Create Outdoors: 5 Ideas for Kid Art on a Hike

Art, Kids
Children holding hands on a hike with dad

Keep kids engaged on a hike by incorporating art breaks. Create outdoors and add kid art on a hike.

As newbies to hiking with young kids, “hike” gives us way too much credit. Our hikes are more accurately described as nature walks on cleared and maintained paths. While the beauty of nature is enough excitement for the adults, our 3- and 5-year olds fatigue quickly. Truth be told, we occasionally sell the hike to the kids as training for our next Disney trip, which livens them up a bit.

Child taking a photo on a hike in the woods

To break up the hike for our littles, we incorporate art into our refreshment breaks. This helps them stay engaged in the experience and fends off the “can you carry me” requests. Here are some easy ways to add kid art on a hike. If your kiddos love crafting, check out some of our favorite kid craft kits for ages 5-7 and introducing basic needlepoint to kids.

Heading out for a fall hike? Keep the kiddos warm with these DIY kids outdoor pants.

Observe and Draw During the Kid Art Hike

Supplies for the Hike:

Supplies for drawing on a kid art hike

Pull out art supplies during a water or snack break. Sketch a nature scene or individual objects like flowers, bugs and leaves.

Child using magnifying glass to observe on a hike

Use a magnifying glass to view nature up close. Have the child write labels or come up with descriptive words for the adult to write. If this becomes a favorite activity, consider a designated hiking journal the child adds to on each hike.

Photograph Objects on the Hike, Then Create Art at Home

Supplies for the Hike:

Encourage the kiddo to point out interesting objects to photograph — flowers, rock formations, animals and even the hiking crew. My daughter wants to take photos of almost everything she sees, so we set limits very quickly, for example, only one photo per object. Either let the child take the picture or direct the adult on what to photograph.

Child taking a photograph to create art on a hike

To protect our phones from the inevitable drop during photo shoots, we splurged on cameras made for kids. Our kids love these cameras; they are easy to use, durable and adorable.

Painting from photographs taken on kid art hike

After the hike, set out the photos, either as a print or on the phone/camera (we’ve done both but displayed on the phone requires refreshing the screen), so the child can look at them while creating. Use markers, crayons, colored pencils or paint to recreate the photo as art.

Need a place to display the kiddos’ works of art? Check out this DIY kid art display using a large open frame.

Make Nature Rubbings on the Kid Art Hike

Supplies For The Hike:

Supplies for nature rubbing on kid art hike
  • paper
  • crayon with paper removed

Look for interesting textures and shapes, like leaves, tree bark, rocks or shells.

Child using crayon to make rubbing of bark on kid art hike

Place paper over the object. Using the long side of the crayon, shade over the object. The texture will transfer to the paper.

Child using crayon to make rubbing of bark on kid art hike

When choosing objects for the rubbing, take care not to permanently disrupt the environment (for example, don’t remove bark from a tree). It’s a good practice to leave nature as you found it. Also, keep an eye out for and avoid poison ivy.

Cut out rubbing of leaf to create collage after kid art hike

Once home, cut around the rubbings and reassemble in a collage or nature scene. Embellish with drawings, stickers, feathers or other fun art supplies.

Create and Illustrate a Story

Supplies for the Hike:

  • paper or journal
  • pen, pencil, or crayons
Two children running on a path in the woods

Start creating a story set in the hiking environment. Perhaps some fairies live and play in the trees, or an ant embarks on a journey with a butterfly or pinecones come alive and throw a party. Take an art and refreshment break and draw out the characters and some of the scenes from the stories. Telling and drawing stories has unlimited benefits – it is great for brain development, imagination, listening, communication and creative thinking. Plus, it keeps kids engaged in the hike and interested in their surroundings. Back at home, expand the story and drawings into a book.

Paint Bug Rocks

Supplies For The Hike:

Supplies for drawing bugs on a kid art hike
  • pen or pencil
  • paper

Bugs are everywhere on a hike – on the ground, in the trees and in the air. Keep your eyes open for interesting bugs; observe their color and shape. Help the child record notes and sketch the bugs.

Child painting bug rock after taking a kid art hike

Back at home (some hiking spots discourage taking souvenirs), find a rock to transform into a bug using the notes and drawings as reference. Wash and dry rocks before painting.

Rocks painted to look like bugs

Craft, acrylic or washable paint work well on rocks; washable paint is easier to clean but of course is less permanent. To preserve the painted rock, use outdoor clear sealer.

Rocks painted to look like bugs

Looking for another art project with kids? Check out adding a bold outline to a kid painting to give structure and detail and ideas for painting with Ikea Mala squeeze paint.

Does your family enjoy hiking? Have you tried adding kid art on a hike?

This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support!