Good Earth Art: Environmental Art for Kids

Good Earth Art: Environmental Art for Kids

by MaryAnn F. Kohl, Cindy Gainer

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Featuring more than two hundred projects, this guide offers ideas for painting and drawing, sculpture and mobiles, collage and printing, weaving and crafts, and handmade art supplies, all to emphasize recycling and natural materials.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780935607277
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/01/1991
Series: Bright Ideas for Learning (TM) Series , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 20 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 3 - 8 Years

About the Author

MaryAnn F. Kohl is the author of Discovering Great Artists and Fine Art. Cindy Gainer is the author of I'm Like You, You're Like Me. Together they are the coauthors of MathArts.

Read an Excerpt





any paper crayons, paints, pens, pencils leaves, weeds, wildflowers


1. Collect used paper with unusual textures, surfaces, and sizes. (Hint: Ask your local print shop to save a box for you. Sometimes they have foiled papers, sticker-backed paper, and unusual textures and sizes.)

2. Allow free drawing or painting to be stimulated by the uniqueness of the paper.

EXTENSION: nature's drawings

1. Collect leaves, weeds, and wildflowers.

2. Use the collected items to draw with. Press, rub, or squeeze leaves or flowers into the paper to draw with their natural juices and colors.

3. Experiment with using juice from berries, too.

VARIATIONS: use unusual papers for —

1. ink pad printing

2. vegetable prints

3. any project asking for paper



paper newspaper tempera paint paintbrush scissors crayons paste or glue extra newspaper to cover the table water or a jar to wash out the brush


1. Paint a background on the paper.

2. Set aside to dry.

3. Draw a design on the newspaper.

4. After the background has dried, paste or glue design onto it. Use crayons to add details, if desired.


1. a dinosaur on jungle background

2. flowers on grass

3. boat on water

4. buildings on night sky



sponge cut into small pieces acrylic paints container of water newspaper tin cans from soup, coffee, or fruit


1. Remove label from tin cans. Wash and dry cans.

2. Moisten sponges in water.

3. Squeeze acrylic paints onto newspaper.

4. Dip sponges into paints and dab onto cans.

5. Let dry.

6. Fill cans with pencils, crayons, or other treasured items, or use the decorated can as a gift container.

VARIATIONS: Cover cans with a rectangle of paper. Then decorate paper with:

1. sponge prints using tempera paint

2. finger prints and ink pads

3. crayon drawings

4. glued on scraps



cardboard box tempera paints paint brushes water rags


1. Paint box with tempera making a colorful scene, design or picture. Cover all sides.

2. Let dry.

3. Store books, toys, or favorite things in your painted box, or use as a small table or display case.


1. Paint a variety of boxes and assemble as a box sculpture.

2. Paint a large appliance box to become a playhouse, rocketship, or hideout. Add doors, windows, and secret openings by carefully cutting cardboard.



water color or tempera paints brush water in container plaster of Paris pie tin or paper plate stick for stirring


Fresco means to paint with water based paint on wet plaster. The paint permeates the plaster and becomes a part of the plaster. Fresco means "fresh," referring to the wet plaster.

1. Mix plaster of Paris according to the box directions, and pour into a paper plate. Smooth with a stick. (Insert a hanging device such as a paper clip or loop of yarn if you wish.)

2. Paint on the wet plaster with tempera paints or water color paints. As long as the plaster is damp, fresco painting will be effective.

3. Allow plaster to dry.

4. Remove the plaster plaque from the paper plate.

5. Hang or use as a table or shelf decoration.


1. Pour plaster in an identation in the sand at the beach for a plaster casting. Paint.

2. Pour plaster in a box. Tear away cardboard when dry.

3. Make a mold for the plaster in other ways, such as a ring of heavy paper in a base of Plasticine clay.



tempera paint liquid starch dark paper drawing objects (paper clip, comb, stick, plastic fork)


1. Mix tempera paint with liquid starch until thick and fluffy.

2. Brush a thick layer over dark paper.

3. Draw designs through paint.

4. Paint over the surface and begin again, if desired.


1. Make a comb out of cardboard and draw through paint design.

2. Dip cardboard comb into multi-colors of paint and pull across paper. Make interesting, three-color designs.

3. Dip a popsicle stick into the paint and starch mixture, spreading it on paper in globs. Allow to dry. Add more layers and more colors, drying between layers. Resembles a true oil painting.



white plastic bottle nail or large needle felt pen or crayon rag yarn, optional


1. Cut the flat part of a plastic bottle into a shape.

2. Scratch a design into the plastic with the needle or nail.

3. Color the scratches with pen or crayons.

4. Rub the plastic with the rag. Color will be left inside the scratches only.

5. Make a hole at the top of the scrimshaw design, if desired.

6. Wear as necklace or hang to view.


1. Make two holes in the design, insert ribbon, and wear as bracelet.

2. Scrimshaw picture can be glued to a cardboard or other frame.



fingerpaint plastic bag (used, clean, with no holes)

1. Spoon colorful fingerpaint inside a large plastic bag.

2. Close tightly with tape, or use a ziploc variety.

3. Press designs with fingers into bag and watch paint move aside to make designs.


1. Try other colored mixtures instead of paint:

pudding mustard or ketchup lotion

2. Experiment with adding other little bits and fancies inside the paint, such as confetti, pieces of lace, or tiny shreads of fabric. Use nothing sharp that might poke a hole in the bag.



slate shingle acrylic paints paintbrushes newspaper container of water rags


1. Make sure shingle is clean and dry and free of insects. When handling beware of sharp edges.

2. Squeeze acrylic paints onto newspaper.

3. Use paintbrushes and paints to create a colorful design or picture on the slate.

4. Let dry.


1. A simple hand drill (non-electric) can be used to drill a hole in the top of the slate. Thread heavy string or twine through the hole and hang.

2. Use a rock or piece of chalk to draw on slate.

3. Young children enjoy painting on slate with water and paintbrush.



roofing felt (from local contractor, roofer, or lumber yard)

1. Cut a piece of roofing felt to a comfortable working size.

2. Lay it on a flat surface.

3. Draw a colorful scene, design or picture with colored pencils onto the felt.


1. Paint a thin coat of gesso, latex paint, or white tempera paint on roofing felt to prime. Let dry. Draw on primed surface for a different effect.

2. Glue broken jewelry to roofing felt to enhance design.

3. Add any decorative items such as beans, seeds, macaroni, glitter, or feathers.



newspaper crayons (with paper peeled off)

1. Spread newspaper onto work surface.

2. Place leaves or wildflowers on the newspaper.

3. Place paper on top of leaves or wildflowers.

4. Hold a crayon sideways and rub over the leaves or wildflowers.

(Hint: Feel them with your hands.)

5. Watch the leaves and wildflowers appear as you rub them over with crayons.


1. Try making different patterns by arranging leaves and wildflowers in rows, circles.

2. Gather other things from nature, such as reeds, grasses, weeds.

3. Take your paper out into the world and make rubbings from surfaces such as tree bark, brick walls, and shingles.

4. Paint over crayon rubbing with thinned, watery paint for a crayon resist.



small, smooth stones tempera paints paintbrushes newspaper to cover the table a cup or jar of water rags


1. Wash and dry stones.

2. Paint designs and pictures on the stones.

3. Let dry.

4. Give as a gift or keep to enjoy.


1. Glue rocks to a wood scrap or piece of cardboard. Decorate or paint in a pattern or design.

2. Color stones with crayon. Place in oven on low until crayon melts.

3. Put stones in garden to enjoy.



clear glass filled with water to the top window sill bright sunlight white paper water color paints or crayons


1. Fill a glass with water to the top.

2. Set glass on window sill in bright sunlight.

3. Glass should stick out over the ledge a little bit.

4. Place a white piece of paper on the floor beneath the window.

5. Capture the rainbow on the paper.

6. Paint or color the paper to match the rainbow.

7. Remove the paper and enjoy the artistic rainbow.


1. Create a rainbow outside with a garden hose. The sun must be shining, with your back to the sun. Make a fine mist with the hose and find the rainbow.

2. Using colored tissue, make rainbows by sticking tissue to white paper with liquid starch or thinned white glue.



large piece of paper pens sunlight and shadow


1. Find a shadow you like.

2. Place paper on ground so that shadow is on paper.

3. Draw around the outline of the shadow.

4. Your drawing is complete.


1. Paint or color in some of the spaces or designs outlined in pen.

2. Use same paper to add more shadows, overlapping lines if desired.

3. Make a theme drawing such as "Objects on the Playground", "My Favorite Friends", "Flowers of Spring", and so on.

4. Have someone trace your own shadow. Then paint or color the drawing to be you or an imaginary form of you.

5. Trace a shadow on the sidewalk with chalk.



cotton balls white glue pencil paper crayons sand, grass, pine needles, leaves, bark (optional)


1. Observe the clouds in the sky.

2. Draw cloud shapes onto paper.

3. Glue cotton balls onto the cloud shapes, pulling cotton into thin and wispy shapes or into fluffy and thick shapes.

4. Let dry.

5. Use crayons to add to your creations, if desired.


1. Try making a grassy field by observing a field and using grasses.

2. Try making a sandy beach using sand.

3. Try making the "woods" by using pieces of dry bark, pine needles, and leaves from trees.

4. Use cotton balls to create a snow, fog, or cotton candy design.



dry sand (in paper cups or small containers)

1. Use pencil to draw a design or picture lightly on the paper.

2. Apply a bead of glue to the pencil lines.

3. Sprinkle sand gently over wet glue.

4. Tilt the paper up so that the extra sand falls off the paper onto an open sheet of newspaper.

5. Let dry.

6. Use crayons to add other details or color to the sand painting.


1. Try making a free flowing design without using the pencil first. Squeeze glue onto the paper quickly and see what you can create!

2. Try brushing glue from a cup here and there over paper. Add sand to glue. Shake off excess.



pots, pans newspaper or other throwaway paper paper grocery bags paste or white glue pencil crayons, markers, or colored pencils scissors


1. Cut grocery bag into a squarish-flat shape.

2. Put aside.

3. Open newspaper and trace the bottom side of pots and pans.

4. Cut out the shapes with scissors.

5. Paste shapes on grocery bag.

6. Decorate with crayons, pencils or markers, if desired.


1. Use other household items to trace such as spatulas, lids, hammers, hair brushes, shoes, or hands and feet.

2. Try pasting shapes on the bag without cutting it up for a creative carrying tote!

3. Go outdoors and trace objects.

4. Paint shapes instead of cutting them out.



paper or cardboard spray paint collected junk such as cans, old combs, old tools, chains


1. Arrange junk on paper or cardboard.

2. Spray junk lightly with paint.

3. Rearrange junk.

(Hint: You will be able to see an impression of your items on the paper.)

4. Spray lightly again.

5. Continue to rearrange and spray junk to make a creative junkyard design.

6. Let dry.


1. Glue junk to cardboard. Dry. Spray with silver paint for a gilded relief design.

2. Glue junk to cardboard. Dry. Cover with used aluminum foil until entire relief is covered.



spray bottles and liquid soap bottles food coloring, water, or watered down tempera paint snow


1. Fill bottles with colored water.

2. Find a fresh area of snow to create paintings.

3. Spray the area of snow with your bottles of colored water.


1. Create designs, pictures, or scenes on the snow.

2. Fill a pan with snow and spray color designs in the pan.



butcher paper powdered tempera paint in salt shaker ice cubes or icicles mittens


1. Lay butcher paper on floor or outside.

2. Put on mittens.

3. Sprinkle several colors of powdered tempera on the paper.

4. Hold an ice cube or icicle and draw it through the paint.


1. Add bits of white confetti to the paint when finished drawing.

2. Shake salt from a salt shaker on the paint and watch the magic.



large poster paper (ask a print shop for left-over paper)

1. Decide on a topic you want to highlight in the poster. (Examples: a favorite book, how to protect the earth, advertise something you like)

2. Start painting, drawing, and/or gluing as you design and create the poster.

3. Dry.

4. Display at home or find someone who might like to have the poster in their store, office, or school.


1. Look at posters for sale in the store and get ideas of artwork to use for your poster.

2. Cut used posters and use parts you like to make a collage poster with a new idea.

3. Make a poster that shows you care about something (like protecting endangered animals) and have it displayed somewhere it will help the cause (like at the library or zoo).



old sheet or cotton table cloth used shoe laces, yarn, or embroidery thread permanent laundry marker sewing machine or threaded needle scissors fabric pens sewing pins


1. Cut or tear sheet into rectangles (which will be the size of the book).

2. Stack rectangles, matching corners. (These are the pages.)

3. Fold material in half, and mark with pins.

4. Hand sew or machine sew up the center of the rectangles to hold all firmly together.

5. Draw on scraps of fabric with fabric pens.

6. Attach shoe lace or yarn to each drawing by hand sewing.

7. Cut two tiny slits in page and tie drawing to slits.

8. Cut as many spots for tying as desired on each page.

9. Write captions with laundry pen to describe each drawing.


1. Move drawings around from page to page for changing the story line.

2. Cover paper drawings with clear contact paper, punch a hole in the top, and substitute for fabric drawings.

3. Book can be an original story, a scrap book of different thoughts and likes, or a re-telling of a favorite story. Lots of options here!


Excerpted from "Good Earth Art"
by .
Copyright © 1991 Mary Ann F. Kohl.
Excerpted by permission of Bright Ring Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

6 Using symbols
10 Building Blocks to Creativity
11 Introduction

13-44 Chapter 1: Painting and Drawing
Examples of activities: Newspaper Design, Cardboard Box Painting, Fresco, Impasto, Scrimshaw, Felt Drawings, Nature Rubbings, Shadow Paintings, Leaf Burst

45-94 Chapter 2: Sculpture and Mobiles
Examples of activities: String Sew, Newspaper Sculpture, Paper Tube Sculpture, Shadow Art, Cardboard City, Aces Wild Sculpture, Lid Mobile, Theme Tree, Cinnamon Ornaments, Sandy Bakery, Seashell Display, On-Site Beach, Pebble Towers, Shell Chimes

95-128 Chapter 3: Collage and Printing
Examples of activities: String Collage, Wood Shavings Collage, Dried Bean Pictures, Waxed Paper Leaf Collage, Sandwich bag Designs, Funny Paper Art, Yarn Prints, Chalk Floats, Bubble Pop Art, Garden Prints, Foiled Leaf, Pressed Cookie Print

129-180 Chapter 4: Weaving and Crafts
Examples of activities: Branch Weave, Fence Weave, Fruit Basket Weave, Shrinkles, Stained Glass Lantern, Luminaries, Nature Wreath, Holiday Chain, Wildflower Chain, Feather Necklace, Pebble Necklace, Newspaper Beds, Egg Shell Planters

181-214 Chapter 5: Homemade by Hand
Examples of activities: Earth Paints, earth Crayons, Nature Paintbrush, Egg Shell Crayons, Homemade Rice Paste, Homemade paper, Recycled Wrap, Natural Berry Dye, Onion Skin Egg Dye, Homemade Fossils, Pressed Plants, Old Sock Puppets

215-224 Chapter 6: Resource Guide
Examples: Where to Find Free Materials, Environmental Organizations, Bibliography, Indexes, About the Authors

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Good Earth Art: Environmental Art for Kids (Bright Ideas for Learning) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Environmental Art for Kids, the sub-title. I like that. But what does it mean? This book takes kids outdoors to collect 'stuff' from nature, like leaves and pinecones, or indoors to collect 'stuff' like envelopes and newspaper. Once collected, there are about 150 projects for open-ended things to make with them. I especially liked making a 'leaf burst' with supple autumn leaves and paint.It's easy for even young kids, and it's beautiful. Easy too. I also like the page big idea per page, book stays open nicely, great icons to help with other decisions to be made like how difficult and so forth. And can you believe it gives recipes for making your own homemade paste, glue, yarn, and chalk? Even how to build a kiln outside and bake your own clay, dry your own flowers. This is a pretty nice book for parents or teachers, camps, or any one who likes kids. Great for ages 4-12.
brightringpublishing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Over two hundred projects for painting and drawing, sculpture and mobiles, collage and printing, weaving and crafts, and handmade art supplies emphasize recycling and natural materials.Environmental Art for Kids, the sub-title. I like that. But what does it mean? This book takes kids outdoors to collect "stuff" from nature, like leaves and pinecones, or indoors to collect "stuff" like envelopes and newspaper. Once collected, there are about 150 projects for open-ended things to make with them. I especially liked making a "leaf burst" with supple autumn leaves and paint. I tried it and it's beautiful, just like the book says. Easy too. I also like the page big idea per page, book stays open nicely, great icons to help with other decisions to be made like how difficult and so forth. And can you believe it gives recipes for making your own homemade paste, glue, yarn, and chalk? Even how to build a kiln outside and bake your own clay, dry your own flowers. This is a pretty nice book for parents or teachers, camps, or any one who likes kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago