Looking for some fun crafts and activities with your kids that are eco-friendly and low waste?! I know I love to craft with my child, but I also don’t want to purchase a bunch of art supplies and be conscious of the environment. So we’ve compiled a list of ten eco-friendly fall crafts and activities for toddlers and kids, so check it out!
Ahhhh fall time is the best! It cools off and becomes gorgeous outside and the seasonal transition is beautiful to watch. Sometimes though, we stay inside and need some fun things to do to occupy our toddler. So we’ve compiled a list of our top eco-friendly fall crafts and activities to do with your kid when fall comes around.
Confession…you can do a lot of these crafts/activities during any time of the year, but putting a fall spin on them makes it so much more fun!
We have created a great space for our little one that has a craft and sensory table with bins and little stools (from Ikea). It’s very versatile and at the perfect height for little ones. You don’t need a designated craft space, but we found it helps our little one to understand where the crayons, paints, and other art supplies are to be used…not on walls haha!
Besides items you can find in nature, which make up a majority of your “art supplies” (I’ll get to that in a minute), here’s a list of some of the additional supplies we needed for these fall crafts and activities:
- Safety Scissors
- Hole Punch
- Cotton Twine/Thread
- Washable Paint
- Wooden Handled Paint Brushes
- Homemade playdough supplies – see our other post for recipe
- Mini Pumpkins
- Pumpkin Seeds
It’s always more eco-friendly to use what you have first before going to buy more new stuff. So make sure use up all those small crayon stubs and whatever paint you have first. Now time to get into the our top eco-friendly fall crafts and activities!
Eco-friendly Fall Crafts & Activities
1. Nature Walk
The FIRST thing to do is go on a Nature Walk with your kid(s) to collect “art supplies”. Nature is a great resource for eco-friendly craft supplies! You can simply do this wandering around your backyard or neighborhood or go to a park/trail. Grab a reusable bag and ask your little one to find items they like. Typically I specify a couple things like sticks, leaves, and acorns as some of the eco-friendly fall crafts and activities require those supplies.
It’s usually best to collect supplies for leaf activities the same day or next day as the leaves can dry out, crumble and make a mess if you let them sit too long. Also, it’s better not to go collect supplies right after it’s rained as everything tends to be muddy and stuck together (might be speaking from experience haha!)
If you want, a fall nature walk is also a great time to teach and learn about why leaves change colors and fall during Autumn. I’m always trying to layer on knowledge when we’re outside to help my child learn about the environment. But I try to do it in small bits throughout, leaving space for exploration and wandering without a teaching lesson.
Going on a nature walk is a great activity to get outside in the fresh air and prepare for future fun activities. So now onto the other eco-friendly fall crafts and activities!
2. Nature Sensory Bath
If you add water to an activity or project, it becomes 100% more fun…at least in my little one’s case. So washing your collected nature items and mini pumpkins is a great and fun eco-friendly fall activity! Then I set them aside to dry and be used in one of our other eco-friendly fall crafts.
3. Nature Sorting & Counting
Collect nature items, sort them, and count them. My little one is obsessed with acorns and sticks so we always collect a lot of those. Using those nature items, you can ask your little one to sort them into similar groups and then count them. Personally, I’ve found sorting with Nature items is much more successful than using something edible like M&Ms…they don’t typically get eaten (hopefully!)!
If you have an older kid, try having them write out the numbers or the nature item’s name. Great for basic math learning and sorting skills!
4. Leaf Cutting Trays
This is a simple activity for little ones with some of the leaves they collected. You will need some safety scissors for this activity like these. I hadn’t really let my toddler use scissors yet, so we first had a quick lesson in safety and how to hold them (worked for the most part surprisingly!). I liked the safety scissors with the little spring as it seemed to help my little one get the hang of it and protected his fingers.
After the scissor lesson, put a pile of leaves in front of your child, demonstrate cutting the leaves, and let them go at it. We like to use our sensory table buckets in an attempt to contain the mess for easy disposal. Surprisingly, it kept my little one’s attention for almost 45 minutes, which amazed me! If you have an older kid, you could have them try to cut out specific shapes or create a picture from the cut leaves. Once the activity is done, you can just toss the shredded leaf confetti outside to join their other leaf friends!
Interestingly enough my little one was so focused on using the scissors that first day that he didn’t really try ripping or throwing the leaves around like I expected. The next time we tried this eco-friendly fall activity, he did exactly that…shredded the leaves and threw them around haha! So don’t expect a certain outcome or force the kid(s) to do it a certain way because based on my experience it’ll be different every time depending on the day and what mood your child is in.
5. No-Cook Fall Scented Homemade Playdough
One of my FAVORITE activities by far! I am a sucker for free play and playdough makes it so easy and fun. So instead of buying playdough that will surely come in a plastic container, you can try the more eco-friendly approach and make your own. And no need to panic as homemade playdough doesn’t require cooking and is super simple to make in under 10 minutes.
Check out our recipe for fall scented homemade playdough!
Add in some of your nature craft supplies to elevate the playdough activity. Mini pumpkins are also a fun additional element!
6. Pumpkin Painting & Stamps
Many of us have probably done this fall craft of painting pumpkins. FYI this one will be MESSY, in a good way, if you’re doing it with young children. It’s always fun and I try to ensure this eco-friendly craft is in an easily cleaned area.
So grab some paint, brushes, a pumpkin, a plate/piece of cardboard, and get started painting! I like to paint with my toddler because sometimes he’ll just do his own thing or sometimes he’ll try to copy my motions and emulate what I’m doing. It’s always so fascinating! My toddler doesn’t draw/paint anything legible yet, but he will happily dip his hands or anything into paint and smear it on a pumpkin!
You can also cut the pumpkins in half if you want to use them as pumpkin stamps. Just squirt some paint onto a plate or piece of cardboard. Set the halved pumpkins on each color and then let your kid(s) grab them and stamp them onto paper. They will do it over and over and over again, trust me! Also, I found my little one using the ridges of the pumpkin to roll across the paper. Afterwards, remember to wash them off and compost them.
7. Pumpkin Seed Counting And Letter Practice
Pumpkin seeds are great for counting and are easy to come by in the fall for an easy eco-friendly craft and activity. I’m not a big fan of eating pumpkin seeds so this is WAY more useful! Repurpose your pumpkin seeds from your carved pumpkins into a fun learning activity and craft. Make sure to clean them first…or don’t, up to you!
My little one loves to line things up, so I used that to help him “write” his name (he can’t write…he’s two). Draw out a word, like your kid’s name, in big letters on a piece of paper. Then demonstrate lining up pumpkin seeds along those lines. It took my little guy no time to start lining up seeds and “writing” his name. You can also use a glue stick to make it a permanent art piece.
8. Leaf Prints
I’m pretty sure I learned this from my mom and/or did leaf rubbings in preschool. This eco-friendly fall craft is fairly easy. You just need leaves, paper, and some fall colored crayons. Place a leaf under the piece of paper, and demonstrate/help your little one do the leaf rubbing by coloring back and forth. They usually turn out quite pretty!
You can also do this with paint and use the leaves as stamps. Just paint a leaf and give it to your kid to stamp into a piece of paper. Although, again, be prepared for a mess with leaves and paint!
9. Nature Puzzle and Patterns
Did your little one collect a lot of nature items like rocks, sticks, and acorns? Well utilize those to make a nature puzzle or pattern. You can trace a couple distinct looking nature items on a piece of paper. Then give it to your little one to try to match up the items. I watched as my little one built upon his spatial awareness as he tried to find and match the correct pieces.
You can also simply play a nature pattern game. Demonstrate creating a pattern, like alternating sticks and acorns, and then see what your little one comes up with!
10. Leaf Threading
This was a fun eco-friendly fall craft and activity for my little one. For this kids craft you will need those leaves you collected, some twine/cotton thread, a hole punch and a small stick. I found punching holes in the leaves first takes away the need for something actually sharp to go through the leaves. Next, keep it simple and tie your twine to a small stick and tie a knot bigger than the holes at the other end. Then just demonstrate threading the twine through the leaves for your little one and let them go. It was fun to see those fine motor skills at work!
Once they are done threading leaves, take off the stick, and tie a knot at the end. You don’t have to tie it off if you want to do the activity again with the same leaves. But it can also be used as a beautiful fall garland to hang up. Eco-friendly home decor made by your kids…and it’s actually pretty!
Well that’s our top ten eco-friendly fall crafts and activities for toddlers and kids!
Hope this roundup of eco-friendly fall crafts and activities gives you a lot of fun options to play and learn with your little ones! Let us know what you think of the fall crafts and activities in the comments below!
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