It's time to find your collecting baskets again for this latest installment of Bring the Outdoors In. Today we will be heading outdoors to collect sticks of varying lengths and shapes. All you will need to complete this project is, a basket for collecting, sticks and salt dough. A recipe for making salt dough can be found here.
Set your little ones to work collecting sticks to fill their basket. I showed Sean and Isabel how to carefully break the sticks in half if they were too big. Isabel was particularly fond of this activity. With older children, you can encourage them to find sticks of varying shapes and sizes. Ask them to consider what they would like to create using their sticks.
Once you are satisfied with the sticks you have collected, head indoors to your work space.
Introduce your children to the salt dough and demonstrate how to push the sticks into the dough. Once they have the idea, step back and watch the artists at work. With young toddlers and preschoolers, they will enjoy simply poking the sticks into a big, sturdy hunk of dough. Older children can be shown how to roll the dough into small balls to connect two sticks together to create more detailed/representational sculptures.
Sean clapped with joy and pride each time he was able to successfully poke a stick into the dough and make it stand up.
Once your children have completed their sculptures, place it in a sunny spot to air dry. This dough will usually take about 1-2 days to air dry depending on thickness. Even toddlers are able to create beautiful abstract art using natural materials. Once dried, salt dough can be painted using tempra paint to add another layer of beauty to your sculpture.
These sculptures can be brought back to nature and used to decorate your outdoor spaces as a picnic table centerpiece, or even place them in your own vegetable or flower garden to add a bit of whimsy to the space.
Christine can be found online on her blog Belly Bear Baby Gear, facebook, and her etsy shop: