It’s spring! Even though life feels upside down because of coronavirus, or perhaps especially because life feels upside down, it can be helpful to pause and enjoy the beauty of spring, no matter how small. Here are two meditative nature and art activities that are helping me to enjoy spring with my little kids while sharing that joy with others!
My two preschoolers have noticed tiny wildflowers all over our little lawn and trees blossoming around the neighborhood. I have enjoyed picking these violets and buttercups as much as the kids this week; amid the anxiety, it’s been a chance to connect with spring. At first, we put the flowers in vases—an old spice jar works well. Then we started getting creative…
A Nature Mandala
Thanks to the art teacher at our kids’ school, we started looking at pictures of artwork by Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy makes sculptures out of nature, and then he … lets nature destroy them. This can be a lovely idea to share with kids and it really captured their imagination.
So on a recent walk in Rock Creek Park, we made “nature mandalas.” The idea is simple: Find some sticks to make a shape or draw one in the sand, then fill the areas with different colored flowers, leaves, or stones.
After leaving our mandalas near the trail, we stayed close by playing. From a distance, we noticed other passersby discovering our creations. At a time when we are all feeling isolated, it was especially fun to see my kids’ excitement when a passing stranger showed interest in their work.
Spring Window Hangings Double as Great Gifts
With so many people under stay-at-home orders, it can be more difficult than usual to feel connected to family. Grandparents and others may also especially enjoy getting a letter in the mail! These wax paper window decorations are a fun way to let little kids create something to mail to grandparents, aunts, or uncles.
After gathering flowers, our kids arranged the blossoms and petals on a piece of wax paper. When they were ready, we covered the design with another piece of wax paper, and then ironed them (kids can help iron with an adult). When heated by the iron, the wax on the paper sticks together and seals the flowers between the two sheets. These are lightweight and fit into an envelope, so you can mail them easily without having to visit the post office!
Note: We found it helpful to pull the flowers apart a bit so they aren’t too bulky when we ironed them together. Set the heat to medium and iron for just 20 seconds or so; the wax melts easily.
In this stressful time, pausing to appreciate the beauty in these tiny flowers gave me a few moments of peace. Let us know if you try these nature and art activities and if you found the same to be true!
(Check out other mental health ideas related to the coronavirus pandemic on the blog here).