Land art is art constructed in the landscape using natural, raw materials found in the surrounding environment. I love land art not just for children, but for adults as well. It requires patience, focus and creativity. There doesn’t need to be a lot of direction, either. Land artist, Richard Shilling, lists six simple steps for creating land art with your kids:
Explore. Get outside and run around with your kids. Build forts, climb trees, walk along streams and explore the area. You might discover something you never noticed before.
Collect. Find something you like and collect as many of them as you can.
Where. Find a spot to make your art. It could be in the grass, the dirt, or even the sand if you’re at the beach. Maybe you want a spot in the sun or in the shade. Maybe there’s a comfy place to sit.
What. Now it’s time to decide what to make. Start with a spiral, a shape, a tower, or even a person.
How. Check out these How-Tos for some inspiration, but most of all, use your imagination! Be sure to snap a photo of the finished artwork, because unfortunately, land art doesn’t last.
Learn. Don’t forget to ask questions about things you see. Why is this leaf brown and this one is yellow? Why did we find so many clam shells in the stream now, but not in the winter? Once you start to notice things, the questions are endless.
Some children might be frustrated when the leaves are blown away or the shells wash away with the waves. I encourage you to use it as a teachable moment. I recently discovered an interview with Shilling in which he talks about the ephemeral nature of his medium. He said, “Life creates order and beauty from raw materials and then nature returns everything back to dust once again.” We know that the “life” and “nature” he is referring to is God Himself. And just like with the changing seasons, there is a beauty in the cycle of life.