Fine Art for Kids: Outdoor art installation activity for Earth Day

 - by Sarah Lipoff

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

No matter where you are on Friday, take a moment to respect and love the Earth. Spend a minute thinking about the things the Earth provides that you take for granted, like water, beautiful flowers, tasty foods, and natural wonders. An easy way to celebrate all the pretty things around us this Earth Day is to create a simple and interesting outdoor art installation.

There are several artists out there using the Earth as their canvases. One of my favorites hangs out in the Bay Area creating his own unique and awe-inspiring rock formations. Bill Dan creates gravity defying sculptures using rocks along the banks of the San Francisco Bay. It’s easy to spend hours watching him deftly balance and arrange big and small rocks into perfectly balanced natural formations. Andrew Goldsworthy finds interesting colored leaves, rocks, and grasses to form free-standing or ground based outdoor installations that draw the eye and amaze the viewer. And, he’s well versed in turning snow into something creative, too, so all you people suffering through crazy-winter-in-spring weather can’t use that white stuff as an excuse not to get outside and create something special on Earth Day!

So, the other day, while listening to the pounding waves and enjoying a nice stroll along the beach with the babe, we took the time to collect some of our favorite rocks to create our own Bill Dan/Andrew Goldsworthy inspired outdoor installation. Although she’s a bit young to understand the concept of Earth Day, she sure loves being outside and all that nature has to offer. We felt the rocks, talked about the colors of the rocks, and found a few other interesting things along the beach to use, too.

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Our final creation was very simple, but it was fun to create something together – and my wee tot had a hard time deciding if her creation was, indeed,  “finished.” Along the way I snapped some pictures to remind ourselves of our first Earth Day outdoor art creation.

Earth Day is a great opportunity to head outside with your child and gather a collection of beautiful and interesting things while amongst nature. Then you can help your child turn those items into her own special outdoor installation piece by finding a nice level spot to work. Your child can either begin balancing her items to create a free-standing balanced creation, or position those items flat on the ground, thinking about design and pattern.

When your child is satisfied with her creation, offer her a camera to use for documenting her work. Make sure to create several prints of the finished Earth Day installation, which can be turned into unique Earth Day cards your child can share with friends and family!

Happy Earth Day!

 

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