Natural Crafts

Book Review

Organic Crafts

75 Earth Friendly Art Activities

By Kimberly Monaghan

Author Kimberly Monaghan writes in her introduction, ‘Organic Crafts walks children through the woods, along the beach, and into grassy meadow to explore our natural surroundings.’ And that is exactly what it does. This book offers a delightful array of projects that encourage children to explore the world around them with fresh eyes. They learn to see the art in nature and create their own natural masterpieces. Activities and projects will appeal to a wide range of ages and can be easily adapted to suit the season.

The book is divided into six sections:

Trees, Leaves, and Twigs

Rocks, Pebbles, and Shells

Soil, Clay, and Sand

Plants, Grasses, and Seeds

Animals, Birds, and Insects

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Each section has a brief introduction, nature notes and features a variety of crafts for six and under as well as seven and up. Each activity also has an educational introduction for just the materials used in that craft. Also, scattered throughout the book are earth action ideas.

Trees, Leaves, and Twigs

In the trees, leaves, and twigs section there are thirteen crafts in total. Some include tree talker (6 and under), skin drums (6 and under), natures vase (7 and up) and bark boats (7 and up). The nature notes topics include John James Audubon, working leaves, and plentiful paper. The earth action gives children several ideas on how they can save trees.

Rock, Pebbles, and Shells

There are twelve different crafts in the rocks, pebbles, and shells section. Several of the crafts could be used in several different areas of study such as rock your world (ages 7 and up). For this activity the students will make a relief globe which could easily be tied in with geography and map study. Some of the nature notes are on Stonehenge, mining minerals, and super shells.

The third section is on soil, clay and sand. In my opinion the top activity of this section is homemade soil but all nine are engaging and educational. The earth action is focused on saving the beaches.

Soil, Clay and Sand

Plants, Grasses, and Seeds

The nature notes for plants, grasses, and seeds features one titled all the colors of the Earth. It list ‘natures paint’ and the color, i.e. crushed beets is red. There is also an article on how to make natural dies. The crafts in this section vary from easy, making potpourri, to more difficult grass masks.

Animals, birds and insects is a great spring time unit with crafts like wildlife seedling tray, mosshopper and caterpillar critter. The earth action is focused on animal rescue, which could be a great introduction to a field trip to the local wild life rescue unit.

The final section is reduce, reuse, and recycle with the crafts and nature notes focusing on recycling. The earth action to reuse shoes is unique and would make an easy class project.

In Organic Crafts, 75 Earth-Friendly art activities, children are invited to celebrate the beauty of their planet while they are encouraged to reduce, reuse and recycle materials to help protect our natural resources.

Natural Fun