Here’s a fantastic outdoor art idea that’s perfect for forest school. We’re using natural materials found in the forest to make clay faces on tree trunks.
How to make clay faces on tree trunks
The forest provides and abundance of natural materials that we can use for a forest school art lesson.
:: natural clay (or play dough if you’re working indoors)
:: natural materials such as leaves, twigs, pine cones and needles, seeds, bark
Begin by gathering natural art materials from the forest floor.
Make sure your children know what is safe to gather and then have them collect a selection of materials to use as loose parts to make their clay sculptures.
Give each child a chunk of natural clay and get them to knead it to soften it. This is a wonderful exercise to develop hand and wrist strength.
(If you’re working indoors, you can use play dough as an alternative to clay.)
Then find a good tree and firmly press your clay on to the bark of the trunk. Use your fingers to form the clay into the outline of your sculpture’s face. You might build the shape up to create a nose, chin, and ears.
You might know straight away what face you want to make, or you might play with the clay until it begins to form into a face of its own.
Use the natural materials you have gathered from the forest floor to add details to your clay face.
You can use sticks, fir cones, leaves, and pine needles.
You might use a stick to draw marks into the clay.
You can create friendly faces or scary ones.
Maybe you’d like to make an animal?
Go on a walk around your forest art gallery and take a look at all the clay faces your group has created.
As we’re using all natural materials, the sculpture can be left to return to the forest floor once the wind and rain have done their work on the sculptures.
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Seasons School is NurtureStore's year-round program of living and learning with nature. Our activities and resources focus on hands-on, nature-based learning that connects children with the natural environment.
If you're looking for nature study lessons, arts and craft projects, campfire recipes, foraging ideas, outdoor math and literacy activities, outdoor games, and ways to explore forests, gardens, and outdoor spaces - think of NurtureStore as your forest fairy godmother!
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