang them on the wall or give them away as gifts.
- Shell Sunflower | Rhythms of Play – Make sunflower crafts using shells with this simple nature craft tutorial.
- Stone and Shell Owls | Rhythms of Play – Here’s a cute stone and shell craft idea for kids and adults. Small bicuspid shells make great owl eyes!
- Soothing Sea Shell Sensory Bottle | Rhythms of Play – Add seashells to any bottle from the recycle bin to make this calming sensory bottle DIY for kids.
- Easy Shell Daisy Nature Craft | Rhythms of Play – Use shells to make the simple daisy craft idea in the photo below.
Sun Art and Craft Activities for Kids
Have fun making arts and crafts on a sunny day with these sun art and craft ideas for kids and adults.
- Make Sunprints | Rhythms of Play – Make beautiful arts and crafts in the sun. Place natural objects on sun print paper and expose them to the sun for a STEAM activity children from toddlers to teens enjoy!
- Shadow Outdoor Art Project for Kids | Rhythms of Play – Make art with shadows and recycled DIY chalk paint with this fun outdoor STEAM project.
Twig Stick and Bare Branch Arts, Crafts, and DIYs
There are several creative ways to use twigs, sticks, and bare branches to create nature arts and crafts. Check out some of the fun nature activities you can make with sticks of all shapes and sizes, including driftwood, with the list of twig craft ideas below:
- Easy Felt Flowers on Twig Stems | Rhythms of Play – Enjoy flowers in the home all year with this easy twig craft idea for kids and adults. Psst, moms, grandmas, and teachers love it when they get a single felt flower, or an entire bouquet, on twig stems!
- Nature Paintbrushes | Messy Little Monster – Make paintbrushes out of natural materials to create art with this fun nature activity for kids.
- Rainbow Wind Chimes | Happy Hooligans – Homemade rainbow-colored wind chimes are a super easy nature craft for kids.
- Sea Glass and Driftwood Wind Chimes | Rhythms of Play – Here’s a garden craft made with sea glass beads and a piece of driftwood, or branch, that kids and adults can make together.
- Yarn Sticks | Babble Dabble Do – Start with a stick hunt outside, then grab a bunch of yarn to wrap them to make this easy nature craft.
- Nature Weaving | The Chaos and the Clutter – Use sticks–and other items from nature–to weave beautiful nature art.
- Spring Easter Tree | Rhythms of Play – Decorate an Easter Egg Tree with this fun DIY project you can make at home or in the classroom with kids of all ages.
- DIY Butterfly Tree | Rhythms of Play – Make a butterfly tree centerpiece for your dinner table or window with this easy DIY.
- Giant Stick Spider Web | Rhythms of Play – Make a spider web decoration with sticks with this fun Halloween stick craft idea.
- Thankful Tree with Real Fall Leaves | Rhythms of Play – Use bare branches and natural fall leaves to create a thankful tree.
- DIY Rainstick Musical Sensory Bottle | Rhythms of Play – Children of all ages love to self-soothe with this simple see-through rainstick made with sticks and other naturally sourced and recycled materials. (photo below)
Walnut Shell Crafts
How do you make crafts with walnut shell halves? We have a few simple walnut shell art and craft ideas for kids or adults. But before you get started with the walnut craft ideas below, let us show you the best way to quickly and easily crack walnuts open into perfect halves for crafts.
- Walnut Shell Manger Ornament | Rhythms of Play – Make walnut shell ornaments for the Christmas tree with this easy walnut shell craft idea.
- Easy DIY Nativity Scene with Walnut Craft | Rhythms of Play – Use craft sticks, peg dolls, and a half walnut shell to make this simple handmade nativity set.
- Walnut Mice | Red Ted Art – A nature craft that is fun to make after reading the classic nursery rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock!
- Walnut Turtles | No Time for Flash Cards – Did you know you can use walnuts to make turtle shell crafts? So cute!
Nature Crafts and Nature Art Projects for Kids
Use any nature craft and nature art idea on this massive list of ideas to create arts and crafts with natural materials. You might also enjoy fall nature crafts and this list of outdoor learning ideas and nature activities for kids.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
More Activities and Ideas for Kids
- How to Raise a Helper
- 15 Reasons to Climb a Tree
- Nature-Inspired Sensory Bottles
- Growing Sunflowers with Kids