Art Smart

Nature Inspired Self-Portraits

Ideal for Preschool/Pre-K, School-Age

A woman and her daughter are painting the concrete ground black. The young girl holds the paint can

This activity helps children develop a sense of identity and belonging. They also gain understanding of the natural world around them by observing shapes and collecting natural materials.

Materials Needed:

  • Printed close-up photograph of your child’s face (on 8.5” x 11” paper or larger)
  • Natural items collected on a walk: leaves, small branches, pinecones, grasses, seedpods, flowers, etc.
  • Optional: glue, camera

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction.


  1. Go on a nature collection walk around the neighborhood or your backyard and collect natural items.
  2. Lay out the photograph of your child’s face.
  3. Talk about the shapes that make up your child’s face and ask them to find materials that match, placing them on top of their picture. (Assist your child in representing their face using natural materials.)
  4. When your child is happy with their natural self-portrait, take a picture or print it out to compare with their original image. Older children can glue the natural items onto their photo to create a 3D work of art.

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