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Crafting with Nature: 9 Fun, Easy DIY Projects to Do With Your Kids

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Crafting with Nature: 9 Fun, Easy DIY Projects to Do With Your Kids

March 18, 2020

If you, like me, have suddenly become a reluctant home schooler, try to stay away from social media, where you’ll likely encounter post after post of homemade color-coded daily schedules and pictures of happy, compliant kids staring at laptops. It may just send a slacker-leaning, work-from-home parent over the edge.

That said, I did read some sage advice on Facebook the other day. My friend, Sabrina Funk, who’s been home-schooling her children in Cleveland, Ohio, for years now, wrote a level-headed post about the new reality so many of us are facing: “If I had one piece of advice to give that will save you a lot of stress from the beginning, it would be: Don’t try to replicate the learning that they do in school at home. Schedules are great if they give you piece of mind, but if you are like me and they make you feel like a failure from the beginning, then don’t do them. Flexibility is your best friend.”

Thank you for that, Sabrina.

And with that in mind, here are some of our favorite non-academic, kid-friendly DIY projects you can do (or not do) at home, whenever you can find a free moment. All of them utilize things found in nature, many of them sourced from just outside your door. Best of all, some of these projects may require nothing from you at all (other than simple instructions).

Here, nine favorite DIY projects from our archives:

1. Construct a bird feeder.

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Above: Here’s an adorable project endorsed by the Audubon Society: make a bird feeder from a grapefruit! Photograph by Erin Boyle, from DIY: A Grapefruit Bird Feeder for Feathered Friends.

2. Make a mud pie.

If you have a backyard and are enjoying warm weather, you must see the improvised outdoor play kitchen that blogger Ginny Sheller came up with for her daughter. Photograph courtesy of Ginny Sheller, from DIY: Mud Pie Kitchen.
Above: If you have a backyard and are enjoying warm weather, you must see the improvised outdoor play kitchen that blogger Ginny Sheller came up with for her daughter. Photograph courtesy of Ginny Sheller, from DIY: Mud Pie Kitchen.

3. Concoct a spa treatment.

Occupy your kids by enlisting them to help you gather all the ingredients for this foot soak, then relax and enjoy the treatment! Photograph by Erin Boyle, from A Miracle Treatment to Make Your Feet Feel Like They Checked Into a Spa.
Above: Occupy your kids by enlisting them to help you gather all the ingredients for this foot soak, then relax and enjoy the treatment! Photograph by Erin Boyle, from A Miracle Treatment to Make Your Feet Feel Like They Checked Into a Spa.

4. Grow celery from its root.

A science experiment and gardening project in one DIY: Grow a celery plant from the root. Photograph courtesy of  Apart, from DIY: An Easy Way to Grow Celery from Its Root.
Above: A science experiment and gardening project in one DIY: Grow a celery plant from the root. Photograph courtesy of 17 Apart, from DIY: An Easy Way to Grow Celery from Its Root.

5. Create an art print from plants.

Botanical prints made with leaves, flowers, paper, tape, a hammer, and a work surface that you don’t mind getting banged up. Learn how in DIY: Easy Art Leaf Prints. Photograph by Justine Hand.
Above: Botanical prints made with leaves, flowers, paper, tape, a hammer, and a work surface that you don’t mind getting banged up. Learn how in DIY: Easy Art Leaf Prints. Photograph by Justine Hand.

6. Throw a seed bomb.

You may be house-bound, but you can still garden outdoors. Consider throwing some seed bombs in your yard for a wildflower garden. See the easy recipe and directions in DIY: Make Your Own Wildflower Seed Bombs. Photograph by Kyle Books.
Above: You may be house-bound, but you can still garden outdoors. Consider throwing some seed bombs in your yard for a wildflower garden. See the easy recipe and directions in DIY: Make Your Own Wildflower Seed Bombs. Photograph by Kyle Books.

7. Paint a stone doorstop.

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Above: We can’t promise you that the stone your little one paints will look quite this chic, but we can guarantee they’ll have fun doing it. See DIY: A No-Cost Doorstop Borrowed from Nature.

8. Forage for table decor.

Send the kids outdoors to gather pretty twigs, flowers, and leaves. Then have them decorate the dinner table. Photograph by Michelle Slatalla, from DIY: Foraged Thanksgiving Tabletop with Berries and Branches.
Above: Send the kids outdoors to gather pretty twigs, flowers, and leaves. Then have them decorate the dinner table. Photograph by Michelle Slatalla, from DIY: Foraged Thanksgiving Tabletop with Berries and Branches.

9. Build a nest.

Just in time for Easter, this DIY decorative nest made from foraged branches is a great project for a middle- or high-schooler. Photograph by Kendra Wilson for Gardenista, from DIY Bird Nests: Twig Tabletop Arrangements for Easter.
Above: Just in time for Easter, this DIY decorative nest made from foraged branches is a great project for a middle- or high-schooler. Photograph by Kendra Wilson for Gardenista, from DIY Bird Nests: Twig Tabletop Arrangements for Easter.

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