Feathers provide a great nature-based opportunity for kids to notice patterns, shapes & lines. Help kids make their own feather art in a lovely DIY shadow box in this easy nature drawing and painting activity by Samara Caughey of Purple Twig.
I’m always on the look out for projects using little boxes. Children respond with glee to the idea of something special inside of boxes.
It might be a bug, a special collection of one thing or another, a found treasure or a little world.
This nature drawing project combines two of my loves—small boxes and feathers.
Drawing feathers is a fantastic exercise in observation of patterns and is an easy nature drawing activity for kids.
I have been collecting feathers for quite a few years, mostly on our family camping trips.
I have found pelican feathers, vulture feathers, blue jay feathers and even wild turkey feathers, which are my favorite. You can also buy feathers at craft stores or find them online.
Feather Drawing and Painting with Kids
1. Observe the shapes, lines and patterns of your feathers
I lay the feathers out on the table and ask children to observe the feathers. Encourage them to notice the outside shape, the patterns on the vane of the feathers and the way the barbs may separate.
2. Drawing feathers
I ask my students to draw at least three feathers on their watercolor paper using an oil pastel. I also ask them to keep in mind that the feathers need to fit inside of the box.
3. Painting feathers with watercolors
When they’re finished drawing, I put out the liquid watercolor and brushes.
I don’t give them directions for this part. I just let them explore the watercolor and how they might want to use it.
4. Cut & glue feather art
When dry, the kids cut out the feathers and glue them into the box.
I also offer a feather to add to the box if they’d like it.
I hope you enjoy this easy nature drawing activity!
For more nature art ideas for children, including some on drawing and painting, see Nature Art for Kids: 33 Nature Activities to Try.
For more easy drawing ideas for kids, see 75 Creative Drawing Ideas for Kids to Foster Confidence & Creativity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samara Caughey is the owner of Purple Twig, an art studio for kids and families in Los Angeles, CA. She has a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in Photography and an MFA from USC in sculpture.
Samara has been creating art with children for 15 years and continues to be constantly surprised and delighted by watching kids explore materials to create their work. You can also find her on Instagram.
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