Nature Silhouettes

Today’s post is brought to you by Tinkerlab sponsor, Imagine Childhood. I first met Sarah Olmsted, founder of Imagine Childhood, when we  I interviewed her about her book by the same name.  Sarah also has an inspiring shop that outfits children and families for creative adventures. I’m a huge fan of the child-and-earth-friendly supplies that she carries in her shop, and excited to bring you a little piece of  Imagine Childhood magic today.

Read on for more details about a generous discount and a fantastic giveaway opportunity!

Welcome, Sarah!

Nature Silhouettes on Tinkerlab

It can be a challenge sometimes to find a last minute activity for those days when the weather just isn’t cooperating.  From snow and ice to wind and rain, some days, no matter how much of a diehard nature enthusiast you are your only option is indoors.

This simple and fun nature silhouette activity is the perfect fit for just those moments and a great holiday gift idea to boot!

Nature Silhouettes by Imagine Childhood

What you need:

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Paint
  • Tape (optional)
  • Nature guides (books or websites), house plants, and/or photos from sunny days gone by
  • Frames (optional)

Nature Silhouettes by Imagine Childhood

How to:

  1. Trace: Grab your preferred nature study materials and let the kids pick out their favorite plants and animals. Trace the outlines lightly with a pencil.  If you are doing this from a book, thin paper and dark images with a lot of contrast work best.  If you’re using photographs or images printed from the internet, tape them a window with your paper on top and use the sun to illuminate the images for easy tracing.
  2. House plant option: If you have plants in your house, try placing them in front of a light source and tracing their shadows.
  3. Paint: Once you have your outlines or silhouettes, have fun painting them in.  You could put one silhouette per page, or you could make a composition from a few of them.
  4. Discuss: While the kids are painting, share interesting facts about their plant or animal with them, or maybe even join in on the creative fun!

Nature Silhouettes by Imagine Childhood

Gift Giving Options:

Simple and lovely, these silhouettes look great in a frame or on a postcard blank like this.  If you want to make a particularly special gift I would even opt for a colorful mat inside the frame in a cameo shape to really set off the artwork.

Nature Silhouettes by Imagine Childhood

A Gift For You Too!

Now that you have gifts for your friends and family, we’d like to give a gift to you from Imagine Childhood (total value is $150)!

Today’s giveaway includes:

To enter this generous giveaway, please leave a comment in this post by Wednesday, December 11. The giveaway is open to all readers world-wide. Winner will be chosen by random number generator, and notified shortly after the close of this contest.

One more thing!

Sarah is also offering Tinkerlab readers 10% off all purchases in the Imagine Childhood Shop, with the discount code Tinkerlab, valid through 12/11/13.

Sarah Olmsted HeadshotSarah Olmsted. A former exhibition designer for the Field Museum of Natural History, Sarah is the co-founder of imaginechildhood.comand author of IMAGINE CHILDHOOD: Exploring the World Through Nature, Imagination, and Play.  Keep up with Sarah on her blog, or via Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Is this your first time here? Join the Tinkerlab network and be the first to know about giveaways like this, easy art + science projects for kids, creativity tips, and simple ideas that will make your life more creative. Sign up for our newsletter here.



  1. lace says

    What an amazing gift set this would make for an aspiring natural artist. My nieces would adore this set.

  2. Jamie Thornton says

    My boys and I would love this! We are currently living in NZ on a scholarship. We don’t always have the money to buy crafts, but we do explore quite a bit. New Zealand is a great place to learn about nature. There are so many different plants and animals that you can’t see anywhere else.

  3. Leslie says

    Love “Imagine Childhood”—(and Tinker Lab:) for toys and ideas that promote nature play, science, and art.

  4. Stephanie says

    What a wonderful idea! Can’t wait to try this with my son. I love the bright colors you chose for yours.

  5. Stephanie says

    What a great idea. My daughter is really interested in a compass and a nature walk would be a great way for her to use it! Thank you!

  6. Liz BK says

    My 3 and 6 year olds are always excited when we do a craft project together. Thanks for the ideas & inspiration!

  7. Tara says

    LOVE this! Getting back to nature in all it’s glory and getting creative too, what more could you want?!

  8. Mariella says

    Wow, my sons (3 and 6 year old) love exploring nature.
    They would love to be inspired by these activities!

  9. says

    Wow! This is a fantastic package! I am not sure if I’ll share it with the kids; or if they wont share with ME…!?!?! THANK YOU!

  10. Jeanine Sandall says

    Another gorgeous giveaway arranged by Tinkerlab … and what great items to fill a backpack with. Crossing fingers that we can take it on our next family adventure!

  11. Heather says

    Very interesting. What a great way to get us out and exploring our new home environment here in Phoenix, AZ. It’s very different from what I grew up with in the Pacific Northwest. .

  12. sarah Vizard says

    This would be great in my Childminding setting. I believe any activity that encourages out door exploration is vital to stimulate young minds, and I am always looking for new ways to inspire. And this will 😀

  13. Kim says

    I have an in-home daycare business and am working on becoming Nature Explore Certified. This would be an awesome addition to our outdoor classroom!

  14. Ainslie says

    Oh the places we could go and the imaginations we would spark with this great pack! Thankyou.

  15. Cathy Hopkins says

    In The business of life I think we all need inspiration to get back to nature and play!!!