Thursday, August 11, 2011

natural camping crafts

  As a part of our daily rhythm at home we have crafts (or painting, drawing, baking, etc.) every day after quiet time.  Last week when we were out at the cabin at Olallie Lake then, I wanted to carry something of the sort with us into our temporary outdoor life.  For a bit of a change, and also to embrace the natural world we were celebrating, I scoured the internet for outdoor natural craft ideas.

 We brought along a bunch of yarn, string, wire, paper, crayons and a manual drill to make manifest the myriad projects, but we also used many of the organic materials we found as we wandered the lakeside and hiking trails.  It was a great change-up from our standard watercolors, beeswax and glitter and Naiya especially enjoyed the daily treasure hunts.

One of the first things we put together was inspired by all the tangled bits of fishing line we found on our little beach.  This mobile is perhaps hard to see as it hangs from the rafters of our cabin porch but it is composed of that found fishing line, pine cones, shells and smooth water sculpted segments of wood.  The trick was attaching all the pieces to create balance and beauty that delightfully twirled in the afternoon breeze.

From Donni over at The Magic Onions we found this pretty pendant idea.  (Click here for a quick tutorial.)  Pendants can, of course, be made from anything found including small stones, seed cones, shells or even pretty pieces of wood.

I remember making these as a child and I found a tutorial for an Ojo de Dios or God's Eye over at Natural Suburbia.  We used found wood for these and made them with either two or three sticks.  I think they're prettiest with some kind of variegated yarn.

We were hoping to locate a greater variety of flowers but even with just the lupin and a few buttercups we were able to do some flower pounding and fill our cabin with a wall full of art.  We found a flower pounding tutorial from At the Butterfly Ball and had even brought along a hammer for this activity.  In the end, Naiya preferred using a flat, smooth stone she found.  We must have done "flower mash" (as she called it) two or three times a day.

Another activity that consumed our little one was just pounding nails and drilling screws into stumps we found lying about.  For some reason the cabins at the lake always seem to have stray hardware around their perimeters.  (The result of poor clean-up from the refurbishing done some years ago?)  Anyhow, we remembered this and brought the hand drill for just this purpose.  It's still a little unwieldy for a four year old so we opted for hammering more often that drilling.  Again, those smooth, flat rocks come in mighty handy.

  There were some other great fellow blogger finds that we just never got around to...
  At Ordinary Life Magic we found a couple of ideas including cute Woodland Elves and some sweet Nature Fairie Dolls.  Perhaps next time we'll have time for those (and remember to bring glue.)

  Kelly at Freeflowing Ways has a tutorial on these lovely Pressed Flower Sun Catchers.  We didn't bring any tissue paper when we went camping but still plan to try these at home.

  Over at Acorn Pies, Beth has a tutorial on How to Make a Toy Boat out of Sticks.  Since we were lakeside, we thought this would be great fun.  It turned out to be too difficult for the four year old and we just threw chunks of bark in the water instead.  We'll certainly try this one again when she's older though.

  Lastly, from Lady of the Arts we found a how-to for Nature Marionettes.  I'm thinking that these also would have been too difficult for a child as young as ours (and we didn't get around to trying them) but what fantastically creative women there are out there in blogland!

  Do visit them if you get a chance and, while the weather holds, we hope you have the opportunity to enjoy all the goodness Nature provides for art projects of your own.


  1. What a wonderful post! I hope to try some of these ideas. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I love the idea of having crafts every day after rest. A lovely collection of crafts.

  3. Thanks for coming to enjoy them! :)

  4. I love this post! So simple and handy. Thanks for sharing all the great links and you're beautiful family creations.
    PS we were just hammering today for fun and I think the smooth stones win over the hammer for sure.

  5. Thankyou so much for posting these ideas. We just went to the coast this last weekend and because of your post I took some planned craft materials with us. My little girls loved the flower pounding and we found cuttlefish to be perfect for drilling with a hand drill to make a mobile.

  6. oh, I forgot to add that one of the other crafts we did was drawing on hot rocks. I dumped our smooth rocks in boiling water and the girls drew on them with crayons. The crayons melt on the rocks and they loved the heat packs until they cooled down. The rocks don't actually need to be terribly hot to work so my 2 year old was quite able to do this craft too (a 2 year old with a hammer is quite amazingly proficient but scary nevertheless!). Of course only after collecting my rocks did I think about collecting light coloured ones! Oh no! They were, however, still popular.

  7. Great! Glad they were useful. I've seen that crayon/hot rock craft before and wondered how it would work for very young ones. Maybe one day we'll try it. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I love your post, wonderfull Ideas and soul. Hello from Israel

    1. Thanks Michmich. Glad you enjoyed the post. Hello back at you from the Pacific Northwest.


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