Use these ready-made lesson plans for forest school art activities to take art outdoors and create art projects using natural materials.
Forest school art projects
Taking art outdoors is a wonderful way to celebrate nature’s beauty and make use of the natural materials available in your forest classroom. Handling natural materials speaks to our senses and gives us a tactile connection with the environment.
By spending time creating the circles and patterns involved in nature mandala, for example, we are encouraged to slow down, pay close attention to the materials we are using, and have a direct connection between us and our environment.
In this article you will learn:
:: which natural materials you can use to create art
:: ideas for forest art projects you can use in your forest school
:: ways to incorporate seasonal art projects to enrich a curriculum based around the cycle of the year
Ready-made forest school lesson plans
Make your forest school teaching easier using our ready-made outdoor lesson plans.
The Forest Classroom: a beginner’s guide to forest school will give you the confidence, ideas and practical plans to lead forest school lessons with your children.
Our best-selling guide gives you over 40 lessons plans and 16 practical printable sets that you can use in your forest school setting, school yard/playground, local park or your own backyard to run a forest-school style curriculum.
The lessons are suitable for children aged 4 to 10 and cover a broad range of subjects including nature study, math, literacy, science, arts and crafts, and wellbeing.
See more and get your copy of The Forest Classroom here, for easy, ready-made outdoor lessons you and your children will love.
Art projects using natural materials
You can use natural materials found in your forest classroom for art projects, but do give thought to, and discuss with your children, which materials to gather.
Decide what guidelines you will have for collecting materials from your environment.
:: Will you only use fallen items or will you pick from trees and plants?
:: How much material do you want to collect?
:: Be sure everyone joining in is clear about any plants or materials to avoid touching, and remind your children about the rules you have in place about tasting any items.
Items from the forest classroom which can be good art materials can include:
:: leaves, both fresh and dried
You can also make your own paint using berries such as blackberries.
Forest school art projects
You can offer art projects outdoors as part of your continuous provision, as ‘invitations to create’, and as special projects for special events such as to welcome spring or mark the coming of autumn.
Ideas for art stations you can offer as continuous provision include:
:: having a white sheet placed on floor on which to lay out patterns and pictures made from natural materials
:: having an upright easel set out for drawing/painting with mud
:: using an empty picture frame as a place to create art
:: having a ‘mark making corner’ with a great selection of twig ‘pens’
:: and having an ‘art materials’ shelf full of natural art materials, freely available for your children to use
A daily ‘invitation to create’ can be a written challenge or one you share in your ‘opening the session’ circle time. (See The Forest Classroom for ideas on how to structure your session.) For example you might invite your children to engage with art by asking:
:: ‘Can you make a pattern with these leaves?’
:: ‘Can you make an owl?’
:: ‘What can you make with these twigs?’
You might also create special art projects throughout the year, both to focus on exploring new materials and skills, and to mark special occasions such as the new seasons.
The Forest Classroom gives you ready-made lesson plans to lead art lessons that explore nature’s colour wheel (with a printable colour wheel to assist your teaching), leaf printing, clay faces, and nature mandalas.
Seasonal art projects for forest school
Seasonal art projects are fun to mark the cycle of the year and make use of the natural materials that are available in each season.
:: nature mandalas make a beautiful ritual for the equinox and solstice
:: flower crowns are pretty for summer
:: leaf printing is perfect in autumn, to make wreaths and crowns
:: and twig weaving and painting on snow are great for the winter months
You’ll find full details of all these projects and more in The Forest Classroom
The Forest Classroom :: download your ready-made forest school lesson plans
A forest classroom is a place of adventure, discovery, and imagination. It can also be a wonderful place to learn about math and science, explore art and crafts, and develop language and social skills.
The Forest Classroom is a practical guide which will show you how to engage your children in fun and educational forest-school activities.
These ready-made forest school lesson plans are suitable for forest school leaders, teachers, childcarers and parents with children aged 4 to 10, to learn in a forest, school nature area, local park or your own backyard.
Get your copy of The Forest Classroom here and you’ll be ready to head straight outdoors and enjoy teaching, using our ready-made lesson plans.