5 Fall Nature Crafts for Kids

You’ll get double the fun with these kid-made projects: first the nature walk to gather supplies and then the creating!

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Funny Forest

Yunhee Kim

Funny Forest

Outside, collect a variety of materials like rocks, sticks, moss, and bark. Then choose a clear vase or deep bowl for the terrarium. Paint sticks and stones with acrylic paint and let dry. Layer natural rocks in the bottom of the container and cover with preserved moss from a craft store. Have your child create his own fall scene with the natural materials and other bits and bobs from around your house.

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Cone Critters

Yunhee Kim

Cone Critters

Craft cute hedgehogs (or other animals) from pinecones. Cut a small circle of felt, snip out a 90-degree-triangle wedge, and then overlap the two cut edges to glue into a cone shape. Once dry, glue to the tip of a plain or painted cone. Cut two smaller circles and attach with glue for ears. Finish with a small black pom-pom for a nose and small black beads for eyes. 

Tip: Use scissors or pinking shears to add personality to each hedgehog face.

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Bright Branches

Yunhee Kim

Bright Branches

This art project is extra brilliant because you can use up all the leftover craft supplies you have on hand. Select a medium-size branch for the base. Then, have kids wrap yarn, ribbon, and even pipe cleaners around the branch. Glue on pom-poms and other embellishments of their choosing.

Tip: Paint stripes between the wrapped areas for extra color

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Leafy Linens

Yunhee Kim

Leafy Linens

Use leaves as stamps to create kid-crafted napkins. Paint freshly fallen, sturdy leaves with a foam paintbrush and fabric paint, then press the painted side of the leaf to the fabric. Use a rubber brayer (or a rolling pin that you don’t mind getting paint on) to press firmly down on the leaf, then peel off the leaf and repeat. Let dry and launder according to package directions.

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Leaf Chromatography

Kim Lowe

Leaf Chromatography

During the Spring and Summer, a tree uses its leaves to transform sunlight into energy to help it grow. This process of photosynthesis is helped along by molecules of chlorophyll, which makes leaves green. But as temperatures dip in the fall, chlorophyll breaks down and other pigments, which have been hiding behind the green, are revealed—bright reds, oranges, and yellows. With rubbing alcohol and a coffee filter, you can coax these vibrant molecules out of the leaf and onto paper for your viewing pleasure; the process is called chromatography. Ready to try it?

What You'll Need: Leaves, small bowls or jars, wooden spoons, rubbing alcohol, white coffee filters

What To Do:

1. Gather up an assortment of leaves. Working with one color at a time, tear up and place into a small bowl or jar.

2. Crush finely with the back of a wooden spoon (or use a mortar and pestle if you have one). Add rubbing alcohol just to cover. Place the bowl in a glass baking dish; add a few inches of boiling water to the dish. Repeat with more leaves and bowls.

3. Cut a coffee filter into strips. Drape over a chopstick or pencil on top of bowl, letting one end dip into alcohol. Let sit overnight in a dark place.

4. In the A.M., view the bands of color on the filter strip, which now reveals the layers of color in each leaf. 

By Kimberly Stoney from FamilyFun Magazine