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Sensory Spice Paint for Autumn

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When you think of Autumn, what colours do you think of? For me its hues of red, orange, gold, amber and brown. After a gorgeous walk in Stadt Park with Miss 3.10, we decided to use the maple leaves we had collected as inspiration for this rather delicious smelling art activity. Read on to find out how…

You will need:

  • Paper or card (we often use boxes that we’ve cut up for purpose)
  • A range of spices – e.g. cinnamon, homemade pumpkin spice, paprika, ginger
  • Paintbrushes
  • Selection of leaves
  • Jars of water

I can’t say that you will need heaps of explanation to set up this activity – instead, use the photographs as inspiration. I simply set up the materials, then Z and I experimented. We dipped wet paintbrushes in to the spices to explore the colours, then mixed the spices into the water jars for a watercolour like consistency.

Essentially, this is a beautiful, sensory exploration of natural materials; process art is a great way to get creative without stressing about an end goal. We made lines and circles. Tried painting our own leaves and traced over the edges of the maple leaves we had collected that morning from the park.

A huge thank you to my lovely friend, Heidi from The Harmony Tree House for first drawing my attention to spice paints. You can check out Heidi over on Instagram – she has a gorgeous Reggio approach to play and learning.

Age recommendations

Whilst the spices are technically ‘taste-safe’ i’d recommend only trying this activity with children who are past the mouthing stage. I also wouldn’t advise this activity for children who are still full-on sensory with how they explore paints and materials – spices in the eyes would be far from ideal! At almost 4, Z was the perfect age for this. She has gone through the full body sensory exploration stage and will happily use a paintbrush.

Key Learning:

  • Making connections to the world: we did this after collecting leaves that had fallen from the trees in the local park.
  • Sensory exploration: identifying the scents of each spice
  • Problem solving and experimentation: testing out how to make the paints more vibrant.
  • Fine motor skills: holding the paintbrush

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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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