Nature Painting: An Outdoor Water Activity

Need a fun, beat-the-heat activity for those “Mom, I’m bored!” moments? This nature water painting activity will keep the kids busy and cool in the heat of the great outdoors.


Bundle, our four year old, just can’t get enough outside play time. Our little baby pool and the outside water table is being filled up daily! She loves using anything she can measure and pour with, and is especially fond of splashing her dad. 😀

But indoors, she’s also a lover of water colors. I wanted to combine her favorite outdoor and indoor activities in a way that uses natural materials, keeps her cool in the hot sun, and gets her mind and body moving!


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A wide variety of long-stemmed natural materials – sticks, twigs, dandelions, flowers or flower stems, feathers, leaves, longer stalks of wheat, long pieces of grass, etc.
  • a small container of water
  • sidewalk

The teacher in me feels the need to encourage you to take your time gathering the nature materials, or “paintbrushes,” if you will. This is half (possibly more than half) the fun and has great educational benefits! Wandering around the yard and discovering what might work best as a paintbrush gives your child time to make predictions, think critically, and get exercise!

Fill up your container with water and gather all your materials in one spot near or on the sidewalk. Then have your child dip each material in the water and create lines or designs or pictures on the warm sidewalk.

Here are some of the things Bundle found in our yard:


She chose a piece of kale, worn-out wicker from some lawn furniture, dandelions, long blades of grass, and weeds. 🙂

At first, my daughter was dismayed at the idea of her drawings evaporating (hello, science lesson fodder!), but quickly changed her mind when she realized she could create drawing after drawing without need for an “eraser.” In a few minutes, one drawing would be dried up and she could start all over again!

We wrote letters, drew flowers, and dotted the “paint” onto the sidewalk with flower petals.  She also enjoyed splattering dots of water with a large dandelion stem…Jackson Pollock style.


Eventually, the water painting turned into an impromptu game of sink or float. She was delighted that nearly everything floated!



I’m so glad the sun allowed us the chance to do this today. At lunch time, none of us wanted to come in, and this quick and easy activity spurred on a lot of other constructive, outdoor exploration. I think we may have to make this a weekly activity!


How do you stay cool while playing and exploring in the summer heat?





4 thoughts on “Nature Painting: An Outdoor Water Activity

  1. I love it! That’s totally the type of activity we’d do around here. We’ll have to try it soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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