My first attempt at a major in college was Fine Art and Sculpture. I grew up with an artist mother, so most of my life I was surrounded by art work, paint smells, brushes and interesting creative people.It was second nature to be involved with some kind of creative process whether it involved paint, paper,wood or plastic there was always "stuff" around to use in any manner that my imagination would allow.
When I became a teacher, it was even more natural for me to share this with the children I taught. I observed young children to be uninhibited in their use of paint and color. If given the "right" or real art supplies and then shown the proper technique- the sky was the limit! In our changing culture art programs are no longer considered necessary and are often cut first from the budgets. What a sad day for children who need this outlet not only for the academic and social skills they develop through hands-on process but for the free expression the act of creating offers.
For the most part, I think a walk in the neighborhood is still free and hopefully safe. Collecting is innate in young children and because they are closest to the ground they can spot the tiniest seed or most unusually shaped rock a mile away! So grab a basket and start collecting.With your finds make nature sculptures, collages, do printmaking with the leaves you collect and make "free" expression apart of your child's life.
It can change your life too.