This week's theme in our month-long Olympic Activities for Kids series is STEAM activities.
Now I know you're familiar with many of our STEM ideas for kids (science, technology, engineering & math) -- but we don't do a ton of 'A' = Art so I thought we would branch out a little this week.
If we can tie art to science or nature, we love that!
Today's Nature Art activity is one that you can do almost anywhere -- building the Olympic Rings using items from nature!
Olympic-themed Nature Art
First, a little background on the Olympic Rings.
There are 5 colorful rings in the Olympic symbol -- red, yellow, black, green and blue. The rings were created by Pierre de Coubertin in 1913 and represents the union of the five continents and meeting of the athletes at the Olympic Games.
Some interpret the ring's colors as a color for each continent; however, according to the official Olympic site that is not the case. When the rings were created, the five colors on the white background actually represented the colors of all the nations flags at that time without exception -- which is a pretty cool concept!
I love this activity because there is so much learning involved and the kids don't even see most of it:
• finding the natural items that will be used is a great sensory activity,
• calculating how many flower petals, rocks or other items are needed for each circle involves math,
• building the rings involves a child's process skills and includes some creative engineering in how you will overlap various items and space out your circles,
• and of course creating a beautiful Olympic symbol brings out their inner artist.
This is a wonderful activity for those kids who think "I can't do art!" -- that was my youngest for the longest time because she defined art as the ability to draw really well. Once she branched out and understood that art was so much more than drawing, she began to enjoy it a lot.
Here's what we used to build our set of Olympic Rings:
• Pinecones for the black ring
• Leaves for the yellow ring
• Flower petals for the red ring
• Dyed seashells for the blue ring
• Evergreen branches for the green ring
Other nature items that can be used include: rocks (natural or dyed), sticks, bark from trees, mulch, sand, etc.
Blue is the most challenging item to find which is why we decided to dye some seashells.
For the flowers and the pinecones, we deconstructed the items so we had smaller pieces to work with during our art project.
First, show your kids a picture of the Olympic Rings and explain the colors so they are learning a little about the symbol as they create their artwork.
Then let them loose in your yard or at a local park to scout out items they can use!
Decide if you will color, paint or dye any of the items and then group together your nature collection in the five color categories to be sure you have enough of each item.
We started with the 3 top rings since they do not intersect but instead are spaced closely together.
We weren't super precise with the size of the circles but did try to get them to be somewhat uniform.
Then we used the evergreen branches and yellow leaves to build overlapping circles and complete the Olympic symbol.
Working with natural items can be tricky as they many not lay nicely so remind the kids to be patient as they build their rings.
This is such a fun outdoor activity to do and you can make your artwork as big or small as you like.
It's also somewhat open-ended since each child can choose which items they'd like to use to construct their nature art.
Be sure to visit our main Olympic Activities for Kids page to print off the FREE Summer Olympic Challenge & inspire your kids to earn medals while they learn about the Olympic Games this year!
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