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12 outdoor art projects to inspire creativity and to encourage taking art outdoors.

outdoor art


Go on a treasure hunt for items – then work as a team to create beautiful natural mandalas. Some of our favourites from Pinterest below – search Natural Mandala on Pinterest for some amazing inspiration!

Decorated fence panels

Each child could be given a fence post to paint in whichever way they choose. A wonderful way to liven up school fences! (Image from Pinterest). Click here for more whole school collaborative art projects.

Chalk creations

Either encourage artwork on chalkboards or collaborate on a whole class or whole school playground chalk masterpiece. The beauty of this is that it washes away in the rain! Parents and carers will be amazed at pick up!

collaborative school projects - chalk

Mirror painting

Use a large piece of mirror laid on the grass and encourage children to create artwork onto this using colourful chalk pens. This makes a lovely piece of work as you can also see reflections from the sky and trees – depending on how well the mirror is placed.

Use the Outdoor Mirror Activity Table above to stimulate creativity in the outdoors all year round. It is an inviting mirrored canvas which provides opportunities for children to observe themselves and each other, to discuss, write and inspire creative mark making stimulated by reflections in the environment. Encourage children to explore and investigate pattern, light, mark making, natural and man made objects or use as an exciting platform for small world play.

Wheelie painters

Wheeled painters are perfect for large art projects outdoors – trundle through paint or puddles! Each of these painters has a different pattern to create various designs on the playground or paper. Children will love twisting and turning to create patterns. Simply roll out a large sheet of paper, provide a rainbow of paints and off they go!

Wheelie painters - outdoor art

Footprint or handprint painting

Take shoes and socks off and get messy on large rolls of paper! Dip feet in a rainbow of coloured paint and simply walk on the paper! Add handprints too! Once dry, the artwork could be displayed in the school entrance or hall.

Rock painting

Ask children to paint vibrant designs on large pebbles/rocks then use them to create a pathway leading to the school entrance or an outdoor area. Children might work in teams with each class depicting a different story or theme, or simply paint whatever they like. Use acrylics or Sharpie markers to paint/draw on the pebbles then seal with outdoor use Mod Podge to protect them from the great British weather! Find out how the children made this one here.

rock painting outdoor art

Framed Natural artwork

Create imaginative scenes, patterns and pictures inside chunky, sturdy and versatile frames. Great for transient art activities. Incorporate shells, pebbles, fir cones and other materials. Encourage creativity and fine motor skills. Place frames on the grass, on the floor or on tables. The children can select from a variety of materials to create different effects. You could even make small world scenes. Use moss and other foliage to create a wood. Use sand for a seaside location. You could even try real snow and ice. Frames really helps focus the children’s attention on their open-ended play.

outdoor art wooden frames


Transform your playground by weaving colourful ribbon, glittering materials, threads or beads into giant frames. This encourages creative exploration whilst developing dexterity and manipulative skills. We love natural weaving like the one below which incorporates lots of natural found elements including flowers, leaves, feathers. Explore the environment and celebrate nature’s shapes, colours and patterns through the seasons with large sea grass weaving frames. Use suckers to attach to windows to cast colour and pattern into the classroom.

Top Tip: Weave herbs into the frames to create a truly sensory experience!

Leaf and petal collages

Children can collect leaves and petals and grasses to create beautiful collage pictures.

Leaf printing and tree rubbing

Leaf printing and tree rubbings are extremely easy to do and you can get some lovely results.

Tree decorations

Create a temporary art walk on your school field – if you are lucky enough to have trees on your school grounds, why not decorate them with vibrant hanging decorations? Children could make these in class and then go outdoors to hang them carefully from the branches. You could make beautiful tassels like these or perhaps cut up egg boxes and paint them to create beautiful flowers to hang? This picture is from Pinterest here.

Outdoor art

Click here for more whole school collaborative art projects.

With thanks to Charlotte Parry for putting this blog article together.

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