Creative Outdoor Spaces – Simple Art Table

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The creative process is magical, enchanting and ancient and I cannot think of a more inspiring place to nurture a child’s creativity than outdoors in nature.

The Artist in Each of Us

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“Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us. To create means to relate. The root meaning of the word art is “to fit together” and we all do this every day. Not all of us are painters but we are all artists. Each time we fit things together we are creating – whether it is to make a loaf of bread, a child, a day.” -Corita Kent

There is an innate need in all of us to express ourselves creatively. Our cave-dwelling ancestors wanted to share their stories and eventually with us, through their art. And I believe nature is one of the most purist,honest, awe – inspiring places to be creative.

 

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“Teachers are so tired of the direction that much of education has been going toward…toward more and more testing, toward canceling recess, toward longer school hours, toward anything but real experience in the real world.” – Richard Louv

Being with Nature

Young children are always present in the moment. Not thinking about yesterday or what might happen tomorrow –they are fully present – observing,  aware of all that is around them. Children know instinctively how to be with nature.

 

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Shape, colour, textures, patterns all flow into one another – they tell us something – we can appreciate the visual world when we learn how to use the language of art.

 

 

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footprints

 

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We tend to think of an outdoor space as some big piece of land with lots of amazing structures ; yet children will be more than happy with a simple art table, a few recycled tyres and a few tree stumps and lot’s of loose parts.

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Less is more!

Over the last 6 years I have created outdoor classrooms in many different locations.

 

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Sometimes, not having a set location makes the quest for a space an exciting adventure. Locations do not have to be permanent. Ever-changing locations for outdoor classes can inspire imaginative structures and homes with the changing views and variety of new materials to be found.

 

All Year Round – Snow Painting on Table

 

 

We love our simple art tables because we can make as much mess as we like…

 

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…and we can move the art tables around.

 

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It can also double up as a party table…

 

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Imagine…

 

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Imagine what an amazing outdoor space you and your students ( or family) could make!

I would like to gift you a free PDF on How to make the simple Outdoor Art Table (an excerpt from the online Nature Art Program – chapter 6 Creating Outdoor Spaces and Classrooms) – To receive your free PDF simply leave a comment below on why you feel nature and art are important in our children’s lives.

 

Wishing you all a beautiful and creative week, love and peace Marghanita x

Comments 91

  1. I love all that you do Marghanita! You are such an inspiration, especially during these cold, bleak winter days! Thank you for all that you do!

  2. Nature and art are important because it gives children an opportunity to express themselves and explore without judgement. Its truly a place where process over product triumphs. All of nature is a process.

  3. What a beautiful and wonderful place this is! All children need a chance to be in nature to develop a love for the natural world. Hopefully this will lead to a desire to protect and preserve our parks and wilderness areas for all people!

  4. Nature grounds children. Nature grounds us all. Without the calming influence of regular connection with the natural world, children are at risk of being swept into the busyness of our adult world. A pairing of the outdoors with art is the perfect recipe for a meditation of sorts … an opportunity for children to connect with their innate sense of wonder in a calm, unhurried, unmeasured time and space.

  5. Hi Marghanita,
    It’s always lovely to read your newsletters but even better is to see what new art ideas are being displayed! Nature and art are important in our children lives because it is natural to express ourselves in some way while allowing us to get to know/discover more about ourselves. Nature is part of us as its elementals created our bodies and we are sorrounded by it anywhere we go. We would be a repressed human being if we didn’t have art to express and nature to inspire us. Much Love to you!

  6. After my trip to Scotland I appreciate nature more than ever. I have seen the amazing ways it helps children to reconnect with life.

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      Author

      Dearest Trudy, what a delight it was to meet you in Scotland (thanks to Niki Buchan) and I am so happy you have been inspired by all that you experienced – I hope one day I can come and visit you in your beautiful space in Australia, wishing you a magical day, love and peace Marghanita x

  7. All Children Are the Precious Gift of Love
    Pure, Innocent and Creatively Bubbling with the Life Force of being Alive..
    Nurturing the Hearts of our Sweethearts throught the expression of Art in Nature is the Greatest Aventure of in this Human Life to learn and grow in Love with Mother Earth 😉
    Love You Marghanita <3
    You are our Support and Blessing in Taking Care of our Children All over the World in the Hearth of every Family!!
    " THANK YOU SO MUCH "
    We appreciate You a lot

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      Author

      Dearest Krish, thank you for this beautiful share, deeply appreciated – my spirit is dancing with you – wishing you a beautiful and creative day, love and peace Marghanita xx

  8. I always cherish reading your write-ups..and the language you use is so soul refreshing..

    I have a daughter 1.5 years old and also starting a kindergarten soon.. and i firmly believe that we are condensed form of cosmos..and to know ourselves and to remain in peace and happiness we need to belong to what we are..working in nature and with nature helps children know, observe, contemplate and discern…because it gives all the freedom and all the time..and nature reciprocates to our love..
    thats what children require..actually all of us require…love to reciprocate on its own…
    Thanks a lot for all your creations..
    Wish you ample peace and happiness..

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      Author

      Dearest Archana, I am deeply touched by your beautiful words – my soul is dancing – what a joy it is to dance with kindred spirits in celebration of our children, Mother Earth, life – what a gift, a miracle…thank you sweet soul – wishing you an enchanting weekend with our beautiful Mother Earth – enjoy, love and peace Marghanita xxx

  9. oh yes! I love the simplicity of your nature art table. Our world and children need nature immersion to stay connected with their natural selves. Nature gives nourishment, beauty, peace, life wisdom, foundations and support. Nature is our children’s and all of our teacher.
    Thank you for sharing your inspiration!

  10. Exposure to nature improves a childs wellbeing. It provides a spiritual connection and a sense of awe and purpose. We speak of the classroom as being the 3rd teacher. Nature is a perfect beautiful 3rd teacher. Both nature and art invite children to explore and create. It builds their confidence and gives them the opportunity to learn through touch.

  11. I believe nature is important for many reasons and i believe children should be able to be taught to respect and value it for the beauty it is and sustainable fun education 🙂

  12. We are working to ensure that children have a variety of opportunities for natural play and this will be so easy to add to our outdoor space.

  13. Hi
    I am always on the look out for new ideas in the outdoors. I have changed s how recently and we are looking for fun ways to utilise our outdoor space. As a forest school leader I believe children should be outside as much as possible.

  14. Children should connect with nature right from the early years .
    Nature provides us with free developmentally appropriate resources for the socio emotional and artistic development of children.Through creative activities we can teach children the value of nature that surrounds them and the need to preserve them .

    Children can be the agents of change that we wish to see in adults.

  15. Nature is how we connect to the greater universal consciousness. Nature provides children an opportunity to become nurturers, healers, artists, and develop compassion and empathy. These are things missing from the sterile world of electronics and plastics.

  16. Moving programming outdoors opens a whole new world of creative opportunities! The sensory stimulation from being in nature is perfect to engage the minds of young and old.

  17. I currently have a blank canvas in an outdoor area by my school. This would be a perfect project to start incorporating children’s creativity while enjoying nature. There is something about nature that just inspires one to explore, use their imaginations and let them be free to create without judgement. I love this idea and am looking forward to putting another creative element with my program. Thank you.

  18. As educators we should be looking at the children’s ideas NOT there interests. Asking a child ‘what do you THINK’ instead of ’what do you KNOW’ will provoke a stimulating dialogue and ideas.

    For many reasons, including the prevalence of electronic media, children today spend relatively little time in natural environments. This “nature deficit” has been linked to disturbing trends such as childhood obesity, attention disorders, and depression.

    Outdoor spaces offer valuable learning opportunities, and natural settings can inspire the kind of thinking, learning, leadership, and innovation that may be inhibited in children in the classroom but that, once revealed, can be incorporated back into the classroom environment.

    As a professional in the field of early childhood education, I believe one of my callings is to leave a legacy of ‘wonder’ when it comes to open ended exploration of the natural environment around us.

  19. Hi, thank you for sharing! I just moved to the country side (in Brazil where I live) and have a beautiful outdoor area facing the mountains… one of my goals is set arts workshops for the children! I believe nature teachs them about life. How things are born and die, how things are made, like food, I mean, real food…and so much more! Nature invites to contemplation, to look for details. Plus all the space they have to be…children! Run, get messy and so on.

  20. Convincing teachers that it is ok to bring children to the outdoors, to let them hold a ‘class’ in nature when parents are always chasing the ‘results’ can be a tricky balance. But, seeing the flickers of sun rays on a child’s face, the look of pure delight as she finds an insect, a stick a leaf or mysterious hole creates an understanding within any adult who is lucky enough to observe, a realisation that this is where we belong! And this is how children learn! Long hidden memories of happy childhood days playing in the fields, discovering the beauty of the world that embraces us are churned up, why would we not want to foster this wonder and beauty for our children?

  21. These photos are inspiring too! Art and nature allow the child to explore, learn and to just revel in their environment and place in it. They can make a mark, or just see, touch, sense what is already all around them. It is such a joyful and open-ended space to be in, a place for that sense of wonder. Art invites the person to pour out their responses to what is stimulating their senses.

  22. Creativity sparks learning. When we can bring art and nature into play, we are letting children open their minds and let the learning in.

  23. Thank you for the wonderful photos and ideas. I think about the artists in the 19th century who went outside to paint. The light is different outside, the air, the feel on the skin. Bringing even familiar material outside can provide for children such a rich sensory experience.

  24. As a child I climbed trees, explored creeks and made cubby houses for hours during holiday periods and weekends. My parents didn’t know where I was, nor were there mobile phones. I came home dirty, sometimes injured but I survived and went out the next day to do the same. In an ever changing world parents forget the experiences they had as children and the joy and challenge it brought. In early childhood setting we can give today’s child the opportunity of experiencing these joys.

  25. Thank you for all rhe beautiful quotes. I work in a school for children with alternative lifestyles, and many students are nonverbal I would love to learn how to tap into their creativity hence they will benefit immensely from more opportunities to be creative especially combined with nature. I would appreciate any resources you may have to share.

  26. Nature and art bring children closer to the Creator – enjoying what He has created and encouraging the creative instincts we each receive as His children.

  27. Nature and art are important in everyone’s lives, to connect to nature, to live WITH the earth, not FROM the earth. Appreciating the living organism that our planet is. Nature is SO bountiful in resources, SO creative itself. Being IN nature makes children aware/conscious that everything is ALIVE. Look after it. Create, NOT destroy.

  28. I feel nature is important to children as it allows them to connect with their environment. It allows for understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Bringing nature into art gives children the opportunity to experiment, explore and create and further allows them to develop understanding and meaning.

  29. a picture is worth a thousand words… thank you for the clear illustrations of how you encourage children to express themselves. I have the boards, old tires and plenty of leaves and am ready to start…

  30. Love how important you emphasize the role of creative and natural art and the way it positively affects on children to grow and develop their emotional, social, cognitive and many many more skills.

  31. Pingback: SOUP, BUGS AND JOURNALS - Educating the Heart with Nature Art

  32. Marghanita, I am thrilled to have stumbled on your blog. what an inspiration you are to others and a gift to little children. Children and nature go hand-in-hand and I am doing my best to bring more nature into my city classroom. I would appreciate the pdf with instructions for building the outdoor art table. I passed your article on to my principal who already gave me approval. I am sooooo excited. Thank you! Blessings to you!!

  33. Children can learn so much through nature. As educators we should help them to develop the curiosity to be ‘at one’ with nature.

  34. This is learning per excellence. Children were so relaxed and fully engaged. Teaching and learning activities is indeed back to nature. Early childhood educators should emulate this teaching strategy. What a great job you have done, well done.

  35. Creativity is a gift we all possess. It can be nurtured in many ways and in many places. However, the outdoors is the most natural environment that can draw this gift from within us.

    Being able to experiment in the outdoors is refreshing and unlimiting. It provides an opportunity for children as well as adults to be nurtured by nature,

    The ideas and thoughts presented in your article are stimulating and potentially life changing for children.

  36. Educating the heart reflects what and how working with nature really is. Nature play and nature art is grounding, sensory, calming, open ended, creative and a wonderful experience for children and adults.
    A lovely way to learn about many concepts without even knowing that learning is happening. 🙂

  37. Outdoors and nature give our children the freedom of movement and exploration. Children are intrinsically motivated to explore and experiment when the environment is right for them. Nature provides that environment without the need to add mountains of energy creating resources and activities. Art in this environment allows children to record their thoughts in their own way provided adults do not feel the need to direct this!! I have a background in forest school education and having gone to work in an inner city early years centre cannot believe the manner in which they use the outdoors. I would love to create an art bench for them.

  38. Love the low child-sized table, so perfect for the little ones to enjoy art activities while outdoors. Nature and Art are such a wonderful combination that can influence a variety of learning experiences and I love these ideas! Thank you

  39. Thanks for sharing this idea! So simple, practical, and impactful. Creating things always helps children feel powerful and productive … but peaceful at the same time. We need to keep fostering all 3 for healthy, balanced lives. I will love to receive your PDF. 🙂
    Blessings ~

  40. This is very close to our environment and would help the children connect with nature and do the things very creative manner. Very beautiful pictures and lovely children doing very useful task to improve their all domains of development.

  41. Loved the innovative idea . I’m working with Indian school in a small city where no exposure to outdoor activities. Pls share PDF .
    Thanks

  42. More and more children need to have opportunities to be connected to nature. We live in a beautiful place but parents are too busy working and it is too easy to plug children in to electronics rather than open the door and explore outside . When children engage with nature, they wonder, touch,observe,smell. The natural world awakens imagination. It excited and calms the soul.

  43. Dear Mam Marghanita,
    Thanks for sharing superb article about art and nature. I would like to receive your ideas about setting a natural classroom. please mail me.

  44. Thank you for your wonderful website. Exploring outdoors for play experiences and for art provide opportunities to help enhance fine and gross motor experiences – it also provides opportunities for basic knowledge absorption. Outdoor art explorations help chidlren understand about their environment, themselves and each other.

  45. Such beautiful and inspiring ideas to help children experience nature and feel free, competent and in harmony with their space and each other.

  46. This is so cool and easy! Im doing it this week for sure! Thank you! Nature is important for kids to teach them things, explore, create, and imagine.

  47. This is so cool and easy! Im doing it this week for sure! Thank you! Nature is important for kids to teach them things, explore, create, and imagine.

  48. Being outdoors is great for children’s physical development and introducing art into this encourages creative thinking and learning about new ways to explore art using natural materials. This links in greatly in my role where we are currently introducing families into the outdoor environment and showing easy and fun ways to use nature in play!

  49. Outdoor experiences are great for children to get their physical activity in, enjoy the wildlife and experience new sounds, see new colors as the seasons change. There are lots of things that a child can experience by going outside. But it isn’t just for the children, these experiences also helps families get out together to do more things as “families”

  50. Love your article! Especially how mobile and low the art table is! Art and nature are both essential for children’s health. Being in nature and creating art helps to keep our minds free of anxiety and feelings of worry or sadness. The natural environment allows all of our senses to be engaged and there is no better place to be inspired to create. Giving children more time outside in nature allows their bodies to move in ways that help their physical development and playing in nature and getting dirty is the best medicine for their immune systems. Doctors needs to start prescribing nature art as medicine.

  51. I love the art tables. Simple and yet so beautiful. Children love to be in nature and have the chance to create art. I look forward to reading your chapter 🙂

  52. this is such an awesome idea, I’d love it for my preschool!we believe in holistic and play based learning and outdoor activity is a major part of that! these are some great ideas, thanks!

  53. Nature and art are so important to our children’s lives! To give them an outlet where they can connect through sensory experiences with nature and creative experiences through the many different processes art offers is all going to help their development and dispositions (creativity, curiousity, resourcefileness). Really inspiring!

  54. As a child I grew up on 3 acres to be free, explore and create. Nature brings all the five sense alive! You speak to my heart. I am truly passionate that children and adults need to mess about and express feelings and being outside gives much freedom. Our nature based school is in Michigan and we believe in 100 languages of children to express their thoughts & knowledge. Thank you for your inspiration and sharing it with others. It’s the gift of the ripple effect!

  55. Art is the Song of our Hearts…
    We are the Hear of our Mother
    Mother Earth nurses All of us since the dawn of existence
    In Her is the whole source of Oneness
    Known as Gaia, She is living and playing as children do!
    To tap in her Divine Realm is creating that primal exuberance and making life a Celebration
    All is From Her, In Her, For Her..
    Children easily grow in love and abundance while kissing Her!!

  56. In nature, I feel whole, I feel present, I feel calm. I want to give this to my child. Simplicity, availability and accessibility, the more I think about these points, the more I realize that this is doable, but not only doable, necessary – Creating art outside is a must! Thank you for the inspiration, Marguanita, and I look forward to more of it! Love & light, Chawn <3

  57. I want to be able to offer my child a world that is untouched by man. To open the doors to creativity and imagination. To observe things instead of reading about them in a text book. Thank you so much for this opportunity. Xoxo

  58. Art and nature go together as they both are impulses for children- the urge to create and the urge to be outside! I work toward supporting these impulses daily with my class of 3-5 ty old children. Thanks for the inspiration!

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      How wonderful Elaine – I know it will gift immense joy for all in your woodlands – please do keep us posted on the developments…must visit you when I am next over in UK…with love and gratitude Marghanita x

  59. Nature and art are important in children’s eyes because nature affords so many benefits and opportunities for a child to make sense of their world, and art is an expression of what each child finds valuable in their personal world. Coupling them together just makes sense!

  60. Inviting provocation lead to creativity. We believe that the environment is the third teacher. We have an amazing outdoor space for children and would love to have an art table like this to add to our space. Thank you for making this available. You continue to inspire by making nature and art visible for the world roses. Thank you! Xo

  61. I love the idea of creating art-enhanced natural outdoor opportunities for children. And these examples are gorgeous! Many Thanks!

  62. My goodness, I just want to slip into the pictures on my screen because they are so magical. The images are so inviting and engaging for exploring and learning. Bravo!

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