1. Collaborate with nature to make a land art sculpture
Search around the forest floor or a rocky beach. What do you see? An oak forest may be carpeted with acorns and leaves, while a beach may have many types of seashells. A land art sculpture is created entirely from materials found in the environment within which it is constructed, residing in harmony with the earth. After the children have collected some materials, they may choose to lay out a spiral pattern of pinecones, or a sunburst sculpture of fern fronds with rays made of lined-up snowberries.
For inspiration, search for images of the cool balanced rock formations of artist Michael Grab, or the ombre lines of intensely hued leaves by Andy Goldsworthy. Remember, land art sculptures are to be left in place, where they will eventually be dismantled by weather and wild animals. This may be challenging for kids who want to take their work of art home; take a photo instead and try to use the opportunity to teach the Zen philosophy of impermanence in nature.
Where to go for inspiration: Kayak Point Park in Snohomish County has a wonderful pebble beach south of the point for perusing water-polished rocks in many colors and driftwood, and the adjacent forest trail offers a bounty of leaves and pinecones. Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle is the place in the city for finding many different hues and shapes of fallen leaves and cones, with wide open-ground spaces for assembling works of art. Kids can also practice creating land art in their back yard with whatever cones, sticks, berries and leaves they may find there, and then observe as their sculpture gets dismantled by weather and the passage of time.