Nature Play at Home

Simple, creative and playful ideas to bring some hand-on fun into your home.

Plant-dyed Playdough Easter eggs 

Try your hand at using plant pigments to colour playdough eggs this Easter, using ingredients from your kitchen cupboard and garden. Try adding in some essential oils such as eucalyptus or tea tree to ward off sniffly noses! Big kids might like to get involved by helping to figure out measurements and brewing the pigments. Playing with dough is a fabulous opportunity for open-ended imaginative play, sensory exploration and discovery. What else could you make?


Easter Bandicoot 

At Cranbourne Gardens, we don't get visited by the Easter Bunny – we have an Easter Bandicoot instead! You can make a bandicoot from stuff you find in the garden, playdough, or from recycled things. Cereal boxes make an excellent bandicoot costume. You can download a cut-out template here!

To craft an Easter bandicoot, all you need is: 

  • A long, pointy nose 
  • A big, round bottom 
  • A short, stumpy tail 
  • Two cute little ears 
  • Four big digging feet   

Berry good fun

Do you have any frozen berries in your home? Just a handful will do to create hours' worth of nature play fun! Big thanks to Nick Neddo, author of The Organic Artist for Kids – for these ideas. The following activities are fun, but messy. Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting stained.

Berry ink

You will need:

  • A handful of frozen berries
  • A small container or bowl
  • Jar
  • Paper

Place a handful of frozen berries into a small bowl or container. Wait for them to thaw. Once the berries have defrosted, a puddle of berry juice will be waiting for you. Pour the juice into a jar, eat the berries or save them for another project. Use your new ink to make some art! Try using a paintbrush, straw or even a sharpened stick to create your picture. Watch as the ink changes colour as it dries.

Berry ink is called a ‘fugitive’ colour. That’s because it starts bright, then fades away over time. Watch the way it transforms on the paper.


Berry Splat Prints

Making these prints is a great way to get out some stored-up energy, in a creative and fun way!

Use the thawed-out berries from the berry ink project or find a handful of berries to use.

You will need:

  • Newspaper or cardboard
  • A handful of berries
  • Paper

Lay down some newspaper or cardboard as a tablecloth to protect your surface. Put down a sheet of paper. Arrange a few berries on your paper – not too many! Place another sheet of paper down onto the first one – make sure your berries aren’t too close to the edge. Use your fist to smash the berries in between the sheets of paper. If you like, try making your best animal sounds while smashing the berries. Separate the sheets of paper and see what kinds of colours and prints you have made!