Let Them Grow: Creative-Free Play with Kitchen Scrapes

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Compost to Good Use

Spring in western MA!  Now is a time where I always like to move toward more nature-based art.  Using natural object as a medium allows us to make the connection between the land and art.  I have many favorite nature-based art projects, but my all time favorite is vegetable stamping. It’s an engaging and simple activity for even the youngest artist to participate in. All children love doing this activity, most will even eat vegetables during it! This idea is simple; use vegetables to create beautiful prints that will be worth saving and worth doing again. 

To help make this activity affordable, I like to use vegetables scraps for stamping. No need to waste a  fresh foods on this project. Instead use overripe vegetables and legumes.  Ask friends if they have any soft onion or potatoes, bruised apples or dried lemons. To make stamping fun, it’s nice to have a lot of options. You can use any food to stamp but here is a list of ones that makes great prints.

  • Apples
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Nectarines
  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Romaine lettuce ends
  • Onions
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli florets

Offer you child an array of vegetables to use as stamp along with stamp pads in a variety of colors.  After allowing young toddlers to explore (and even taste) their veggies, show them how to stamp and press on the paper.

Children will explore all parts of the veggies and fruits. Let them. This is the fun part. They will take apart the onion, dissect the orange, peel off the peels… a great sensory adventure! It will be memorable to them, as they learn from this hands on experiment. Help your child identify the seeds, skin, and flesh of the fruits. Try making prints of all the parts; make it a learning experience for all the senses. The end product is beautiful in so many ways.

[Photo credits: (cc) Jimmie]


Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programming for children. She revels in hand-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a day care in Northampton, MA.

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