Nature's paint palette

Can you find all the different colours in nature? Go on a walk and see what you can see.

This is a really good activity to do any time of the year, but it works especially well in autumn.

Plan a trip to a local natural space. If you have a choice, you could ask the group which place they’d prefer to visit.

You could do this activity while you’re walking between activities, for example, if you’re at an adventure centre or if you want activities to break up a longer hike.

Download the activity plan (PDF, 289.2KB)

Essentials

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors
  • Cost: £
  • Suitable for: Groups
  • You will need: Big pieces of paper, sticky tape, scissors

How to run this activity

Prepare your palette

  1. Everyone should get into small groups.

Make sure each small group has an adult to go with them.

  1. Each group should get a big piece of paper, some tape, and a pair of scissors.
  2. The person leading the activity should explain that everyone will be going on a short walk that passes by a variety of nature. They should also explain the boundaries and ground rules that will keep everyone safe.
  3. As everyone explores, they should collect natural items of different colours. They should aim to find around five colours – can they find the primary colours of red, yellow, and blue?

Avoid removing any living branches or flowers – collect dead materials or ones that have already fallen to the ground.

  1. Each group should attach the colourful items they’ve collected to big pieces of paper to create a paint palette.

Reflection

Was anybody surprised at how many different colours they found? Was anyone disappointed not to find a specific colour? How might more colour be introduced into a natural environment? Why is this a good thing?

Activity outcomes

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

Be happier - be cheerful, have fun, and love your life.

Safety guidance

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and include hazards such as roads, woodland, bodies of water (for example, rivers, ponds, lakes, and seas), plants, and animals. 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.

You’ll probably need more adult helpers than usual. Your risk assessment should include how many adults you need. The young people to adult ratios are a minimum requirement; when you do your risk assessment, you might decide that you need more adults than the ratio specifies.

Think about extra equipment that you may need to take with you, for example, a first aid kit, water, and waterproofs.

Throughout the activity, watch out for changes in the weather and do regular headcounts.

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Level up

You can challenge everyone to find certain colours (or a certain number of colours). Alternatively, you could ask everyone to choose the nature colours they’ll look for before the walk.

People could take photos rather than collect items.

Take it further

Can people think of ways to make different environments as colourful as possible? You could come up with ways of making urban areas more colourful, such as planting wildflowers on verges or roundabouts.

When thinking about this, consider the needs of local wildlife. An insect that relies on yellow flowers for camouflage will be happy if people plant yellow flowers in their gardens or on their balconies, for example.

Allow the group to choose what kind of environment to visit if you have more than one option.

Access guidance

Plan a trip that will be accessible for everyone – you may need to consider how people will get to the meeting point and whether there are accessible paths, for example. Make sure you have enough adults to provide any additional support people in your group might need.

Other activities

Taking time to appreciate the beauty 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