Sunny days and warmer weather invite many kinds of outdoor activities. Here are some ideas to help you create a quick-and-easy art environment and spontaneous art experiences outside.

  • Keep lightweight house painting brushes and buckets on hand so children can use these grown-up tools to "paint" the playground and school walls with water.  
  • Store clean plastic spray bottles and empty liquid dish soap bottles in an easy-to-carry container such as a bucket or a plastic box. Take these items outside and encourage children to express themselves artistically. Together, watch designs fade as water evaporates.
  • Keep a basket with chunky sticks of colored chalk that children can use to make designs outside on sidewalks. Wash your art away together with big brushes or see what happens after a rain.
  • Keep a box for "interesting treasures" that children find outdoors. Take the box outside on a sunny day and encourage everyone to hunt for special, natural surprises. Use your treasures to create a class mural or collage.
  • Move your sand table outdoors! Take along some plastic funnels, cookie cutters, and different-size bowls. Help children add water, little by little, and encourage all to try their hands at being sculptors.

This article originally appeared in the April, 2001 issue of Early Childhood Today.