Land Art with Children

We were invited by Rashmie of Mommy Labs to join Forest Fiesta, an online celebration of World Environment Day (June 5) with her and about twenty other arts and education bloggers. This year’s host country was India, and Rashmie came up with the inspired idea to act as our Indian blogging host. Thanks, Rashmie! When you reach the end of this post, you can click around and see the forest creations made by my friends and their children from around the globe.

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program, is Forests. According to the UN, it’s the “most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action.”

And with that, I’d like to share our positive environmental action with you…

Before heading out, we spent some time looking at pictures of inspirational land art, with a vague plan to make something monumental from nature.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day at a nearby farm that has a beautiful forest of trees and a creek that runs through it. I packed a little investigator bag for N, and she was delighted to find a magnifying glass in it. Aside from the photo, it didn’t get much real use, but it was a fun way to begin our adventure into the forest…

We took a hike through the trees and marveled at the patterns made by the sun and leaves.

Once we got into the forest, we noted the abundance of moss. Both of my kids loved feeling it’s texture. I adore the look of moss and lichen, so we brought a little bit home for this year’s fairy garden.

N spotted these colorful leaves caught by a log in the stream, and she asked me to take this picture.

We played with the creek’s current, and sent leaves and flowers down different parts of it, noting the various speeds at which the objects moved.

And then we stumbled upon the bridges! Forget nature for a minute — these bridges make LOUD sounds when you run across them! N took her shoes off, made herself right at home, and must have run across these bridges for almost an hour!

Meanwhile, Baby Rainbow enjoyed the experience of digging into the dirt and leaves. And this is when the abundance of leaves gave me this idea…

…to build a leaf path! Do you see it there? N was careful to walk around it as she exited the bridge.

She stopped periodically to help me gather yellow leaves and lay them down, but mostly she wanted to RUN! I think she’s a kinesthetic learnerWhat kind of learner do you think your child is?

When hikers approached to cross the bridge we’d sit down together and engage them in conversation or eavesdrop on their conversations, and this was where the fun came in.

A mother with two boys walked by, did a double take when she saw the path, and then stopped to take a photo of it. Her boys ran over and we overheard a loud, “cooooool.” (Score — I think we managed to execute a “positive environmental action”)! We chatted with a couple of women who asked us who made it. We did! And if we’d heard of the artist Andy Goldsworthy? We had, and he was actually our inspiration! They also mentioned that they were impressed with the scale of it, and never would have thought to stop and make something like this themselves. (Small children make us slow down and do crazy things, no?!).

N loved the interactions and attention that we brought to the environment and ourselves through this action, and it prompted her to make her own piece of land art…a circle!

If you’ve made land art or have a favorite link to share, I’d love to hear about it (and you can add a picture to your comment)! I was actually surprised that i didn’t find a lot of land art by kids online. Maybe this will be my next Creative Challenge?!

+++++

This post is shared with It’s Playtime

 

Comments

  1. says

    I Love Andy Goldsworthy! We’ve created some nature art/land art like his too! This is a beautiful post—love all the pics of your daughters!

    • rachelle says

      Thanks, Melissa! Isn’t AG great? And now that I have kids, his work has opened up the way I think about interacting with the land.

  2. says

    What better way to celebrate Forest day than being amongst it!! Love the pictures. Need to check the artist you mentioned. We love Richard Shilling’s Land Art for Kids books and his website too. And recently I was told by my blog reader there is a flickr group for kids land art !!

    • rachelle says

      Oh, Richard Shilling is wonderful too, Roopa! I’ve seen the flickr group and should have mentioned it. Feeling slightly full and overwhelmed these days and lots of things are falling off the radar. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. says

    Loved how you guys interacted with your environment and nature and made art right there and then. Yes, definitely a positive environmental action. The artist that you mentioned – I will read up about him. We love land arts too!
    Thanks, Rachele, for your participation. This event turned out so inspiring.

    • rachelle says

      I loved this “assignment” and the opportunity to get into nature, Rashmie. Thanks again.

  4. says

    What fun! M and M love to carry rocks, sticks, and leaves when we hike. I don’t let them bring any of it home (although I notice that a few of you other bloggers mentioned bringing home pieces of nature. Maybe I should rethink that rule?!?) Anyway, towards the end of our hike I always ask them to design a sculpture or pictures with the things they’ve found. It makes for a fun discussion about what other hikers will think when they come across them.

    • rachelle says

      Jill, that’s a lovely idea to make sculptures or pictures at the end of a hike. I’ll have to try that.

  5. Kate says

    I was inspired by your nature art to tour the other links at the bottom of the page. My 3 year old and I did the woodland people this morning. I think I had more fun that she did, but it was really creative for both of us. Loved it!

    • rachelle says

      Wonderful, Kate! I’m so happy to hear that this project inspired you!! Thanks for letting me know :)

    • rachelle says

      Hmmm, something is wrong with my photo attachments? Thanks for attaching this to my Facebook page.

  6. sharon says

    I love this post!
    I am currently studying an Arts Degree and one of my recent assignments was to create my own land art. It was autumn here in Melbourne and so the local park was in abundance with leaves of all those gorgeous autumn colors. My 4 year old daughter loved helping me come up with ideas and just getting out and playing around with nature. She also enjoyed the collection part of the assignment, gathering leaves, rocks, flowers, and anything else she could find. We then made a collage of everything we found.

    • rachelle says

      Wonderful, Sharon! Isn’t it even better when kids are included? They have a different way of seeing things, and it helps them learn to see the world through a different set of lenses.

  7. says

    this is so cool rachelle & N & BR! i am a big fan of land art installations and have always wanted to do one, so we’d be up for the challenge! my little one is certainly a visual learner. i love the simple yellow leaf line… something about that just feels magical.

    • rachelle says

      Thanks, Jen! Yay — that’s vote #2 for the challenge. Your N would love this project, I’m sure!

  8. says

    We also played with the dandelion flowers. It was so fun to watch them flow with the creek current. Land art is inspiring. Yes, definitely Andy Goldsworthy. Eiya will be 2 Monday. Do you think I can show her the photos and try the same project out?

    • rachelle says

      Oh, the dandelion flowers in water are absolutely mesmerizing, Sheau. I was thinking hard about doing a project with those, but my daughter was eager to move on. I don’t think my daughter would have been ready for this at age 2, but you could certainly try since every child is different.

  9. says

    What a gorgeous blog you’ve got here Rachelle! Thanks for sharing an Education.com article with your audience along the way. I have two boys who love to make Fairy Houses in the woods and some of them turn out to be quite lovely. I’m inspired to help them stretch further after looking at all your beautiful land art photos. Thanks! Kat (Education.com)

  10. Sara says

    Andy Goldsworthy is my all time favorite artist! I LOVE this post. Thank you for sharing this. I am going to spend some time with my two kids and make our own Andy inspired art! I can’t really believe I haven’t before.