Living art

Ramble and reflect by using natural materials to create a poster of the animals and plants you see along the way.

You can run this either as a stand-alone activity or as part of a walk, expedition or adventure day.

It’s up to you when you do this activity. It’s likely to take longer than a session, so might work best as part of a camp or day out.

Download the activity plan (PDF, 520.2KB)

Essentials

  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • Cost: Free
  • Suitable for: Groups
  • You will need: A4 card, sticky tack, coloured pens or pencils, backpack, weather appropriate clothing

How to run this activity

Before you begin

  1. Decide where you’ll go on your ramble – a woodland or nature reserve is perfect.
  2. Make sure everyone knows that they should wear suitable clothes for your ramble (and the weather!). This includes shoes: walking boots, wellies, or sturdy trainers are best.
  3. Everyone should pack their own backpack. They should make sure they have a waterproof coat, either sun cream and a sunhat or a woolly hat and gloves (depending on the time of year), a full water bottle, some snacks, and any medication they may need (for example, an inhaler for asthma).

Get ready to ramble

  1. The person leading the activity should help everyone think about the different flora and fauna they may spot on their walk.

A quick look online will give you a sense of the plants and animals that can be found wherever you’re rambling.

  1. The person leading the activity should give everyone a piece of card and some sticky tack. 

You could also give people coloured pens or pencils so they can draw things they see.

  1. Everyone should make sure they’ve got everything they need in their backpacks, then it’s time to set off.

Meander and create

  1. Everyone should head out on their ramble. They should pause whenever someone spots a particularly interesting plant or animal.
  2. Every ten to twenty minutes, everyone should stop in a good resting place. It could be a picnic area or another dry and shaded space.
  3. Everyone should explore nearby and gather some natural materials from the ground such as leaves, mud, sticks and twigs, petals, stones, or pebbles. They should only collect things that have fallen to the ground – no one should pick or pull anything from living plants.
  4. Once they’ve gathered their materials, everyone should return to the resting place. They should use the materials to record things they’ve seen on their ramble – they could make an animal or plant, or copy a pattern they’ve seen. They could use sticks or leaves as brushes for mud paint, or they could use the sticky tack to attach leaves, petals, and stones.
  5. Once everyone’s happy with their creations, everyone should continue to ramble. After about 20 minutes or so, they should repeat steps two to five to continue adding to their art. Ideally, everyone should stop and complete these steps around three times during the ramble.
  6. At the end of the ramble, everyone should gather together and share their art. What did they see along the way? 
  7. People should choose whether to keep their creation. If they don’t want to, they should unstick the natural materials and dispose of them in a compost or natural waste bin.

Reflection

This activity was a chance to enjoy being outside and to get connected to the natural environment. Did anyone come across any plants or animals that they’d never seen before? If anyone did, can they describe them to the rest of the group? Anyone else who knows about the plant or animal should share some facts. Everyone made posters from natural materials – why was it important to gather them from the ground, rather than plucking or pulling from living things?

This activity was also a chance to be active. Why was it important that everyone wore clothes that were suitable for the ramble (and weather appropriate, too)? How else can people avoid injuries when they’re being active? People’s answers could include warming up or taking breaks to rest and rehydrate.

Activity outcomes

Be active - look after your body by being physically active.

Value the outdoors - enjoy being outside, feel comfortable in nature, and feel connected to the natural environment.

Safety guidance

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk.

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.

Level up

You could pack pens and pencils to add another option to poster creation.

Take it further

Why not give people cameras or smartphones and encourage them to take pictures of the flora and fauna they see on their ramble?

It’s up to young people what they create. Encourage everyone to explore the natural area and create artwork from whatever interests them – there’s no right answer!

Access guidance

Make sure you plan a route that’s suitable for everyone in your group, get everyone involved in the planning to make sure it works for all.

Other activities

Thinking about the meaning and signs of nature is one of five things that can help people build a better relationship with nature.

Explore our free resources for more activity ideas.

Free resources