20 fall crafts using natural materials for preschool and first graders
In autumn nature not only surprise us with its explosion of colors but also supply us with free crafting material! Natural treasures such as acorns, pinecones, branches, horse chestnuts, leaves, seashells, etc. can serve for the development of your child! Crafting has a great influence on children’s thinking development, coordination of movements, flexibility, and accuracy in completing tasks. All this is important for preparing its hand for writing and for further educational activities at school. It is necessary to introduce children to the world of arts and crafts as early as possible! Within this collection of fall crafts using natural materials, you will find a huge variety of creative, fun, and easy animal crafts for preschoolers and first graders.
Working with natural material contains great opportunities for stimulating the child’s understanding of nature and his or her relationship to it. The aim of crafting is not only for the children to be able to complete such task-related projects but also to love this “workshop” of nature! In this post, you can find cool fall leaf crafts for preschool!
During a walk in the forest or park, parents should draw the child’s attention to a huge variety of natural materials that can be used in fall crafts. Let the kid collect cones, different in size and shape, tree branches, acorns, etc. During the collection of material, it should be examined. The adult should encourage the child to imagine what every twig or stone is like, what can be made from it. During such a walk, you can talk with children about their respect for nature; they should not be allowed to break branches or pick flowers for bouquets.
Fall crafts for preschool
In order to make these preschool fall crafts from natural material, you must first gather the needed materials for each project. You need to collect natural treasures of various shapes, colors and sizes because for the manufacture of each animal figurine you need different materials.
If we talk about acorns, horse chestnuts, and pine cones, then it is better to harvest them when they are fully ripe and fallen on the ground. Use only clean and healthy fruits. In addition, when collecting acorns, you can also collect just the cups – they complement well some elements of crafts, and when collecting chestnuts – keep in mind that the spiky pods can also be useful.
To connect the parts of each animal, you can use matchsticks, wire, small sticks, and modeling clay. Horse chestnuts, acorns, and cones should be pierced with an awl first, in order to make holes for the legs, hands, etc.
Dry leaves and feathers are also great for complementing the animal figures. For example, they look well in the form of sails, ponytails, wings, and fins.
Also, seeds and tree seed pods are good additional material for fall crafts. They can both decorate and complement the craft. Look for maple seed pods, ash seed pods, birch seeds and elm seeds.
By combining several projects you can make whole compositions. Fall crafts made from natural material are great gifts for friends and loved ones. These are good characters for kids puppet theatre or just funny “natural” toys for children.
Fall crafts for preschoolers – Snake
This is the easiest craft project that is suitable even for 4-year-olds. An adult has to make the holes in the acorn cups first. Using a thick needle or an awl and something hard like scissors, push the needle through the acorn cap to create a hole. You can use the same method for the acorn head. Then you can let the child string the acorn cups on a silicone cord (e.g. for bracelets).
Craft idea for second graders
Older kids can use the snake figure as part of a bigger craft project: a snake charmer playing on the flute to a dancing cobra.
Material and tools: an acorn, a peanut, twigs (or matchsticks), two ash tree seed pods, modeling clay or glue, awl, a knife (for the teacher), fineliners.
For the body, you need a large acorn, but first, separate the cup from it. Then make six holes in the body – at the places where the legs, neck, and tail join. Connect the donkey’s head to the body using a small twig (2-3 cm), previously pointed at both ends. Insert the twig neck into the holes intended for it in the acorn and the nut. For better result, you can apply glue before assembling the joints.
For the legs of the donkey, you need to prepare four small twigs or four matchsticks, sharpen them at one end, and insert them tightly into the acorn. You can also use curved twigs – then it seems that the legs of the donkey are bent. You can also make hooves from modeling clay, which gives the figurine more stability.
Next, you need to make holes on the donkey’s head and at the end of the body. For the ears use two small pieces of ash seed pods and a short branch for the tail. You can draw the eyes and muzzle of a donkey with a fineliner.
Donkey with wagon
And here is another idea of how you can upgrade the project for older kids.
Materials and tools:
4 acorns (2 large and 2 small), a walnut shell, 4 acorn shells, 8 sticks, 2 ash seed pods, 2 matchsticks, modeling clay or glue, an awl.
Fall crafts with fir and pine cones:
Materials and tools: fir cones (1 large and 1 small), a hazelnut, corn husk, Honey locust seeds (Gleditsia triacanthos), birch bark strip (for a stand), moss, tree twigs (two thin and two medium thick), modeling clay, glue.
Attach a hazelnut (head) to the fir cone (body) with the help of a thin sharpened stick or glue. Add a small cone for the tail. Sharpen the twigs and insert them into the holes made in the body – two thicker twigs at the bottom for legs and two thinner ones up above for the front paws of the bunny. The ears are cut out of corn husk and attached to the head with glue, the eyes are made from the seeds of Honey locust. The finished craft is installed on a birch bark strip, which is decorated with moss. You can also put a small carrot made from modeling clay in front of the bunny.
Ducky with a worm
Materials and tools: a hazelnut, pine cone (with closed scales), pumpkin seeds, 3 small twigs, modeling clay, scissors, glue, fineliners.
An adult, together with the child, prepares the material for crafting by making the holes in the pine cone and the hazelnut with an awl. The twigs should also be sharpened at one end. At the same time, he explains to the child how to hold the awl and to use it to make holes in different materials.
To make the body of the duckling insert the sharpened twigs into the pine cone: two twigs at the bottom of the body – these are the legs of a duck – and one above for the neck. Then attach the hazelnut to the neck for the head. Glue the pumpkin seeds to the legs. Make the beak from red modeling clay. To make it look like the duckling is holding a worm in its beak use a curved twig or stem from any plant.
Materials and tools: two fir cones with open scales, yellow pond lily seed pod, acorn shell, a poppy seed, modeling clay, glue, a knife, paper, scissors, a fineliner.
An adult should help the child prepare material for the ears of the animal, for this, he cuts the acorn shell lengthwise with a knife into two equal halves, then again each part in half.
At the beginning of the work, an adult makes up a riddle for the child: The tail is fluffy, the fur is golden, it lives in the forest and steals chickens in the village. Then he shows the animal on the picture, or a toy-fox and offers to make such a toy. In a conversation with a child, an adult clarifies whether it knows the features of the appearance of the fox, the habits of the animal, where it lives, what it eats. Then he asks what this figurine can be made of. Together they examine the prepared material, lay it out on the table. An adult talks about how to connect parts, together with a child, sets the sequence for making a toy.
Working process: Attach the two fir cones together with modeling clay to form the body and tail of the fox. Make sure the scales point in one direction. If the tail is heavy, you can tilt it down, then the figurine will be more stable. To make the head of the animal, use the seed pod of a water lily. Ears are made from acorn shells, legs are made of modeling clay, they are attached to the cone-body. The eyes can be made from apple seeds and the nose from a black poppy seed.
Now the child can make the craft on his own. In the course of his work, the adult monitors the actions of the little crafter, makes sure that the cones for the body and tail are correctly positioned – with scales in one direction so that the baby takes initiative in his work, and after finishing cleaned the workplace.
Materials and tools: 1 acorn, 2 fir cones, branched twigs, matchsticks, glue, green cardboard, awl, knife (for the teacher), a fineliner.
Working process. Work on the craft begins with an analysis of the drawing, highlighting its individual parts.
For the head of the deer, take an acorn and make three holes in it with an awl: two on top to insert branched twigs – these are horns, and one from below, into which a match is inserted, pointed at both ends to connect the head to the neck. Then select two fir cones: one large for the torso, another smaller and shorter for the neck. With an awl pierce the smaller cone and insert a match into the hole connecting the body to the neck. After that, make five more holes are made in the body – four for the legs and one for the tail – and matchsticks are inserted into them. Make one hole in the upper part of the neck and connect with a match to the head of a deer. The muzzle can be drawn with a fineliner.
Materials and tools: a large pine cone, two fir cones (one medium and one small), corn husk, four birch twigs, a dried blackberry, awl, glue, matchsticks, modeling clay, scissors.
Preparation for work. In a large pine cone (body), an adult, together with a child, makes six holes with an awl (one for attaching the head, the second for attaching the tail, and four for the front and back legs).
In a medium-sized fir cone for the head, make four holes: one for attaching to the body, two for attaching the ears, and one for attaching the nose). For the tail, you should also make one hole to connect it to the body.
The sequence of making the animal figurine. Insert two thin twigs into the holes of the pine cone-body and with their help attach the head and tail (the medium and small fir cone). Insert four twigs – puppy paws – into the holes made in the lower part of the body. With scissors cut out the ears from corn husk and insert them into the large holes made for the ears on the head. After that, glue a dried blackberry for the nose and draw the eyes.
For a better result, the contact points between the parts of the animal can be strengthened with modeling clay.
Materials and tools: 1 acorn, 2 ash or maple seed pods, 3 dried oak leaves, scissors, a knife and an awl (for the adult), modeling clay in black, white, and red.
Preparation for work. Before starting work, you need to give the child the opportunity to look at a live fish, if this is not possible, you should show him the picture. At the same time draw the child’s attention to the fish’s characteristics – a large flexible tail, bulging eyes. Then, together with the child, you need to select the necessary material and lay it out on the work table. An adult has to make 3 holes in the acorn – for the fins – and make a slice on the top for the head fin.
The sequence of making the animal figurine. Work begins with making the body of the fish. To do this, use an acorn. Make the eyes from modeling clay and attach them to the front. They can also be made from circles of colored paper or cherry pits. The smaller fins are made from ash seed pods, which are fixed with a ball of modeling clay on both sides of the acorn. For the tail and upper fin, use dried oak leaves. (You can dry fresh oak leaves with a hot iron, putting them between two layers of paper while ironing.) Stick a small ball of modeling clay on the leaf stalk and insert it in the hole at the back. Cut out a piece of the leaf and insert it on top to make the last fin.
Having understood this sequence of making the craft, the child independently (but under the supervision of an adult) makes the animal craft. An adult helps him if necessary. When the figurine is ready, you can note how the child worked, whether he tried, did he carefully make a toy, to praise for the diligence, for the shown initiative. If the kid hesitates to clean the workplace, he needs to be reminded of this.
Materials and tools: 3 fir cones, 6 cups of acorns, polystyrene foam, black modeling clay, red paper, scissors, white beads, matchsticks, awl.
With this project, the children can learn about penguins and characteristic features of these animals – where they live, what they eat, how they raise their young.
To make a penguin, take a large fir cone and turn it with the scales pointing up. Make the head from black modeling clay, eyes – from beads, a beak – two triangles of red paper glued together. Penguin wings can be made from ash or maple seed pods. Glue them between the cone scales with the help of modeling clay.
The legs can be made from acorn cups, for which they are stuffed with modeling clay and attached at the bottom of the cones with the help of a short matchstick pointed at both ends. An adult makes parallel holes in the cone and in the cups with an awl.
For greater resemblance to penguins, the body and the wings can be painted with black and white paint.
All penguins from this family are made in a similar way. Accordingly, select a fir cone in the a proper size for each and give the characters a certain pose.
To complete the craft project make an ice floe can out of a piece of polystyrene foam. The edges of the ice floe should be uneven.
Materials and tools: medium-sized pine cone, acorn, tree twigs, colored paper, glue, modeling clay, reed grass or bird feathers, wood slice, awl, scissors, a fineliner
Work sequence: pick medium-sized fir or pine cone for the body, make four holes in it with an awl (from opposite ends for the neck and tail and below for the peacock’s legs). An acorn without a cup is suitable for the head, in the lower part of which it is necessary to make a hole for the branch-neck. Connect the head and body with an elongated twig pointed at both ends so that its central part remains outside – this is the neck. For the strength of the bond, apply glue to the ends of the twigs. Insert two branches of the same size into the holes made in the body from below – these will be legs. Eyes, beak and ornaments for the head are made of modeling clay. On the head, you can make three holes, stick three matchsticks, painted in different colors, into them and attach multi-colored modeling clay balls at their ends. Stick the tail (reed grass or bird feathers) into the hole made in the body. The feathers can be painted or decorated with multi-colored small circles of paper. For stability, glue the peacock on a stand or on a wood slice.
In decorating a peacock, children can show a lot of creativity: for the tail, they can use bird feathers, paper, grass etc.
Materials: 1 walnut and 1 hazelnut, 3 tree twigs (one thick, two medium-thick and two thin), 2 dry acacia seeds, ash seed pods, modeling clay, a piece of wood, an awl.
Preparation for work. During a walk or on the way home from kindergarten, invite the child to look at the ash tree seed pods, ask what they look like (like a fan, like an airplane, etc.), what can be made of them. Together with the child, collect ash seeds and twigs of various thicknesses for making fall crafts.
The sequence of making the figurine. Using modeling clay attach two twigs of medium thickness to the walnut – the body of the bird. These are the legs. The hazelnut (the head) is attached to the neck and to the body also with modeling clay. For the beak, you can use two thin flower thorns, which are fixed on the bird’s head with modeling clay. The eyes are made from acacia seeds and the tail can be made from several ash seeds. In the end, glue the bird on a stand.
The purposes of the next fall crafts are: To consolidate the skill of working with the chestnut fruits; improve the ability to independently analyze the plan-diagram of the sequence of actions when creating an animal figurine; improve the skills of connecting the parts; to cultivate persistence in achieving the goal.
Fall crafts with horse chestnuts
Materials and tools: 2 horse chestnuts, small oval-shaped acorn, 3 bird feathers, 3 pointed twigs, 2 honey locust thorn tips, dahlia leaves, two black round seeds, glue, an awl.
Working process. The body of the rooster is made from chestnut and the head from a hazelnut. Roosters comb and wattle are made from dahlia petals. The beak is made from the thorns of Honey locust, the eyes are made from bindweed seeds. All this is glued together. The twigs are suitable for the legs, the tail is made from the feathers. The toy is attached to a stand made from half a chestnut fruit.
Continue to teach children to analyze a toy using a schematic drawing, highlight its component parts; enrich children’s knowledge about the possibilities of combining material; cultivate will, perseverance when completing a task, confidence in their capabilities; to form a stable interest in this type of work, to strengthen the desire to work.
Materials and tools: typha latifolia plant (common cattail), wheat, 4 twigs with ponted ends, 2 maple seed pods, black modeling clay, toothpicks, a fineliner
Materials and tools: modeling clay, wire and pliers, 2 apple seeds, 4 ash seed pods, long twig
Materials and tools: 1 acorn, 1 hazelnut (or horse chestnut), seashells with drilled small holes, toothpicks, wire C joining hooks, modeling clay, a fineliner, an awl and knife (for the teacher).
Materials and tools: three fir and pine cones – one large, one medium-sized and small, 6 acorn caps, four bent twigs, a piece of bark, colored paper (two colors), modeling clay, scissors, a knife.
Materials and tools: 1 horse chestnut, 8 thin curved twigs and 2 thicker, modeling clay, glue, an awl.
Materials and tools: seashells, sea snail shells, feathers in different sizes, a branch, a small piece of wood for the base, glue
And at the end, two cool fall crafts that are not animal figurines but are also made from natural materials and modeling clay and would be fun for 1st graders.
Materials and tools: 1 wine cork, 2 acorn cups, tree sticks (1 large and thick and 1 small and thin), 8 ash seed pods, blue modeling clay, an awl, wire.
Materials and tools: 1 small fir cone, 1 walnut, ash and maple seed pods, toothpicks or matchsticks, modeling clay, an awl.