Preschoolers love to explore and make discoveries about the environment around them. Nature walks are a great way to allow young children to follow their natural curiosity while collecting items of interest along the way.
Going on a Nature Walk
Prior to making a nature collage with preschool children, you need to first take your class on a nature walk to explore the outdoors.
Give the children a chance to ask questions, investigate, and make discoveries on their own. In order to do this, children may need to have a few materials available to them for the nature walk. If you plan for the children to collect items during the walk, then they will need something to carry the items they collect. This could be a brown bag or any size plastic baggie. You may choose to have children draw the objects they see rather than actually picking items up. Therefore, the children will need a clipboard, paper, and pencil (or crayon). Upon returning to the classroom, give the children an opportunity to share and discuss the items they collected.
Stepping Stone Nature Collage
Various treasures found on nature walk
Tell the children they will make a stepping-stone nature collage with the items they collected. Give each child a paper plate and a mound of modeling clay. Instruct the children to flatten and shape the modeling clay mount with their hands or a rolling pin. Once the modeling clay is flattened and spread out a bit, have the children press the objects from the nature walk into the modeling clay. Allow the stepping stone to air dry for several days. The stepping stones should remain flat as well so that the items stay in place and do not become loose and possibly fall out before the modeling clay hardens.
3D Nature Collage
Paper towel tube
Treasure from a nature walk
Project Prep: Cut small slits all over the paper towel tube. The children will insert the items they found on a nature walk to proudly display what they collected.
Tell the class they will create a 3D nature collage with the items collected. Show the children how to insert the items they found into the slits cut on the paper towel tube. When the 3D nature collage is complete, display the collages in the classroom for all to see.
Tree Bark Collage
Brown crayon (with paper torn off)
Teaching your preschoolers about trees can be very interesting when you have your class create tree bark rubbings. When children create tree bark rubbings then they will learn that tree bark protects the tree and can vary from one kind of tree to another. Make sure you class has the materials they need.
Once outside have the children select a few different kinds of trees to make a tree bark rubbing. Guide the children to a variety of trees such as a pine tree, maple or oak tree, and a birch tree. All of these have very different types of bark; therefore, the rubbing picture will look very different as well.
To make the tree bark rubbing, instruct the children to place their paper on the tree. While holding the paper in place, the children should then place a bare brown crayon on its side. Now they should rub the crayon back and forth to reveal the tree bark pattern on their paper. Repeat this process for a variety of trees.
Upon returning to the classroom, have the children glue the tree bark rubbings onto a large piece of chart or poster board to create a class collage. Place the class tree bark rubbing collage in your science discovery area of the classroom. You may also want to provide mini magnifying glasses, real pieces of tree bark, and books about trees where preschoolers can utilize the materials to make more discoveries on their own during play time.
Teacher Tip for Variation: Do the same activities described above using leaves from various trees. Use green, red, orange, yellow, or brown crayons instead.
Bird Seed Collage
Bird seed that includes a variety of seeds
Teaching children about birds or seeds can be fun when you incorporate a bird seed collage project. Children can sort and classify seeds as they arrange them to their hearts content. If you are teaching children about birds then you may want to have children glue bird seed onto a bird-shaped cut-out.They can also create a collage on a flower pot-shaped cut-out.
Use your imagination to choose whichever shape cut-out which best fits into what you are teaching. Instruct the children to spread the glue on their cut-out. Next, the children can arrange the bird seed to their liking. Allow the bird seed collage to dry flat before holding or displaying in an upright position.
Hands on Science
Through these hands-on science activities, your preschoolers will have fun learning about the natural beauty that surrounds them. They will also enjoy creating nature collages that will make their learning more meaningful to them.