Painting with novel objects is one of my favorite ways of exploring process art with preschoolers. Using tools other than paintbrushes sparks creativity and the ability to think outside of the box. The process is the point, seeing how the tools work with the paint colors, and it’s fun to ask children how they think this object will work in place of a paintbrush. Pinecone painting is a wonderful way of bringing some nature into your classroom during the fall.
Gather your materials you will need a box, fun colors of paint ( we used red, orange, yellow, and green), a few pinecones, and paper.
Pop the paper in the box and squirt a little paint in the middle of the paper.
Add in the pinecones.
Gently roll the pinecones in all directions, careful not to let them fall out of the box.
Keep rolling until the artist is sure it’s all done. Let dry and display.
Need some books to go with your fall art? Try these great fall books for kids.
For more fall ideas check out our fall thematic units the best deal is our Ultime Fall Bundle!
Nadia @ Adventures in Wonderlab says
I think the pinecones are beautiful after the process, as well. I wonder if you paint the pinecones first, and while they are still wet roll them in the box on paper – would enough paint come off on the paper? I love this idea (and pinecones and messy art!). We will have to try this project at home, and display the artwork and the beautiful pinecones!
Allison McDonald says
You totally could!
Katie :) says
That’s what I thought when I first saw the post, I probably wouldn’t have thought of rolling the pine ones in the box! Lol
Can you explain the point of process art? I am happy to do the messy process art type projects; I just don’t understand why ones does them (other than pure enjoyment). Does that make sense? I don’t come from an educational background, so I feel like I must be missing something. My boy sure loves them though 🙂
The term ‘process art’ simply means that the learning, enjoyment, and experience of making the art is more important than what the finished product looks like. So quite simply, ‘pure enjoyment’ is a good enough reason to do any ‘process art’ project. When working with little ones, all art should really be process art because giving them the experience of working with different mediums and creating something that THEY are proud of and made all by themselves should really be the most important thing.
My son is 2.5 yrs and he’s all about process art. As a few examples… he will use purple glue that dries clear and put the glue all over paper but not stick anything to it, just watch it disappear. Or he will use scissors to cut just because he enjoys cutting, he won’t do anything with the finished project. He’s learning so many things about controlling his body, how to use different materials, what happens to the materials when you do something with them, etc. Similarly, his behavior learning is very repetitive… when he picks up after himself, he enjoys the process of “cleaning” his table even though he’s really just pushing food around. When he “sweeps” the floor, he does a good job but it’s definitely not clean; he will sweep dirt into a pile but then sweep it back to a big mess and repeat. He doesn’t care about the end product, just the process. It reminds me of the quote about life’s a journey, enjoy the ride (or whatever the quote is)
can you save the pinecones for decoration?
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This is a great extension activity to a fall nature walk! My almost 2 year old daughter will love shaking the pine cones around. When I was searching for fall inspired crafts and activities to do with my toddler, this idea was one of my favorites. I liked how easy, fun and inexpensive it is to do. I featured it in my recent blog post: https://www.nurturingfamilyandself.com/25-fun-and-easy-fall-crafts-for-toddlers/ Thanks for the great idea! I can’t wait to try this with my daughter!
Catherine Holliss says
I definitely love the process art but I also agree that the pinecones are gorgeous when done. I’d love to see the pinecones go the next step on another day. Perhaps you could get strands of wool that match the paint colors you chose and wrap them to make hanging objects (christmas decorations!) I feel like you’ve done that project too but I cannot find a way to search your website. I’m such a fan, Jean, and I’ve loved watching this grow into a business over the last six or seven years that I have been following you.
This is so awesome! Also, it’s like 2 art activities in one: art on paper and a painted pine cone 🙂
Allison McDonald says
Allison Osborn says
Great idea, will be doing this with my preschool students! They will love it