nature based art crafts project for toddlers aged 3 to 5 years old.
Kindergarten Activities,  Lifestyle,  Raising Kids,  Subscription Boxes

Easy Backyard Nature Art for Toddlers

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I was inspired to do this art project by my son’s school. During the early childhood developmental stages, the school focuses on nature-based art. All or most art projects and materials come from their school campus (granted they are situated on over 150 acres).

In a world of AI-created art, art created by nature is grounding and takes us back to a simpler time. Art created by collecting items from nature has many names: Land Art, Earth Art, Environmental Art, and Earthworks.

Earth Art is associated with spirituality and religion in some cultures but it can also be a fun (and enlightening) art project to do with young children!

What You Need to Create Easy Backyard Nature Art for Toddlers

These are the items we used but feel free to substitute, subtract, or add to the list!

What to Buy

These are the things I had to purchase. You may have these around your house so use what you have.

8x10 canvas board is perfect for kids art projects

A Small to Medium Canvas Panel: Some common sizes are 5″ x 7″ and 8″ x 10″. Choose the one that fits your needs. For this project, I chose to use 8″ x 10″ because we were putting “nature” on and would need more room but you can go bigger or smaller.

Washable, Non-Toxic Paints: For this project, the paint colors we chose were green (grass), blue (sky), and black with silver sparkles (night sky). We love the Apple Barrel paints, they work well for kids’ projects, come in convenient squeeze bottles, and are affordable. For different landscapes, feel free to switch it up for tan to show a beach scene, orange for a sunset, silver for snow, or brown for mountains. Let your creativity shine!

What are the best paintbrushes and cups for toddlers and young kids?

Paintbrushes: We have been subscribing to Monthly Art Subscription Boxes for years so we have a large collection of paintbrushes. You want something a bit more durable and thicker for smaller kids. Some options even come with plastic cups so you can pour the paint out into them or use them for water to clean your brushes.

Foam Sponge Paint Brushes: These types of brushes are very versatile and easy to use for toddlers / small kids. They leave an even texture on canvas and can apply paint to a large area with ease. They can be washed with soap and water and reused again and again.

Foam Sponge Paint Brushes with Wooden or Plastic Handles are Perfect for Toddlers and Small Children to Paint Projects and Large Areas

Having trouble getting paint out of your paintbrushes and foam sponge brushes? Check out these ingenious ways to clean paintbrushes.

foam stickers of animals to create natural art projects for toddlers and little kids

Foam Animal Stickers: Really any type of sticker will work but something with a little texture is always fun!

Items You Probably Already Have

Kids Artist Apron or Smock: If you’re an artsy and craftsy family you probably have one but if not they can be purchased on Amazon at any price point you can imagine. If you like the one Oliver is wearing, we bought it from the amazing Kid’s Art Box Subscription Box website because we are huge fans of their monthly arts and crafts boxes. Please note Kid’s Art Box was formerly called Mommy & Me Art Box (so cute!).

Mommy and Me Art Box - Also Known As Kids Art Box - Cute Blue Kids Artist Apron with Pockets

Glue: We loved using a large “glue pen” clear glue but other glues that work are regular clear glue or if you’re in a pinch regular white glue. I love using the clear one as it dries a little cleaner and less cakey.

Large Clear Glue Pen for Toddler Art Projects

It needs to dry clear and not cakey because just look at how much glue we have there! What is it with kids and squeezing the glue bottle until it’s empty?

Cookie Sheet / Baking Sheet: I think most of us have that cookie sheet or baking pan that has seen better days. Let’s take this opportunity to level up YOUR baking game and donate that old baking sheet to your kids’ arts and crafts. By the way, these baking sheets are PERFECTION!

Using old baby / toddler plates bowls divided plates for paint projects is perfect for small children reduce reuse recycle!

Containers for Paints and Water – To be eco-friendly, I started using things I already own as paint-holders. I love using Oliver’s old, plastic or bamboo divided plates, and bowls from when he was a baby/toddler. I also use things that I find around the kitchen like small glass/metal cups and bowls as well as aluminum foil baking cups which are sturdy and easily recyclable.

Floor and/or Table Large Protective Sheet or Mat: I was too late! As you can see from some of the photos, I just had my son sit on our rug (which was the amazing Under the Nile Rug). And, let’s say this little rug went from being our rec room rug to being the “arts and crafts rug”. IYKYK. I would suggest a silicone mat or a canvas drop cloth (which you may have in our closet).

Dishrags / Old Towels:

Garden Sheers or Scizzors

Items from Nature

Sticks and twigs

Groundcover such as moss

Bark Pieces and woodchips

Pinecones and Nuts


Rocks and Pebbles

Fallen Bird feathers





Grass and Grassy Greens

Make it Extra Fun With These Bonus Items

Eco-friendly confetti

Sparkly Stickers / Jewels

Frame for hanging your beautiful artwork

String, Yarn, or Colorful Ribbon


Printed out Photos

Pasta / Noodles

Dry Beans

Pencil Shavings

Natural Sponges

Pipe Cleaners

Wool and Stuffing

Cut Up Old Fabric Pieces

Shells from Nuts (such as Pistachio and Walnuts)

Let’s Get Started Creating Natural Art

Learning Opportunities at Every Turn

Use Rakuten to Get Cash Back for FREE

Bonus tip: Undoubtedly, Install RAKUTEN on your browser to get cash back on your purchases! It’s FREE and easy to sign up for. For example, if you wish to shop for Arts and Crafts Supplies at Walmart or Michaels, you can get between 1% – 4% cashback. Rakuten costs you nothing and you’ll get a “big fat check” once every few months with all the cash back you accrue.

More on the Blog

Looking for other Kid’s Activities or Kid’s Activities Boxes? Additionally, check out the other sections of my blog and feel free to leave a comment or contact me on social media under @MalibuKarina everywhere including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn (I’m everywhere).

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