Nature Based Holiday Craft Ideas
The festive season is fast approaching and now is the perfect time to start doing some holiday crafts with your kids. I have created three nature based crafts with step by step photos that you can replicate with your kids at home. We celebrate Christmas in our house, but these crafts can be used for any celebration, or at any time of year.
All of these crafts incorporate Australian native plants that we collected from our backyard and around our neighborhood, but you can substitute them for what you have available around you. Collecting nature items is all part of the fun when it comes to nature based crafts.
Eucalyptus Leaf Wreath
The first craft we made was a eucalyptus leaf wreath to hang on our front door. To do this craft you need some flat cardboard, a drawing compass (or different sized plates to use as a stencil), a box cutter or utility knife (for adult use only), stapler, glue, string and your collected eucalypt leaves and flowers.
We started our wreath by drawing two circles on cardboard with a compass, and then cut the ring out. You can use a paper plate instead of drawing on cardboard, but I wanted to upcycle the box we already had, rather than using something new.
Once you have your ring, you’re ready to start decorating. The easiest way we found to get the eucalyptus leaves to stick was by stapling them down. We did try gluing them with school craft glue but they move too much while trying to position other leaves around them. We decided to combine some red leaves we found with the green leaves to make it look more Christmas themed. We then glued some Australian Paperbark flowers over the staples to cover them up. You can add anything else you want to as well, we just went simple with ours. Once the glue was dried the wreath was ready to go. You can use it as is, or attach some string to the wreath if you want to hang it on your front door like we did with ours.
Nature Clay Ornaments
The next craft items we made were clay ornaments imprinted with leaves and gumnuts. These work great as a Christmas tree ornament, but also work really well as presents for grandparents or other family members, especially with a baby hand or foot print on them for a baby's first Christmas.
To do this craft you will need to buy some air dry clay or make salt dough to work with. We used air dry clay as we were time limited, but salt dough might work better for little kids as it will be easier to work with for longer. You will also need a rolling pin, cookie cutter or playdough shape cutter, a pencil (a chopstick could work too) and some twine, plus the nature items you collected.
To make the ornaments, you roll out the clay and create the ornament shape that you want with your cookie cutter. If you don’t have a cookie cutter to use, you can make freestyle shapes instead. Once your shape is ready, choose a leaf, gumnut or flower you want to imprint and firmly press it into the clay. If you are doing gumnuts, then be mindful to keep the clay quite thick so that you can get the full imprint of the gumnut in it. Once you lift up the item, you will be able to see if your imprint is visible enough, if it’s not, just re-wet your clay and try again. If it’s a good print, you can then use the base of a pencil to create a hole near one edge and then leave the clay to dry. We found that the most basic shapes, like gumnuts and leaves, worked the best for us, but we would love to know what worked as imprints for you too.
Once dry, it’s easy to thread some twine, or even some pre-loved ribbon, through the hole to make an ornament for your Christmas tree. If you want to keep them for years to come, then don’t forget to add a name and date to the back with a permanent marker so you can always remember when they were made.
Eucalyptus Leaf Gift Tags
The last craft items we made were eucalyptus leaf gift tags. You can put eucalyptus leaf gift tags on your presents, use them as decorations on a christmas tree or even as table decorations too. To make them you will need fresh eucalyptus leaves, a hole punch, some paint, paintbrushes and some twine, string or ribbon.
All you need to do for this is select the leaves you want to use, punch a hole in one end, and then decorate them with pictures, patterns or words of your choice. We used a star shaped hole punch, but you can use a circular one instead, or even just cut a slice into the leaf if you don’t have a hole punch on hand. If your kids are really young, then it’s best to let them decorate the leaves first, and then once their paint has dried, have an adult paint names on over the top. Once everything is dry, you can then thread some twine through the punched hole and attach them to presents. The leaves start to dry out within a couple of days, so they won’t look as fresh but the painted patterns on them will still be easily visible.
Hopefully these nature based crafts have given you some ideas for activities to do with your kids during the holidays. I really like including nature in our crafting as the collecting of the nature items is a great time to explain how important the environment is to us, and how to best protect it. I hope to instill a love of nature in my kids while they’re young, so that they can be the next climate champions when they’re older.
Alinta has cared about the environment and climate for as long as she can remember. She did a double degree in Arts and Science so that she could understand both the scientific and political elements of saving our planet. Alinta volunteers for Parents for Climate on the social media team. You will often find her in our national Facebook community group when she has time to check in during baby nap time.