For families with kids, fall brings trips to the pumpkin patch, apple picking, and dressing up for Halloween. In between, use these low-cost and free craft ideas culled from Pinterest to keep little hands busy, encourage young minds to create, and decorate your home for the season.
25 Fall Crafts for Children
Go for a walk with the kids and collect leaves along the way. Encourage them to choose a variety of colors and sizes. Back at home, equip children with glue and an oversize piece of paper so they can make collages with the leaves they’ve collected.
All you need for another classic craft are some collected leaves, a thin sheet of paper, a clipboard, and crayons. Simply slip the paper onto the clipboard with a leaf underneath and color gently with a crayon to create an imprint. This is a good opportunity to talk about the science of leaves: Explain the veins, stem, and why leaves change colors.
Cut out the inside portion of a paper plate so only the edge is left. Children can glue on leaves to create a decorative wreath (mini pom-poms and glitter are optional). Let it dry, punch a hole in the top, and hang it with a piece of string.
For this fall craft, use collected leaves, glue, and a strip of card stock paper measured to fit around a child’s head. Invite the child to glue the leaves to the card stock. After it dries, staple the ends together to make a simple crown your child will enjoy wearing around for a day or two.
This crafty way to brighten up windows for fall doesn’t use actual leaves. Instead, it calls for clear contact paper; red, orange, and yellow tissue paper torn into small pieces; and a leaf template. Have children stick the tissue paper pieces all over the sticky side of a piece of contact paper. When it’s completely covered, lay another piece of contact paper on top, sticky side down, to seal in the tissue paper. Let children use the template to trace a leaf in several places on the contact paper. Cut out the leaves and mount them on windows for the sun to shine through.
Give children a few paint choices (fall colors are best, but any will do) and have them coat one side of a leaf. Turn it over on a piece of paper for a colorful imprint that can be hung or framed.
Another simple idea: Cut an oval from brown construction paper and a beak and legs from orange construction paper. Kids can glue them together and add googly eyes to create the body of a turkey on a white sheet of paper. Glue on leaves collected from outside to serve as feathers.
First, provide brown or black paint so children can paint a tree trunk and branches. (They may want to paint grass under the tree, too.) While the paint dries, go outside and collect some very dry leaves to crumble into pieces. Add glue to the branches and the ground around the painted tree. Let children sprinkle “leaf glitter” over the glue for a fall picture.
To make an apple tree, have children paint a tree trunk on a large piece of paper, including branches and green leaves, if they want. Cut a small apple in half and dip it in red paint for stamping apple prints onto the branches.
Large Lego pieces and paint are a fun combo for little hands. Let a toddler dip Legos upside down into brown, yellow, and orange paint and use them as stamps (the raised portions make dots on white paper). Once the paint dries, cut several corn shapes and glue brown construction paper leaf cutouts to the end -- the stamps from the Legos will look like kernels on the corncob.
Cut out a turkey body, beak, and feet, and glue them together, along with googly eyes. Next, dip children’s hands in paint -- brown, orange, yellow, red, and green. On a white piece of paper, have them make one handprint in each color in a half circle; this will become the turkey’s tail. Once the paint dries, glue the turkey body in the middle.
Try this one for the younger set. With white chalk or a white crayon, draw the shape of a large candy corn on a piece of black construction paper. Draw lines to divide the candy corn into three parts. Provide a toddler with white, yellow, and orange paper to tear into small pieces, and apply glue on each portion of the candy corn. Challenge the child to sort the pieces of paper by color, placing all the yellow in the top section, orange in the middle, and white at the bottom.
Help your child paint a tree trunk and branches. Bend an empty toilet paper roll slightly to make an oval shape and dip the end into paint -- red, yellow, and orange for fall. Stamp the shape onto the tree branches to make leaves. Use all the colors and make sure the tree has plenty of “leaves,” then go back and fill them in with paint using a finger or paintbrush.
Cut a brown grocery bag into a strip and measure it to fit the circumference of a child’s head. Let the child decorate the band with markers and cut red, yellow, and orange “feathers” from construction paper. Staple the headband closed at the ends and staple the feathers to the headband in a cluster. Kids will have fun wearing this creation around for hours.
Provide each child with a brown paper bag, eyes, and a beak to turn the bag’s flat bottom into a turkey face. Trace a handprint and cut it out several times in different colors of construction paper. Help children glue the cut-out handprints to the back to create feathers and add a red wattle under the flap. Kids can put a hand inside the bag and make the turkey puppet talk.
For a family craft, paint the palm of each family member’s hand with brown paint and each finger a different color: red, blue, green, yellow, and orange. Have each person leave a handprint on a large white piece of paper, spaced out a bit. Next, draw little feet at the bottom of each palm, and add eyes and a beak to each thumb. Put names and ages under the handprint turkeys, and the date in the corner. Make this an annual tradition to see how the smallest turkeys grow.
Another easy one for the younger set: Cut out a turkey body, eyes, beak, and feet and let your child glue the pieces together on a sheet of paper. Provide a dish brush (the kind used to scour off food while washing) and various colors of paint. As usual, red, orange, and yellow work well. Children can dip the bristles of the brush into the paint and stamp it around the turkey to make feathers.
To make a keepsake to display year after year, start by painting a canvas black. Have your child make a white footprint on the canvas, and paint black eyes and a mouth onto the heel to make the footprint look like a ghost. The rest is optional, but we like the idea of writing “Boo” in orange paint and using a cotton swab to make a background of orange dots. In the corner, in white crayon, marker, or chalk, write the child’s name and age.
It’s easy to make handprint spiders in the same manner as the footprint ghost. Start with an orange canvas and paint a spiderweb in white. Dip your child’s hands in black paint -- but keep the thumbs clean -- and place them one at a time in the middle of the spider web, with palms overlapping and fingers facing in opposite directions. Glue googly eyes onto the dried image and write “Eek” in black paint or marker. Again, include the child’s name and age in the corner.
This craft can decorate a classroom or a child’s bedroom door for fall. Roll out a large piece of white paper to nearly match the height of a door, and use five to six pieces of brown construction paper taped together to make a tree trunk. Using different colors of construction paper, cut out enough handprints for each day of the month. Day by day, have children write what they are thankful for on a handprint and attach it to the tree to fill in the leaves.
Mix white and brown paint to make tan, and have children make handprints on a white piece of paper with their fingers held tightly together. Upside down, with fingers at the bottom, these prints become acorns. Apply brown paint to the heel of the hand to make the acorn’s cap and draw a stem on top.
Cut out the shape of an apple, including a leaf and stem, using heavy white paper. Tear up red tissue paper into little pieces. Have the kids crumple up each piece of tissue paper and glue it on to fill in the apple with color. Tear up some green tissue paper and repeat to fill in the leaf. Color the stem brown.
Have your child paint a tree trunk on a white piece of paper and make one brown handprint at the top of the trunk to look like branches. Wash hands, then use different colors of paint to make fingerprint leaves on the branches.
Take an empty toilet paper roll and bend it slightly at the top to give the end a pumpkin shape. Let the kids dip it in orange paint and stamp it onto white paper to create outlines. Then they can go back and fill in the pumpkin shapes with orange paint. Draw a small stem and leaves on each pumpkin.
Cut out two identical apple shapes from a paper grocery bag for a child to paint. When they’re dry, punch holes around the edges of the apples and have an older child lace them together with yarn (or do it yourself). Be sure to leave an opening to stuff the apple using crumpled-up newspaper. Lace it shut and affix a cut-out stem and leaf.