Nature mobile for kids with clay beads

Make a Nature Mobile for Kids With Gathered Materials + Air Dry Clay

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Go for a nature walk and gather natural materials to use for this beautiful nature mobile. Painted air dry clay beads add the finishing touch! Nature based art project and post by Abbey Donald of Wild Wattle Folk

Child painting clay beads and finished nature mobile

Children are naturally drawn to nature, especially preschoolers. If your little ones are anything like mine, it’s not rare for a quick walk to the park to see us coming home with heavy pockets filled with rocks, sticks, leaves and any other piece of nature the kids found along the way.

On the days when we go on nature walks my bag is usually filled with seed pods, fallen bark and branches. You name it, and it’s probably made its way back into our home. 

Child painting clay beads for nature mobile

The hard part isn’t collecting.  But figuring out what to do with all this newly found natural treasure can be a difficult task.

This nature mobile is the perfect way to not only create something, but also to hang up and show some of the treasured items we collect. 

Finished nature mobile hanging with clay beads and found nature objects

How to Make a Nature Mobile for Kids

MATERIALSThis post contains affiliate links.

  • Air dry clay
  • Cord or yarn 
  • A small stick or skewer
  • Paint
  • Two sticks roughly the same size
  • Four pieces of nature treasure (preferably similar in weight as the project is easier to do if it’s evenly weighted)
  • Clear drying craft glue (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Gathered objects from nature, air dry clay, clay beads, paint and yarn for creating nature mobile

How to Make Clay Beads

First, make your clay beads as these will take a little while to dry. If you are using ready-made beads please head straight to Step 4.

1. Roll out clay beads

Take a teaspoon-sized piece of air dry clay and roll it into a little ball. Make as many balls as you would like beads for your mobile. We made twelve in total, three for each side of the mobile.

2. Pokes hole in the clay beads

Now take each little clay ball and using a skewer or small stick, poke a hole from one side straight through to the other to make a little clay bead.

3. Let beads dry

Set them aside on a tray or dish to dry and harden. We find the best place for ours to dry is on a well-lit, sunny windowsill.

Child painting clay beads for nature mobile

4. Paint beads

Once your clay beads are dry, begin painting them any color your little folk choose and set aside again to dry.

I like to make some clay beads prior to doing this activity so that the kids can set those aside to dry and continue straight on if they choose to.

Then we can use the others they made for a range of things like necklaces or suncatchers.

Pine cone and clay beads hanging on cord for nature mobile for kids

How to Assemble the Nature Mobile

1. Cut & loop cord

Take your cord and cut off roughly five feet. Take one end and create a small hook for your mobile to hang off and knot it together (approximately two fingers in width will do).

Two sticks with yarn attached for nature mobile

2. Wind cord in X shape

Taking your two sticks, place them side by side about six inches from the loop end of your cord and tie the cord around the two of them.

Child winding cord around sticks in x shape for nature mobile

Turn your two sticks so they are now making an X shape.

Begin wrapping the cord over the top of one of the sticks, moving over and under and back over the top to the next stick in a clockwise pattern similar to when you are creating an Ojo de Dios.

Continue using up all the cord and tie it off in a double knot.

Painted clay beads strung on yarn for nature mobile with found nature items

3. Attach cord to nature treasure

One by one take a piece of your chosen nature treasure and tie one end of a piece of twelve inch cord to each.

If your nature treasure doesn’t have an easy place to tie the cord, you can always glue the cord to it, as we did with the pinecone in ours.

Hanging colored clay beads with nature object attached for nature mobile

4. Thread beads & attach to nature mobile

Now take your painted clay beads which should be dry and thread them on to each piece of cord holding the nature treasure.

Once you’re happy with the amount of beads on each, you can tie them to your nature mobile frame. This is the tricky part as you will want to try to evenly distribute the weight of each so your mobile stays as even as possible once hung.

Now that your nature mobile is complete, you can get your little wild folk to choose a place to hang it and be inspired each time they pass by it!

Pin It For Later

Use gathered materials from nature walks & air dry clay beads to create this beautiful nature mobile. Project & post by Abbey Donald of Wild Wattle Folk. #preschoolers #creativehome #springcrafts #wintercrafts #summercrafts #fallcrafts #kidscrafts #handmadegifts #artsandcrafts #craftsforkids #sensory #sensoryactivity #sensoryactivities

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