move aside, store-bought brushes!

Yes, a stash of nice kids' paintbrushes is a lovely thing to have. But going for a walk and gathering bits of nature to use as paintbrushes makes for double the fun.

Paintbrushes from nature painting

We all have them, the multi-colored paintbrushes that we bought when we bought our kids their first bottles of paint. And those paintbrushes have likely gotten more than a little bit of use. Why not grab your paint, leave the brushes in the craft cabinet and head outside to explore nature, get creative and gather some natural brushes from your walk?

Not only will kids look more closely at their surroundings while on the walk, but they'll also use some great critical thinking skills to figure out what will and won't work with paint. Coming home and putting their nature finds to the paint test will likely yield them some successful and some not-so-successful choices.

On our walk, we gathered a gardenia, a couple of rocks, a chunk of grass, a blooming garlic flower, a few little branches, a sprig of rosemary, a piece of tall grass and several leaves.

Natural paintbrush masterpiece

Paintbrushes from nature


  • Any bits of nature that your little one finds interesting
  • Tempura paint
  • Large piece of art paper
  • Newspaper or paper grocery bags


  1. Once you've collected all of your great finds, bring them home and set them aside.
  2. Protect your entire work surface with newspaper or paper grocery bags, cut open.
  3. Squirt a few colors of paint on a paper plate (primary colors work great here to help children see how the colors come together to make secondary colors).
  4. Let your child choose from his stash and begin experimenting. To make this project even more educational, ask him before he begins how he thinks the item will work. Will it be a stamp? A brush? Can he dip different parts in different colors to make another color?
  5. Let your child work his way through his pile and then allow his masterpiece to dry completely.
  6. Hang the picture on the refrigerator and smile.
Image credit: Nichole Beaudry

More simple craft projects for kids

Homemade water color paints
5 Bug crafts for kids
Fun rock crafts for kids


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