Recycled Art Project For Kids – Fall Trees

recycled artwork fall tree craft for kidsI get a lot of questions about what I do with my children’s art work and my answer is usually that I take photos and recycle much of it. When I say I recycle art work I normally mean it gets popped into the recycling bin never to be seen again. This recycled art project for kids uses the art work and turns a finished piece into material for another art project. These fall trees are cute and simple enough for kids of various abilities to participate.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some brown and white construction paper, glue stick, scissors, and finished artwork.autumn craft for kids
  2. Cut out a tree outline – I free handed this ( I can cut much better than I can draw) but you could draw it out first too.fall tree craft with collage leaves
  3. Glue the tree down on the white construction paper and if you have kids still learning to cut like mine cutting them into smaller pieces will help. fall tree recycled art craft for kids
  4. Go for it. fall tree recycled art project for kdisThis is a simple project and there is no wrong way to do it.fall tree craft using recycled artwork My son was specific about which colors he wanted where and took time to cut leaf like shapes. fall tree recycled artMy daughter refused any and all offers of help fall tree craft for kidsand did this completely independently.fall collage tree craft for kids

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Yarn Stamped Fall Tree Craft

Fall always makes me think of a mix of textures and rich smells and while this yarn stamped fall tree craft isn’t scratch and sniff ( although if it was it would be vanilla and pumpkin spice)  it was a fun exploration of textures. This project was a big reminder to me about not putting your own adult vision on a child’s art work. Even after many years I still at times have to stop myself from saying ” Really are you sure you are done ?”. If you feel like saying that bite your tongue. That doesn’t encourage kids it tells them their art isn’t good enough.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some stamp pads, paper , marker,  bottle caps, yarn / bakers string , sticky back foam and some foam adhesive mounts.
  2. Start by cutting your foam into the shape of leaves. Peel the backing off and wrap the yarn around . I wrapped a few really heavily, and left one sparkly foam leaf without any yarn for contrast. Add the adhesive mounts.Press onto the bottle cap.fall craft
  3. Invite your artists to the table.  Draw a trunk.
  4. He has hit that stage of childhood where he doesn’t just trust me and questions everything. ” Are you sure it will work mom?”
  5. Add yarn stamped leaves.
  6. Try out the different textures .
  7. Let dry. As the ink dries the colors lighten.

Over the years we have reviewed many fall themed books for children but this round up contains our very favorite. For full reviews of the book check out the post from earlier this month.

Fall Noodle Tree Craft

 by Kim 

The temperatures are tapering off. Summer has gone and Autumn is making its appearance. Whether you live where the lives change or not, this craft is the perfect way to prepare for fall and all of its splendor.

You will need construction paper, glue, sandwich/snack bag, brown marker, cotton swabs, and three colored pasta (uncooked).

You or your child can draw a rectangle on the paper for the tree trunk. Have them color it in. My 5 year old drew his own, my 3 year old just colored.

Put some dry pasta in a plastic sealed bag. I used a snack size bag, but it really doesn’t matter. You want to make sure all of the excess air is out, though.

Have your child crush the noodles. Depending on the brand, they can be difficult to crush. Having the excess air out enables you to have the option of putting the bag on the floor and stomping it, or using a plastic hammer and whacking the bag. Trust me, we have done it all. Obviously the more intense crushing you do the more likely the bag is to rip and make a mess. So just be prepared. Regular crushing (and even stomping) hasn’t ripped our bags yet.

Squeeze some glue onto the piece of paper in the general shape of a tree top. Have your child spread around the glue with the cotton swab. I squeezed glue out for my daughter, but my son did his own glue.

Now sprinkle the noodle pieces onto the glue. This is exactly like giant noodle glitter. You will need to put on a lot, let it dry, and shake off the excess.

The final product looks just like a fall tree. It will have a wide array of colors, too. This craft is great fro talking about Fall, the changing seasons, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and colors. It also is a great sensory craft.

Look at that texture! It is so much fun to run your fingers across.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It

Coffee Sleeve Tree – Arbor Day Craft

Arbor Day is Friday and what better way to celebrate trees than by making one with recycled paper products? When I got a coffee a few weeks ago and I got one of these great sleeves I knew I’d have to use it for a craft.  I love all the textures that are present in this project and how simple it is so kids can make their own tree with little if any adult guidance.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2-4 coffee sleeves ( or other recycled cardboard), scissors ( we also used pinking shears), glue and a large piece of paper.  We also used a pencil crayon to write our name on the back.
  2. Start by writing your name on the back – this is just a practical way of working writing into art time in a natural way. No need to sit kids down and practice just get them to label things as they make them.
  3. Cut the sleeves open and cut pieces to make a trunk.
  4. Cut leaves. We did this together it was the first time he’s used the big scissors… mine aren’t super sharp.
  5. Add glue.
  6. Add your cut pieces. His attention was lacking and I almost gave up, then I suggested he treat it like a puzzle and boom that was the magic word, all of a sudden he was into it. The funniest part was when he put the “leaf” with Starbucks printed on it , he said ” We need to put Starbucks in the middle so everyone can get their latte.” Yeah that’s what Arbor Day is all about, 4 dollar lattes.
  7. Let dry. Didn’t it turn out to be gorgeous? I didn’t expect it to be half this awesome, it’s easily my favorite tree craft we’ve ever made and I kinda have a thing for trees.




Leaf Rubbing Tree

Fall is in full swing around here, between the pumpkins creeping up on porches in my neighborhood to the bursts of  red, yellow and orange everywhere I had to make a leaf rubbing craft. I have to be honest my son was only kinda into this craft. He liked doing the rubbing the first few times and then after that the only thing he wanted to do was be the tape guy! We often put a craft down and return to it at our leisure, or sometimes ditch it forever. Forcing kids to do art defeats the purpose no one is creative or learning when they are forced to do anything.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper towel roll, some white paper, scissors, tape,  crayons in fall colors with the paper removed and leaves from your garden.
  2. Start by going outside and finding some fun leaves , bringing them in and pat them dry if needed.
  3. Place the leaves vein side up under a  piece of paper – for my son I taped the leaves onto a paper so they wouldn’t shift when he was trying to do the rubbing. This is where I lost him, after one exposure to the tape and well tape was all he wanted to do.
  4. Rub your crayons over the paper and watch the magic leaf appear! You can see I still had to hold his paper steady.
  5. Cut them out as you go.
  6. Time to tape. We used tape because it would be very tricky to glue with white glue and our glue stick was MIA. A glue stick would work nicely as long as you glued it horizontally and waited until it was dry to stand it up. 
  7. Attach all the leaves and stand up!

Books About Leaves

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert was the inspiration for this craft and will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber is a beautifully illustrated , informative book that all all about leaves in autumn. It’s not the most exciting book but is a good teaching resource and tool when you are teaching your child about the changing seasons.  I can’t say this is a must read, but it’s useful and worth a look at your local library and will probably make you and your children want to jump in a few giant piles of leaves!

Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley is a funny book about a boy kicked outside and off his video game by a parent and his quest for a lucky leaf. He waits and waits for the last leaf from a tree to fall, even after his friends give up and go home. The story is cute and my son thought it was funny. I liked the comic book format of the illustrations and the little boy’s dog has some pretty funny facial expressions throughout.

Need more leaf projects? It was my theme of the week over at Craftivity Corner my FamilyEducation.com blog !