Heal those covid isolation blues with some creative time outside. These simple winter art projects will bring joy to your family and spread  some essential  love and appreciation for nature! No artist skills required 🙂

The classics – Snowmen & Snow Angels
Never underestimate the power of these tried and tested classics.  Definitely, my children’s  ‘go-to’ activity once we get a fresh dump of snow. Heck – with a little extra time and motivation, you could even build an entire snow family! And if enough packing snow isn’t available to sculpt a cute snow friend, well you can always make a mini version instead. AND, most importantly — don’t forget to accessorize your snow friends! You can even have them enact fun situations with some staging (most of these ideas are appropriate for your kids ;)). 

‘Snow Family’ by the Cleary’s
‘Little Mushroom Head’ by Izyk
‘Fairy Wings’ by Zoe

Snow Sculptures
Attention clay and playdough enthusiasts let’s bring those skills to the snowbank.   Construct your favourite forest animal or anything that inspires your creativity — in snow form no doubt!  Older kids will especially gravitate to this activity and easily excel at making impressive projects. Sculpting tools will most definitely help with this process if you can find some safe things around the house to use.  Spoons and rulers are a few handy tools found in most homes. 

‘Running away from COVID’ by Ramona
‘Snow Fox’ by Charlie

Icy Sun Catchers
Beautifully clear and a perfect medium to suspend all of nature’s beauty these lovely icy sun catchers will sparkle in the sun and bring smiles to anyone who finds them!  You can decorate your yard, your balcony, or public space with these homemade ornaments.  Ask your kids to explore the natural space around them to collect whatever catches their eye and inspires them. Since these lovely light catchers will eventually melt and objects will fall back into the earth,  please be sure to use decorative materials that will naturally decompose like stones, leaves, pinecones, berries, twigs, etc. All you need are some containers to act as moulds and the patience to wait for the ice to freeze.  Plastic Tupperware works great! If your family is anything like mine adding colour is absolutely mandatory. Good thing, because this works to add another dimension of beauty to these little icy gems.

Icy Sun Catcher by Zoe

Ice Block Sculptures

Make your own mega ice blocks and take it outside.  Choose your colour scheme and build to your heart’s content. Watch out – these blocks love to slip and slide, so they add an extra element to master. Different shapes and sizes –  there are no limits except access to moulds, and how much weight you can handle. Start collecting containers that would otherwise get recycled or repurposed. Fill with water and mix with neon food colouring.  Leave outside until frozen solid and then pop them out for some instant fun. You can even add another element to your art and document the transformations over time and temperatures. There is something beautiful and liberating about impermanence.  Got flashlights? You can also have some evening fun while exploring your sculptures with light!   

Snow Sculpture by River & Forest

Nature Patterns
You kids can make Andy Goldsworthy inspired art too. Simple, eye-catching, meditative. It’s not hard to find natural materials to make simple patterns that work with their environment.  With a bit of encouragement, even my 5-year-old could do it!  My eight year old collected the leaves and stones, and my little guy made the pattern. Go, Team!

Nature Pattern by Izyk & Zoe

Woodland Nature Den
If you have a ravine, forest, or park nearby, you might be able to collect enough fallen branches to make a special nature den.  Although your structure will be temporary, it will be a perfect place to sit and explore a natural space.  These are great projects for builders who love imaginative play.  Older children will find joy in these too – after all, don’t all kids want their own private clubhouse!?  What I Iove most about these is their transferability! If you make one in a public space,  you can leave it up and allow it to become a community art project.  Over time it will evolve and change as other families help to expand it, decorate it, build it up … or … even … tear it down. This could also be a good lesson in embracing non-attachment  🙂 

Magical Wonders
One of my favourite things to do with my kids is to leave little gems of natural art in public spaces for others to find.  Wishing trees, fairy doors, gnome treasures, magical wands, mystical ornaments, or little sculptures made of found natural objects.  Whatever it is, the goal is to spark wonder and imagination and bring joy to anyone who discovers it!  Ideally, this art will just break down and decompose over time, but if not, be sure to go back and retrieve your objects. 

Unknown artist. Found in Taylor Creek, Toronto

Little Forts For Little Creatures
Share some critter love! It isn’t easy being small and surviving the winter. While you might not be motivated to build your own ‘human-size’ fort, you might be motivated to build one for those cute little winter creatures, like chickadees and squirrels instead. Kids can embrace their ‘human giant’  or ‘tiny human’ personas and think about how they can make welcoming spaces for the little creatures they share nature with.

‘Bird Fort’ by Audra

So there you have a few of my favourite nature art activities. Simple, easy, and guaranteed to get you outdoors to create and play. I hope this helps foster your bond with nature as a way to stay safer, happier, and healthier during this time of pandemic isolation.

Please share your own ideas in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear what inspires you too?

Brighter times are coming!