Kids Creating Art with Nature

Each month I’ll be bringing you a fun children’s activity from Freaky Rivet’s co-founder, Iyas. This month’s activity looks like a great group activity! You can learn more about Iyas and my affiliate partner Freaky Rivet at the bottom of this post.

Spring time in the North, autumn in the South. These in-between seasons are wonderful for getting out and acquainted with nature. And to get creative with it. Our activity this month has your kids taking a walk in the park, the woods, the beach or just your backyard and having some fun and creativity.

There’s an amazing artist called Andy Goldsworthy, who used nature for all his major artworks. We don’t mean for inspiration, or to paint it. We mean actually using it. He would create installations using whatever nature had thrown up around him, and leave them there in their environment. Simple, environmentally friendly, and frankly, cheap!

This month’s activity is to be mini-Andy Goldsworthys. Ideally, show them a little of his work for inspiration, then getting out there to do it. They can see in his work that there’s a lot to take inspiration from.


We’re going to make some kind of a sculpture or collage using things that we find out wherever we happen to be. We can only use safe stuff (we’re not out to recreate the Blair Witch Project here), we can’t rip stuff off trees, and we can’t swipe stuff that belongs to someone else. Oh, and for those of you who parent the most mischievous, we can’t take anything illegal either!

The main thing is for them to explore all kinds of different things that they come across: leaves; interestingly shaped rocks; ice; acorns; twigs; mud; feathers. Goldsworthy even used his own saliva once to stick together an ice sculpture. Euch!

If it’s in your yard, it doesn’t even need to be just stuff found in nature – buckets, pots, dad, or any other unnatural object is also fine. Although using nature is nice, as it’s a great way to get familiar with it when they spend most of their time indoors, we’re really just aiming to get their creativity going without restriction.  Encourage them to look for different colours, shapes and textures.

Then have them either create the sculpture with them where you are, or if it’s in the yard, find a spot that they like or means something to them, and have them make it there. Give them tips (little stuff (twigs) on top of big stuff (dad), light stuff (feathers) on top of heavy stuff (dad), etc.).

Once they’re done, you need to get them to create the most pretentious name they can come up with for their artistic creation, and then can snap it with their camera (and post it in our club once we’re launched), put it on your Facebook so you can show off your progeny’s creativity, or print out for a scrap book. But then, because it came from nature, it needs to go back there again, and nature can continue to change their art with rain, wind, storms or animals. Simple, and fun.

P.S. for our video, we wanted coffee while the kids got on with it. So we sat in, read the newspapers, had conversations with each other as adults, and then came out at the end to congratulate them. They clearly missed the whole bit about ‘nature’. Which serves us right for being the absolute role models of passive parents this morning. Well done on “Michael in the Wilderness”!

Freaky Rivet was founded by Iyas, the author of this article and father of four, and Kevin, an ex-teacher of over a thousand children, who now runs activity days for schools. Iyas used to lead an organisation of nearly 500 people, which he left for the bigger challenge of herding his four children with his wife around Latin America for 6 months. During this life-changing trip to recover from the corporate world, he was disturbed to see how easily children’s natural curiosity, discovery and energy could be side-tracked when a video game was in the vicinity. Deciding that technology was still essential for our children, but that it shouldn’t be given free reign instead of kids exploring, moving and creating, he decided with Kevin, an old friend from their time together at Oxford University, to come up with the Freaky Rivet concept – inviting children into a life of activity, of exploration and of discovery by using technology rather than fighting it. In his spare time (kidding, right?) he runs a charity for children living in disadvantaged and war-torn environments.

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