Inspired, Naturally: Ten Crafts and Activities from the Great Outdoors
March 15, 2012
I'm nuts about nature, and thankfully my children are too! Unfortunately, living in Texas makes it somewhat challenging to enjoy the great outdoors, with 110 degree temperatures in the summer and being hunted by mosquitoes most of the year. Nevertheless, we try to enjoy as much time outside as possible. Plus, it affords us the opportunity to catch up with friends on the block and find out what's going on in the lives of our neighbors.
Being outside is also a natural cure-all for many things, like temper-tantrums, high-energy personalities, fussy babies, stress (from the fussy baby), and life's challenges in general. Breathing in the sweet smells of spring, listening to the sounds of birds, watching ducks dive for food at the lake, rolling down a hill—there's a world of adventure waiting just beyond your front door!
Take a look at the following outdoor activities to see what might inspire you:
- Pack up some paints and an easel and head down to the lake. One Saturday morning while running along the lake near our house, I noticed several artists making camp along the shoreline with their easels and paints. They were painting the trees, wildlife, blue sky and sailboats - whatever caught their eye and captivated their imagination at that moment.
- Make (or buy) a bird house or bird feeder. I'll admit I'm not super handy with a hammer and a nail, so a trip to Wild Birds Unlimited suits me just fine. Nothing beats taking the girls along to pick out a new birdfeeder to attach to the kitchen window or hang in the front garden. And we joyfully anticipate each new spring when our resident birds return to nest and hatch sweet babies in the backyard bird house.
- Explore new nature trails in your community. Head out to a nearby nature center, hiking trail or wildlife refuge and explore your surroundings! Identify bugs, birds, plants, trees and flowers and allow your heart to overflow with appreciation for our beautiful planet.
- Press flowers. What a wonderful way to preserve the treasures you find outdoors. Take it a step further and create a pressed flower bookmark or placemat. Mother's Day isn't too far away, you know.
- Make tree or leaf rubbings. Discover some of the wonderful textures found in nature. I love to examine the simplistic beauty of lines and patterns in different leaves.
- Go for a walk in the rain. I vividly remember how much fun I had as a child walking barefoot down the street splashing in every puddle that I came upon. Of course now we have trendy raincoats with coordinating rain boots and umbrellas, so whatever your fashion preference may be, take advantage of some fresh spring rain the next time you have the chance.
- Rent a canoe or kayak. Last spring I took my oldest daughter out on the lake in a two-seat kayak. What an amazing experience! We had the best time talking and taking in the scenery while picking up trash along the shoreline.
- Make a rock necklace. Go on a treasure hunt for a special rock or two, and use leather cord or colorful string, along with some hot glue, to tie around the rock and wear on your neck.
- Plant fresh flowers or herbs in the garden. You don't have to have a green thumb to enjoy digging your hands into the earth and planting bulbs, annuals, perennials or herbs. Select a part of your yard that could use some freshening up, or spruce up your front porch with some brightly-colored flowers. We love clipping fragrant flowers to decorate the house and fresh herbs to prepare meals.
- Take pictures. When you're behind the lens of a camera, everything takes on a different perspective. Perhaps it's the act of slowing down long enough to consider where you are and what surrounds you. Or maybe it's narrowing your focus and examining an object with more intentionality. Ansel Adams said, "When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."