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Pine Cone Process Art

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A simple idea for Autumn

Don’t you just love Autumn? Or Fall depending on which part of the world you’re in! It is by far my favourite season. With the cooler weather comes more opportunities to get arty outside without the worry of sunburn. Here’s a simple process art idea that you can try with your little ones at home…

You will need:

  • A collection of pine cones
  • Non-toxic acrylic paints in a variety of autumnal colours (we opted for green, orange, teal, red and magenta)
  • Large low-sided cardboard box
  • Coffee cup carrier / egg carton

What to do:

To really get into the spirit of this activity and help little ones feel connected to nature, it’s best to have them involved in the whole process. For us, this meant going on a nature walk first, where we collected the pine cones and other treasures.

As you can see from the photo, Z was very young at the time (approx 18 months) and loved exploring the texture of the pine cone:

Start off by putting a few squirts of each paint colour into the box, then add in the pine cones. On this occasion, I put the paints (as Z was only 18 months at the time) but let an older child select the colours and quantities themselves.

If you want to have some control over the outcome, then only offer a limited selection of colours. Try choosing colours that are complementary or in the same colour family.

Invite your little learner to shake and roll the box. For Z, this turned into a fun gross motor workout where she used her whole body to move the pine cones inside.

Once the pine cones are covered with paint, pick them out to dry. We used a coffee cup carrier to do this – it helped to avoid getting paint everywhere else. You could also try using an egg carton.

The final result made pretty Autumnal centre pieces at the dinner table:

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Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is the founder of Teach Investigate Play. She helps parents navigate the early years by providing meaningful and simple activities. She also owns 'Get Set Social Media' - a social media consultancy for small businesses. From the UK, now living in Vienna (via Australia). About page has more!

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