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Merry and Bright - Christmas Nature Crafts 2017

The Nature Play WA team has too much fun researching and testing ways for you to add nature play into your Christmas each year.

This year, we’ve got ideas for kid-made wrapping paper and a few outdoor Christmas-themed activities too!

Minimal materials are needed for these projects - as long as you have some paint or crayons, paper, access to an outdoor space with fallen nature (it’s best not to pick anything fresh if you can help it!) and some imagination, you’ll be on your way to shimmering, glimmering Christmas craft success!

Nature Wrapping Paper

Let your kids add their personal touch to the present-wrapping process this year by having them create wrapping paper. There are endless ways you could approach this task to create unique, nature-based wrapping paper (you could even recycle kids' artworks from the year). Here are a few of our favourite methods:

Spray Bottle Method

Materials: Spray bottles, food dye or paint (red & green), large paper/a roll of paper.
Method: Go outside and search for leaves, flowers, sticks and other natural items with varied shapes, sizes and textures. Fill your spray bottles with water and paint/food colouring in red and green (in separate bottles). Arrange your foraged bits of nature on paper, then splash and spray with paint! When it dries, peel off your nature items to reveal the shapes and patterns below.

Leaf Rubbing Method

Materials: Crayons (in festive colours), a roll of kraft paper or large sheets of paper.
Method: Go outside and search for leaves, then place them (with veins facing upwards) on a hard surface. Put a sheet of plain kraft paper or similar over the leaf. Then take a crayon or pencil and start gently colouring over your leaves. If you are using a pencil, make sure to colour on an angle. What sort of leafy patterns will you uncover?

Leaf Printing Method

Materials: Paint (red, green, silver, gold and other festive colours), a roll of kraft paper or large sheets of paper.
Method: Go outside and search for leaves. Paint onto the detailed side of each leaf, and it press onto paper to make an impression. Repeat, using festive colours, until you’re happy with your wrapping paper!

Painted Santa Leaves

Materials: Paint (red and white are essential!), paintbrush, leaves.
Method: This one is simple as finding cool leaves outside and turning them into Santa with your trusty paint set. Gum leaves are a great shape and texture for this one. Give your Santa an extra-long white beards and a pointy red hat! Whent the paint dries, add some face details. Then, carefully attach string or wire to hang the ornament from your tree or use as decoration on your wrapped gifts. 

Wrapping: Finishing Touches

As your wrapping paper dries, why not go foraging again for some dried leaves to adorn your presents? When you’ve finished wrapping, a simple twine bow and sprig of dried gum leaves are the perfect finishing touches!

More Outdoor Christmas Activities

Looking for more ideas for Christmas-themed outdoor play? Here are a couple of extras that are perfect for Australian summer.

Santa Sandman

Materials: Sand, water and foraged bits of nature.
Method: We don't have much snow in Australia, but we've got plenty of sand. Build a Santa sandman! Make sure you use wet sand so that it sticks together, and go beachcombing to find cool accessories to give him a unique character.

Painted Xmas Rocks

Materials: Rocks (the smoother the better!), paint, paintbrush.
Method: Paint rocks with festive designs and hide them in your garden or local park to spread the Christmas cheer. Here are some ideas for your Christmas rock designs: reindeer, snowmen, christmas trees, presents, stars or jolly, old Saint Nick himself! Find your local rock-hiding community online and join in the fun of hiding and finding!

Have fun! If you attempt any of these projects, make sure to share your creations on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #natureplaywa 

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