Preschool nature crafts are an excellent way to create a connection with nature while having a creative outlet. Whether you use items from nature, are inspired by nature, or create art in nature, there are tons of opportunities for preschool-aged crafts outdoors! Today, we will share 10 of our favorites. We’ll teach you how to make these crafts, too.
Fall nature crafts for preschoolers
Fall is soon approaching, and crafting with little ones is a great way to usher in the new season. Try one of these easy nature crafts next time you have time outside! Honestly, these crafts are possible in the spring and summer, too, depending on what’s available in your area!
BTW: If you have a big backyard, you could probably find the materials for these art projects in your own backyard. If you’re in an urban setting, try going for a nature walk in a nearby park or heading to a local nature reserve.
Tips for finding materials for a nature craft
By crafting with natural materials, you can encourage a love and appreciation of the natural world. But, it’s important to collect natural materials in a responsible way that respects the natural environment.
Here are some tips for responsible material sourcing:
Try to find objects that have already fallen
There are tons of natural objects already on the ground that are perfect for crafting! Fallen leaves, rocks, and pine needles all have great crafting potential, for example. And, please, don’t remove the bark from living trees.
If you’re picking, know the plant
There are two reasons here. First, you need to know the plant is safe to pick. Not all berries and leaves are safe to touch, so if you don’t know the plant, don’t touch it!
Secondly, don’t pick endangered plants.
Be mindful of how much you take
Not only would taking an entire plant be harmful to the plant, but it’s pretty wasteful, too! For crafting purposes, you seldom need more than a few leaves, flowers, or sticks. So, take only a little from each plant and take only what you need.
And, if you’re in a park, make sure you know whether or not you’re allowed to pick there. Some parks will specifically ask visitors not to take natural items.
Respect the animals, too
When you are looking for natural materials or craft inspiration in nature, be mindful of the environment you are in. Give animals space, including nests.
10 easy preschool nature crafts
Okay, ready to explore and create some cute nature art? Here’s 10 ideas! These are all great nature crafts for kids, and, since many of them require precise movements, they’re great for developing fine motor skills, too.
1. Create a nature collage
Next time you’re on a nature walk, bring a basket and collect some fallen items for collaging. Collect flowers, leaves, and other nature items that children can create a beautiful arrangement with.
There are two options here:
Create a nature collage in nature
Art doesn’t need to be permanent to be beautiful. Once the children have gathered materials, ask them to create an art piece while still outside. They will have tons of fun making whatever their imagination can come up with – Maybe they want to create a beautiful array of leaves or 3D shapes with their found items. Encourage them to explore different shapes and structures.
For this, they can use whatever they find, like sticks, pine cones, rocks, etc. Getting them to build structures is also a fun way to integrate STEAM learning!
Or, dry the items to create a permanent piece of art
Another option is to create an array on a piece of paper, glue it down, and then frame it to make a gorgeous hanging. I like to write the date on the back so you can compare seasonal art.
If you’re drying them, make sure to choose flat objects so then can easily fit into a frame.
2. Create a flower crown (or leaf crowns)
When I was younger, my Mama, sister and I would gather reeds and daisies to make the most adorable flower crowns. We would wear our nature crowns all weekend while camping. It was always one of our favourite nature crafts!
She used to secure the ends of 3 reeds with an elastic and make a simple braid. We could then stick the flowers in between the reeds (since we were too young to braid). I found a similar tutorial by Creative Green Living here, but it’s for older kids. Make this preschool appropriate by pre-braiding the crowns and letting kiddos pick flowers to decorate as they wish.
Another option is to cut out thick strips of cardstock that will fit the circumference of a child’s head. Gather whatever leaves they want to use for their crown and glue them on.
3. Paint rocks (or shells)
Painting rocks is a classic activity for kids. We used to make ladybug rocks to place in the garden, but your kiddos can use their imagination to create whatever they would like! Just make sure you don’t use washable paint if you’re going to put them back outdoors.
If you’re doing this as a school project, reach out to the city to see if you can place them in a local park – This is a wonderful way for the entire community to enjoy your painted rocks!
4. Make a pine cone bird feeder
Pine cone and peanut butter bird feeders are a classic craft for preschoolers. All you need is pine cones, peanut butter, wild bird seed, and twine for hanging. Simply tie the twine around the pine cone, use a spatula or child-safe knife to spread the peanut butter, and roll it in the seed! There’s also tutorial from Price Chopper here, if you’d like.
If your child is allergic to nuts (or you want to make this at school), you could use another nut butter or vegetable shortening.
5. Go on a 5 senses nature walk
The outdoors is an excellent place to develop a child’s senses. This one requires supervision as children need to know what they can and cannot taste, but other than that is quite child-led.
Using my free 5 senses nature walk worksheet, simply let the children gather items they would like to test and let them explore their senses!
6. Painting with nature
There are two ways I like to do this activity.
Use leaves and branches to paint
Create nature paintbrushes by either using leaves and other nature items as stamps or by coating a small branch in paint and using it as a paintbrush on the page. This lets children explore different textures as they paint, and they will have tons of fun seeing how different their pictures look depending on what they used.
Paint on leaves
Another easy nature craft is to gather large leaves like oak or maple and let the children paint them. They could paint them to look like feathers, animals, or whatever else their imaginations can create!
7. Create a fairy garden
Now, there are tons of fancy fairy garden materials you can buy. But you can also create your own! Show your children some photos of fairy garden ideas (there are tons on Google), and challenge them to create their own fairy garden doors, houses, or even stick fairies!
Learn how to make stick fairies with Mother Natured here. They could also make stick people, monsters, or whatever other ideas they have.
8. Create clay ornaments with leaf imprints
Make a super simple nature craft by rolling out clay, pressing a leaf into it, and pulling the leaf off once it dries. Once it is dried, the kids can paint them if they’d like, too. For air-dry clay, let them dry on their own. Or, bake according to package directions.
*Note: If you want these as hanging ornaments, punch a hole out near the top before letting them dry. We did this with holiday ornaments, and you can see how here. They’re adorable on a Christmas tree (and make great gifts, too).
Fall is also a great time to collect crafting materials for the upcoming winter season, so if you could collect extra pinecones to make Christmas ornaments, for example!
9. Make a natural wind chime
The Happy Hooligans have an adorable wind chime craft made out of painted sticks (check out the link to see how to make it). They would be so beautiful hung outside, and the whole family can enjoy them!
10. Go on a sound safari
Sound safaris are so much fun. They are also a great way to develop observation skills as children have to listen to and observe the world around them. You can download my free worksheet at my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.
That’s our 10 favorite preschool nature crafts. These are all easy nature crafts for kids using outside craft supplies (who doesn’t love a free craft, right?). By crafting with materials found outside, you can encourage your children to make a beautiful craft while connecting with nature. Plus, they are the perfect mix of play and creativity.
If you’ve tried any of these, we would love to hear how it went! Don’t forget to Pin, share, or save this post for later!
Feeling crafty? Check out the crafts category to find our other fun kid’s crafts!