Sensory-rich activities: connecting people with the outdoors

Painting by nature


brushes created to paint with nature by Sensory Trust

Painting by nature is a great way to explore the different textures and shapes of natural objects to create something beautiful. What’s more you don’t even need to be feeling particularly creative! Painting is widely known to be therapeutic but can be a really difficult activity for many people who are convinced they can’t draw or who have been told they aren’t creative so this activity removes those constrictions and allows everyone to create something abstract and beautiful.

This isn’t just about  the paintings that you are left with its about the sense of calm and peacefulness that comes with creating the nature brush and transferring paint to paper.

This simple activity doesn’t require too much preparation and produces different results every time. You will need the following;

  • small twigs
  • a collection of natural items such as leaves, feathers, pine cones – in fact anything you can find in your garden or local park
  • short lengths of string
  • paint
  • some blank card or paper

Download our step by step instructions for painting by nature (pdf 71kb)

The tools made in this activity are objects in their own right and, especially with the different colours splatted on them, can be too good to throw away. One way of capturing the tools is to make them into hanging decorations. Download our keepsake brushes step by step instructions (pdf 103kb)

You may also wish to add a frame to your finished painting,  download the instructions download instructions for adding a frame (pdf 338kb)

painting by nature images


Creative activities to do at home - get more nature based creative activities

Creative activities for carers - see how we're using activities to support carers

Have you seen our mindfulnes for dementia resource? A ready to go activity to guide you through mindfullness meditation in nature

Take it all in mindfulness for dementia

Sense stickers

stickers of the five senses

We have created a set of five beautifully hand drawn sense stickers for you to use. Great for planning sensory gardens or trails and brilliant fun as reward stickers when encouraging multi-sensory exploration.