Nature’s Canvas: Making Winter Crafts

Reader Contribution by Crystal Stevens
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Winter months can be challenging for both parents and children. Everyone gets a case of cabin fever. Perhaps it is a lack of fresh air and sunshine. Maybe it has something to do with the shortage of home grown produce. Whatever the case may be, children get stir crazy and seem to acquire a heightened inquisitiveness. I like to keep my little ones busy with nature exploration. Nature is alive with perfect artistic beauty. Nature walks always manifest into wonderful adventures, even in the icy cold temperatures. The changing seasons not only astonish me, but always bring about marvel and amazement within my children. I love the way the beauty of the natural world creates a blank canvas for artistic endeavors, an endless supply of materials for nature mandalas and mobiles, and plenty of “bonding in nature” moments for my family and I. It is amazing to witness imagination coming to life at such an early age.

My daughter helped to make her first nature mandala a few days after she learned how to walk at just 13

months of age. Children are full of artistic expression and nature allows a platform for originality and a plethora of free colorful materials. While it was Andy Goldsworthy who won the world over with his profound nature art, art made from or inspired by natural materials can be traced back to the dawn of human civilization. We are wired with creativity. Plants are so versatile in their interconnectedness with us. Not only do they provide absolute beauty for us to gaze upon, and profound subject matter for art, but they provide paper for us to write upon, clothes to keep us warm, houses to keep us sheltered, and most importantly: food which sustains us in the form of a delicious and complex array of flavors that are packed with nutrients.  Live, eat and play artfully through nature’s beauty all around you. Get creative with nature’s canvas!

Get Creative in the Snow

Use your imagination to create unique snow art.

Create a breastfeeding snow mama, an 8-foot snow man or snow sculptures.  If you really want to impress your neighbors, friends and family, click here to be amazed by what one couple built.

Make an Artistic Winter Bird Feeder


various bowls or different sized containers (shallow containers work best)
natural items such as pine cones, pine needles, berries, seeds and grass
wild or native bird seed
twine or string


1) Collect items from nature

2) Fill your containers with water (about 3/4 full)

3) Loop the end of a 12 inch piece of twine and place half of it in the water

4) Arrange the containers artistically with items from nature

5) Sprinkle 1/2 cup of birdseed into each container

6) If the weather outside is below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), freeze overnight outside. If the temperature is above 32, put containers in the freezer overnight.

7) Hang the frozen sculpture feeder outside from a tree or near your window.

8) Enjoy the array of birds which visit your feeder as it drips in the sunlight.