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Earth Day Art Project from Thrive's Theresa Harris

Yay for Earth Day! Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, and there are lots of ways you can celebrate with your kids. My favorite way is to get out in nature. We love to just hit Seattle's urban trail system and explore. Here's a few ideas for in-town nature fun - "Surprisingly Wild Escapes in Seattle's Urban Parks."

Making art is also great. Here's a fun drawing and painting project you can do with your kids that will have them expressing their appreciation for our natural resources in no time.

This project is for kids age 5 and older and adults, too – so if you don't think you can draw, this just might change your mind!

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Watercolor Paper

Permanent Black Pen

Watercolor Paint/Brushes

Water bowl/paper towels
You can also complete this project with markers or color pencils, whatever you have on hand.

1. Start by talking to your kids about what they love about nature. Come up with 3 or 4 specific things to draw in your artwork (animals, trees, water, sun, mountains etc)

2. Use scratch paper to practice drawing very basic shapes that represent things on your list. ‘Stick figure' style drawing works great for this. The purpose is to get your hands warmed up to drawing and decide on some images you want to draw in your artwork.

PicMonkey Collage

3. Use a plate or other circular object to trace a circle onto your watercolor paper.

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4. Using a permanent pen, draw a line roughly across the middle of the circle. If you're going with a ‘land' and ‘ocean' theme, everything above the line can be land and below the line, ocean.

5. Draw ‘things from nature' with a permanent pen above and below the mid-line you drew on your paper.

Line Earth Day

6. Color your picture. Markers, color pencils and watercolor will all work great. For small areas, use a small brush or small tip to help keep the shape you drew. Or you can ‘wash' transparent layers of watercolor over your drawing and allow colors to blend together, not worrying about staying inside the shapes you've drawn.

Black Earth Day0001

Here's a variation of the project using pastels:

PicMonkey Collage (2)

More great Earth Day resources:

Earth Day Activities on Huffington Post

Earth Day books on Babble.com

Plus, check out this fantastic list on Mom Trends for living a more earth friendly life.


Theresa Harris is founder of Thrive Art School in Seattle and Thrive Art Online, an online art program for kids. Thrive Art School offers year round art classes, workshops and summer camps for kids age 3 and up in Seattle's Ravenna and Madison Valley neighborhoods, as well as their recently launched online art program for kids.

Editor's note: This article originally ran in April of 2014. 


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