Autumn Leaves: Nature Paint Activity

A process art session for little ones

I was looking back on old photographs yesterday and realised I haven’t done any process based art with the children for a little while – lets blame the school holidays for that one! We’ve done very similar trees in the past, but this time we were inspired by the nature treasures we collected in the park…


  • Paper
  • Non-toxic paint
  • Nature treasures (we used pine cones, leaves and ‘helicopters’- otherwise known as sycamore seeds.
  • School glue

What we did:

We started out by talking about the trees we’d seen in the park this morning – we discussed what was happening to the leaves and the colours they were turning. Z (3.5 years) then picked out the colours she thought best suited to the task of creating an Autumn tree.

I drew the outline of a tree for Z although some children might want to do this part themselves. Z then got to work squeezing paints into the tray.

At first, Z wasn’t all that fussed on using the nature treasures and requested a paintbrush, however after giving it a go (when I was busy with little bro) she decided to persist with the nature paintbrushes.

I let Z take control of paint choice and quantities.

After experimenting with the paints and nature paintbrushes, Z asked to glue the helicopters down on to the page we got the school glue out and she spent the rest of the time sticking the seeds on to her tree.

Z has been painting and crafting since she was tiny so she is pretty good with managing glue and paint quantities.

Little bro (16 months) also had a go at this activity. As the paints were non-toxic, I felt happy to let him try, although it is best to supervise very closely so paint doesn’t end up in the mouth.

E wanted to join in although he was pretty tired from a morning of play!

Key benefits:

  • Language development: discussing what happens to the leaves in Autumn
  • Making connections to the wider world by using nature treasures to paint
  • Sensory play: touch and feel of both paints and nature treasures
  • Fine motor: using ‘paintbrushes’
  • Creative expression: deciding what colours to use and where to put them.

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