Shel Silverstein got it right. Take a page from The Giving Tree and head out the front door to collect supplies for your next crafternoon. From twigs to leaves and even the trunk, scroll down for cool projects that use stuff from your favorite shade-maker. You won’t believe what we found!
photo: Meredith Magee via Homegrown Friends
1. A Natural Canvas
Did you lose a tree limb in the last storm? Before you drag it to the street, reserve the best parts and have someone (calling Paul Bunyan!) saw off a few slices. Easy to do and ideal for gift-giving, find out more about this beautiful idea over at Homegrown Friends.
2. Sail Away
There’s nothing like creating your own craft, then sending it on a maiden voyage. With a few sticks, a low-temp hot glue gun, twine, and construction paper, your little sailors can watch their own boat sail the high seas. Grab the how-to by clicking here.
photo: Ellen Petti via Ellen’s Daily Heart
3. Heart Art
This one touches our heart. Your little artists will have fun painting the sticks—which should be shaped and sized before the painting starts—all you’ll need to do is use low gauge craft wire to bind them together. We recommend wrapping the wire from the bottom to the top, then from right to left. Get a better view over at Ellen’s Daily Heart.
photo: Andrew Dawes via Flickr
4. Wood Play
Make your own Reggio-inspired stacking blocks by slicing, sanding, and sealing wood pieces with a little beeswax to preserve their natural form. And, the best part? These DIY toys are perfect for indoor or outdoor play. Head to Adventure-in-a-Box for a great tutorial.
photo: Linda Dawkins via Natural Suburbia
5. Wonderful Weave
Hello, beautiful. This gorgeous craft is best left to your older kids and may take some time, but it’s well worth the effort! An easy tutorial, including tricks for keeping the stick steady, can be found over at Natural Suburbia.
photo: Gabby Cullen
6. Teeny, Tiny Houses
Have your scouts gather the best sticks, leaves, flowers, and rocks, then sit back, relax, and watch them build houses for woodland fairy folk. Want to know the trick to getting the roof just right? Shove the sturdiest sticks deep into the ground and layer long sticks and leaves on top. Take a peek at our favorite fairy houses by clicking here.
photo: Ann Harquail
7. Magic Trees
This one is so simple but so brilliant. Gather branches, sand, empty pots and scraps of fabric, then let your kids decorate to their heart’s content!
photo: Jackie Currie via Happy Hooligans
8. Chime In
This bright and cheery wood chime project is easy to re-create. Your little naturalists can collect their own materials—all you’ll need to do is insert the hook and attach the string. Get the tutorial from Jackie, the creative curator of Happy Hooligans.
9. Stick Around
There is all manner of stick folk to be found on craft blogs, but we are in love with the ones created by Georgina and crew over at Craftulate. You won’t need much prep in the way of materials with this one; the biggest challenge may be picking sticks in your own likeness. Head over to Craftulate for the how-to.
photo: Stephanie Haass via Two-daloo
10. Make Music
We love the design of these homemade Egyptian sistrums (combining music and history lessons into one!) from Two-daloo. Project creator Stephanie had her kiddos find their own “instruments” before setting them down with basic art supplies to finish the job. Want to know how to make sweet stick music? Make your way over to Two-daloo for the tutorial.
How do you incorporate trees into play? Share with us in the Comments!
— Gabby Cullen