Category Archives: Trees and wood

Autumn leaves – glitter on natural leaves



Glittered leaves using real leaves

You will need:
Real autumn leaves – large is better
Glue – I colour mine with paint
Sponges in pegs or paint brushes
Glitter – gold and red and glitter shakers
Tray to collect the excess glitter
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I set out glue and glue brushes and real autumn leaves. The children dabbed on coloured glue and sprinkled the leaves with green and gold glitter. The excess glitter was tipped off onto a flat tray. I did not write the children’s names as the leaves were attached to a group autumn tree.



Glitter is messy so work in an area that is easy to clean up
Supervise closely – children like to play with glitter and use plenty of it! And spread it everywhere!!
Having a few flat trays helps contain the glitter mess
Allow the children to create freely without being too prescriptive
Glitter shakers help with sprinkling the glitter
This is an excellent activity for the younger children but ration out the glitter to them in small cups

Once dry attach to a group Autumn tree trunk ( see previous blogs)

Themes: Autumn, Trees and wood








Tree trunk for group collage – painting with a variety of brushes




Tree trunk – painted with a variety of brushes


You will need:
Long piece of corrugated or brown cardboard
Brown paint – some mixed with white to lighten it and some with a splash of black to darken it
Brushes – large and small paint brushes including cheap house painting brushes, dishwashing brushes, toothbrushes and what ever you have
Flat paint containers
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I placed the long rectangle of corrugated cardboard on the table and invited the children to all paint the cardboard using a variety of brushes and tones of brown paint. Its best to place the paint in a flat container. The children loved painting and experimenting with a variety of brushes. Once the painting was complete and dry we used the cardboard to create the tree trunk and branches of a tree. Autumn leaves were added to tree (summer if its a summer theme)

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This is an ideal activity for the younger children as the cardboard can withstand lots of paint
If you don’t have cardboard use A4 paper and join it together to create the branches and trunk
Newspaper is not ideal as it will get soggy and holey!
The cardboard soaks up quite a bit of paint so mix enough
Sawdust and wood shavings will be very effective. Add glue to the paint if using them

Themes: Autumn, Summer, Trees and wood, Brushes

CAPS Outcomes

Subject: Life Skills
Study area: Creative arts
Create in 2D
• Working in different formats and paper sizes and brushes of different sizes to work with increased detail
• Drawing and painting using the week’s topic
Variation of paper size and format: encourage working in different scales

Integration: Subject: Languages (Home)
Skill: Handwriting
• Develops small muscles and fine motor control skills
• Develops eye- hand co-ordination through play e.g. drawing and painting








Printing and painting with pot scourers

Printing and painting with pot scourers with glitter


Themes: My home, the five senses and hands. This would make a lovely background for a sky or water done in blues and whites. This technique can be used to colour a variety of shapes such as autumn colours on autumn leaf shapes, flower shapes, butterflies etc. The prints can be added to tree branches to make the tree top.

You will need: Paper, bright coloured thick ready mixed paint, pot scourers, flat plastic lids, glue and glitter. The scourer can be washed and reused. Dry well so they do not rust.

Age: This activity will work well with all the age ranges but I would recommend plastic scourers for the under two’s as they may put them into their mouths. The children enjoyed the unusual sensory experience and this activity attracted many boys to the activity!

I bought some inexpensive metal pot scourers which came in a set of 6. Plastic ones will be as effective.


I used black paper which contrasted nicely with the bright paint colours I selected.


I placed the paint on plastic ice-cream lids so it was easy to dip them into the paint.


The children printed and ‘painted’ with the pot scourers. I encouraged them to rotate the scourers which created interesting circle patterns of paint. Some children chose to use the scourer to spread the paint creating an interesting paint effect. Others chose to create a border around the edge of the paper.

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Once the paintings had dried, we dipped the scourer into some glue and repeated the printing action to spread some glue onto the painting. The children sprinkled glitter onto the glue.

We ended up with beautiful paintings which were sparkly.
CAPS Outcomes

Subject: Life Skills 
Study area: Creative arts
Create in 2D
• Fine-motor and sensory co-ordination: (eye-hand-mind) manipulation of scissors and other tools and equipment.

Create in 2D
• Painting: use pre-mixed tempera paint or coloured inks or dyes in primary and secondary colours to respond to the week’s topic
• Simple printmaking techniques to create informal pattern
• Art elements: informal experience and use of shape in drawing and painting
• Use colour to create pattern

Subject: Languages (Home)
Skill: Handwriting
• Develops small muscles and fine motor control skills
• Develops eye- hand co-ordination through play e.g. drawing and painting





Autumn leaves – cutting

:Autumn, Leaves, Trees, Hands

I saw this idea on Pinterest and adapted it to use with my autumn theme.

I recently purchased some yellow contact sticky paper on sale. Clear contact paper will be effective too.
I drew an outline of a leaf using a black koki pen. I folded the edge over so it would be quick and easy to pull off the paper for the children when I set out the activity.

Since the toddlers are limited with their cutting skills I cut red and yellow paper into strips and they enjoyed cutting it up and watching the pieces fall onto the sticky paper. Once the leaf was well covered I pasted a clear sheet over and cut out the leaf shape.

I painted a tree on the window and attached the leaves. With the light shining behind the leaves it was very effective.

• Make sure you can pull off the sticky paper easily when you present it to the children – its tricky to get the two layers to separate
• Be well prepared
• Some children just could not resist putting their hands on the leaves so some leaves never made it to the tree
• This activity is best suited to the 4-6 year olds
• If you don’t have contact paper, it is still effective on paper using glue • Instead of cutting the strips of paper, the children could tear the strips into pieces

CAPS outcomes

Subject: Life Skills
Study area: Creative arts

Create in 3D (constructing)
• Fine-motor and sensory co-ordination: (eye-hand-mind) manipulation of paint and other tools and equipment.
• Fine-motor and sensory co-ordination: (eye-hand-mind) manipulation of scissors and other tools and equipment.
• Craft skills and techniques: cutting, pasting, tearing

Subject: Home language
Skill: Handwriting
• Develops fine motor control using scissors to snip paper strips
• Develops eye- hand co-ordination through play e.g. cutting
• Develops small muscles skills through finger play, e.g. cutting

I applied the same concept to an activity I set out for the babies. I attached a sheet of clear contact paper to a low table. The babies enjoyed attaching and moving collage items on the contact paper. Some babies were more interested in sliding collage items under the paper, pulling off the masking tape and feeling the sticky surface with their hands.

Winter tree collage – creative activity

Winter tree collage (ideal for the backdrop of your winter theme table)

To make this winter tree I set out several long pieces of hessian cloth, but paper or large flattend cardboard boxes will be effective too.

The children painted the hesian with glue mixed with brown powder paint.

They added  some leaves (crush them as it helps them to stick), twigs and sand to the wet ‘paint and glue”. Dried tea leaves and dried crushed egg shells will add more texture.

Once the hessian was dry I cut out some tree trunks and branches and attached them in a winter tree outline. As you can see from the picture, most of the collage material fell off when it dried, but nevertheless it was a great sensory activity with all the textures. I suggest you use extra glue when pasting the collage material. If you teach where you have snow in the winter, add some cotton wool snow hanging from the bare branches.line on our large classroom pin board.

In another lesson the children painted some real brown Autumn leaves with autumn coloured paint and we attached them with some grass to the base of the tree.

This activity is suitable for the following themes:

  • Trees and wood
  • Colours – brown
  • Birds – add a nest