One week for our art experience the teachers wanted to give the children an opportunity to explore nature in a more creative way so, they collected different types of leaves of different texture and small twigs to make nature inspired paint brushes. Small bunches of the leaves were tied to the twig using fishing line and then laid out on white paper with some cups filled with bright-colored paint.
The children did not hesitate to investigate throughout this provocation at all. They were very inquisitive and examined each of the brushes carefully by running their fingers through the leaves and feeling the outer texture of the rough and bumpy twig.
As they explored the twigs they dipped the brush into the paint cups and naturally stroked it onto the paper themselves. This was an amazing observation for the teachers. Previously the children have been given regular paintbrushes before and in using that type of brush the children didn’t show as much interest compared to using the nature inspired brushes. Even after stroking the paint onto the paper the children would run their fingers through the leaves and examine the paint they collected onto their fingers then proceed to dip the brush back into the cup of paint again. The infants not only enjoyed this nature experience but also were engaged during the provocation as they participated and explored for a significant amount of time.
There are many benefits in allowing children the opportunity to interact with nature. One of them being that nature is not only refreshing, but it is calming to a child and reduces stress, making it easier for them to participate in projects in the classroom. A diverse variety of plant life encourages the children to interact with nature in more ways and more frequently. Even at this age the children are learning through exploration how to differentiate twigs from leaves and understand that both come from Mother Nature. According to the Natural Learning Initiative, nature is crucial for children’s intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development.
Allowing the children to paint with an unconventional tool provides the children with valuable experience to think and explore outside of the box in a safe and educational environment as they connect with nature and paint.
“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
Reference and additional reading: