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SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS FOR KIDS

HOW TO CREATE ART FROM NATURAL OBJECTS

This artwork by your child won't be going up on the refrigerator, and that's okay

Handful of small rocks
Acorn, twigs, fallen leaves

Tested, edited & approved by:

Catherine Brett,
Senior Educator & Science Research Manager

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This animal is not on exhibit in the habitats. It is one of our Animal Ambassadors and is used in public and school programs.

Nothing is forever, and that goes for some works of art, too. With this fun and creative project, your child can create something fleeting out of natural materials and document its return to a natural state.

Inspired by artist Andy Goldsworthy's nature-based art, your budding Picasso can use elements like rocks, sticks and leaves to create ephemeral works of art that are meant to be washed away by the weather.

GATHER THIS:

  • Any natural materials available to you, rocks, sticks, leaves, bark
  • Avoid picking anything from live plants
  • Do not remove natural materials from the area you found them

THEN DO THIS:

  1. Use only natural materials you find detached from a living plant to construct art!
  2. Arrange the natural materials like rocks, sticks, dirt, leaves, bark into something that speaks to you.
  3. Do not use any permanent, man-made adhesives or attachments to hold art together or in place.
  4. Take a picture with your brain or with a camera.
  5. Walk away and let the weather blow and wash your art away.

ASK THIS:

  • Can you tell by the shape of your leaf which plant the leaf came from? How far away is the plant? How could the leaf have gotten there?
  • Look closely at your stick, how many colors do you see: Are there multiple shades of one color family?
  • How would you describe the texture of the substrate or dirt? Does it have small rocks, big rocks, sand, clay, decomposing plant matter, moisture, animals in it?

WHAT IS HAPPENING?

"Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist known for his site-specific installations involving natural materials and the passage of time. Working as both sculptor and photographer, Goldsworthy crafts his installations out of rocks, ice, leaves, or branches, cognizant that the landscape will change, then carefully documents the ephemeral collaborations with nature through photography." – Artnet.com

 

WHAT THIS TEACHES:

Skills: Fine motor skills, observation

Themes: Art, observations, creativity

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