Google+ Authentic Parenting: Art From Nature

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Art From Nature

written by Iyas

Winter, summer, autumn or spring - there's always so much to see and enjoy in the fresh air. Here's an activity for your kids to spice up an afternoon in the woods, the park, on the beach, or in your garden with a little creativity. Anywhere you can grab a coffee while they get on with this safe but fun activity.
There's an inspirational artist called Andy Goldsworthy. What makes him special is that all his artworks use nature as their paint and canvas. He creates installations with whatever nature has thrown up around him, and leaves them there in their environment. Simple, environmentally friendly, and frankly, cheap!
To get your kids in the mood and give them some inspiration, try looking at some of his work with them before setting out. There are a ton of patterns and shapes - something is bound to awe and inspire.
They're going to make some kind of a sculpture or collage using things that they find wherever they happen to be. It must be something safe, it can't involve ripping things off living plants (or animals or humans for that matter!), and it can't use anything that belongs to anyone else.
Oh, and it must be legal!

Either create the sculpture with them where you are, or if it's in the yard, find a spot that they like or means something to them, and have them make it there.

The real beauty of this activity is for them to explore the different colours, shapes and textures that are out there. Acorns. Shells. Twigs. Stones. Leaves. Ice. Mud. Feathers. Goldsworthy even used his own saliva (euch) once to stick together an ice sculpture. If it's in your yard, it doesn't even need to be just natural stuff. My kids, on a cartoon bender, decided they wanted to use buckets, pots, and shovels. In fact, any unnatural object within reason is fine. Even dad.

The point is to get their imagination going, not just to stick to a rule of using the living environment for its own sake - although this is a great way to get familiar with it. Give them tips - for instance little stuff (twigs) on top of big stuff (dad), light stuff (feathers) on top of heavy stuff (dad), gentle stuff (leaves) on top of rough stuff (dad), etc.

Once they're done, have them take a snap with your camera. Post it up on our Facebook page if you like. But then, they should let it go - it came from nature, and will head back into nature. Nature will take it over, and change it with rain, wind, storms or animals around it.

P.S. For the video, we wanted coffee while the kids got on with it. So we sat in, read the newspapers, had conversations with each other as adults, and then came out at the end to congratulate them. They clearly missed the whole bit about 'nature'. Which serves us right for being the absolute role models of passive parents this morning...
P.P.S. Despite indications to the opposite, no father was harmed in the creation of this activity. We'll try harder next time.


Freaky Rivet was founded by Iyas, the author of this article and father of four, and Kevin, an ex-teacher of over a thousand children and who also runs activity days for schools. Iyas used to lead a business and technology consulting organisation of nearly 500 people, which he left for the bigger challenge of herding his four children with his wife around Latin America for 6 months. During this life-changing trip to recover from the corporate world, he discovered both the subtly addictive nature of gadgets and technology for children, and their ability to enjoy exploration, discovery and activity when peeled away from the technology. It was this eureka moment that led him with Kevin, an old friend from their time together at Oxford University, to come up with the Freaky Rivet concept - inviting children into a life of activity, of exploration and of discovery by using technology rather than fighting it. In his spare time (kidding, right?) he runs a charity for children living in disadvantaged and war-torn environments.


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photo credit: andreco via photopin cc



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