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Day 43: Make your own pens, paintbrushes and art supplies from nature and a nature riddle

Outdoor activity ideas and inspiration

From mid-March to the end of May 2020, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust (HHLT) posted a simple outdoor activity idea and nature riddle for kids every weekday. Some days we also posted other resources, like downloadable chapters of the Junior Ranger Activity Book.

Created to support parents who found themselves homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, these activity ideas are a great jumping off point for any outdoor adventure. Click here for a list with links to all 50 activity ideas.

Nature riddle

This bird makes a tiny, cup-shaped nest, about the size of a large thimble. It is often made from dandelion down or thistle, bound together using spider silk or pine sap, and attached to a branch on a suitable tree or shrub. The nest may have bits of lichen or moss on the outside, perhaps serving to camouflage it from predators. These nests are challenging to spot because of their size and their location 10 to 40 feet from the ground. Click here to read more about this fascinating animal.

Make your own pens, paintbrushes and art supplies from nature

Writing with a feather at Nature Day Camp (Courtney Cronin photo)

What if you couldn’t go to the store to buy art supplies? What would you do? Maybe you’d invent your own!

My daughter loves making pens out of feathers. I’m sure there are more in-depth ways to do this, but we just cut the stem of the feather at an angle, dip it in water or ink and write or draw on rocks or paper.

You can make a paintbrush with a stick and a rubber band. Head outdoors and look around at all the natural options for bristles! Pine needles, grass, flowers, leaves and many more. Encourage your kids to try a few and compare them.

Charred sticks from your next campfire are great for drawing. And crushed berries and flowers can give you color in your art.

What other art supplies can you create from nature instead of turning to the store or to Amazon?

I’d love to see pictures of your inventions! Share them with me (Julia) at outreach@hhltmaine.org.