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Messy Outdoor Art Projects

Indulge your child's love of mixing, squishing, sorting, and stacking with these easy-to-do-outdoors art projects.

NUTTY FOR PUTTY

Help kids turn their prized collections into three- dimensional collages. You'll need a sturdy plastic spoon, a foil pie tin, and some nontoxic tile grout (like Elmer's Acrylic Latex Tile Grout). Use the spoon to spread the grout about one- quarter inch thick in the tin, then help your child press trinkets -- such as toy figures, bottle caps, and shells -- onto the surface. Let dry overnight, punch two holes in the edge of the tin, and string with ribbon for a cool-looking display you can hang anywhere.

PEANUT PILES

A container full of biodegradable packing peanuts and a moist sponge are all your child needs to create fanciful sculptures. Have her roll two peanuts on the sponge to dampen, then press them together. She can continue adding peanuts to the creation to make tall towers, animal shapes, or even hats.

POP ART

Spread a large sheet of craft paper on the ground. Measure one tablespoon of baking soda into the center of a square of toilet paper, fold it into a bundle, and tuck it into one corner of a sandwich-size zip-top bag. Help your child mix one-third cup of white vinegar with one tablespoon of tempera paint; pour into the opposite corner of the bag. Seal quickly, leaving a little air in the bag, and shake slightly to mix. Set it on the paper, then stand back. The bag will quickly puff up like a pillow, then pop, leaving an inkblot-style masterpiece.

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