Tag Archives: Autumn

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








Autumn leaves – painting/printing

Autumn leaves – hand traced and sponge painted to be used for a group tree display

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You will need:
A4 white paper
Black koki pen or wax crayon
Red and yellow paint
Sponges in pegs or sponge dobbers


To start off trace around each child’s hand using a koki pen or black wax crayon. You need a dark outline as the children will paint over the edges. Ask the child to spread their fingers apart and instead of creating a rounded finger tip make sharp points to create a hand-shaped leaf outline. Trace two hands on each page.DSCN7156

The children print the outline using the sponge dobbers or sponges in pegs. Encourage the children to print over the layers of colour to create orange. Continue until the outline is well covered with colour.




Once the painting is dry, teacher cuts out the leaves. Some children may manage to do this but it is quite difficult for the children to cut on their own.



Some children chose to paint with the sponges rather than print which was still effective
Remind the children to print in the leaf shape
This activity works well with the younger age group but let them print the paper first and when dry trace their hands onto the painting and cut out
Display as a group tree collage
Some children chose to only use one colour
Some of the children chose to trace their own hands. Although they had rounded fingers, the leaves were still effective.

Complement the tree with glittered real leaves – see blogs – glittered autumn leaves and creating the tree trunk using a variety of brushes to paint with.

Autumn, Leaves, Colours, Trees and wood, Hands, Summer using greens instead of autumn colours, Fire – use the technique to create flames

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.
• Drawing and painting using the week’s topic
• 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
• Draw and give own interpretation to drawings using the week’s topic using wax crayon, oil pastels and other drawing media
• Art elements: informal experience and use of shape in drawing and painting

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.

Bubble wrap painting

Themes:Colours, Hands, Senses, Caring for our world

So often you receive parcels wrapped in large sheets of bubble wrap. I have a ‘well trained’ family and they all collect waste for me to use at preschool. So when my daughter gave me two large sheets of bubble wrap I thought I would put them out and allow the children to enjoy popping all the bubbles. This is a great fine motor activity and kept several children happy for some time.

I used the second piece and secured it to cover a small table. I set out paints for the children to enjoy painting over the bubbles which was a different sensory surface. Soon the colours mixed and they created new colours.

All was going well until I had too many children wanting to paint.
So I covered a second table with the other piece of bubble wrap and thats when “it got a bit out of hand” but it was a fantastic messy sensory hand painting activity. I poured some paint onto the bubble wrap (that’s when they abandoned the paint brushes) and spread the paint liberally until they had completely covered the bubble wrap in paint. They developed the large muscles as they used big sweeping hand and arm movement to spread the paint over the bubbly textured surface.

In the process of cleaning up I did have several younger children decide to hand print a few surfaces enroute to the bathroom!
Best done outside
• Roll up sleeves before you start
• Have a bucket of water and a towel close by so they don’t have to go indoors to wash
• Take a deep breath and let the children enjoy making a mess.
• I would dry the bubble wrap and use it for a backdrop to some autumn leaves. • Use green and blue paint and cut out a big round earth for the theme caring for our environment and recycling

CAPS Outcomes
Subject: Life Skills
Study area: Creative arts
Create in 2D
• Variation of paper size and format: encourage working in different scales

Subject: Home language Skills:
• Uses a range of writing tools e.g. paint brushes, wax crayons etc.
• Develops eye- hand co-ordination through play e.g. painting
• Develops small muscles skills through finger play, e.g. popping bubbles on bubble wrap

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