Nature Shadowboxes: A Great Weekend Project

Geek Culture

My kids' nature shadow box creations. Photo: Cori Burke

During a recent weekend, we spent some quality geeky time at a friend’s house. I played my first game of Magic: The Gathering. We had a Big Bang Theory marathon. But before we headed over, my friend called and asked my kids to collect some things from nature. Dead bugs, leaves, sticks, anything interesting or unusual was welcome. I sent the kids outside and they were gone for a long time, finding all kinds of things in the nature behind our house.

When we got to our friend’s house, she took the kids outside to collect a few additional items from near her house. Putting those bits of nature with the ones from our yard, the kids then carefully selected some of their favorites to put together in groupings.

My friend got out several shadowboxes and cut out black card stock in the size of four small frames. The kids then arranged their chosen items on the card stock and glued them in place. When dry, the arrangements were all framed up and hung on the wall.

This is a great project for families to do together, since the kids will especially enjoy hunting around in nature for unusual flowers, pine cones, leaves, flowers or the aforementioned dead bugs. Collect a bit of discarded nature from your own backyard and display it on your wall. My friend’s shadow boxes were from Ross, but IKEA also often has affordable ones, or accumulate them from Michael’s or Jo-Ann when they have sales. Amazon is also a good source. This doesn’t have to be an expensive activity.

Also, next time you take a trip to a different kind of ecosystem, find some dead leaves or sticks and make a new shadowbox when you get home. You could end up with a whole wall full of memories from your trips with very little expense.

Another part of the activity could be identifying what you find. Pine cones come from different kinds of trees, flowers and leaves from different plants, and it’s easy to find many different kinds of rocks. So for older kids, have nature study be a part of this project.

Nature is beautiful, and is worthy of display. What beautiful creations have you made with bits of nature?

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