Wednesday, October 1, 2014

27 Fall Activities and Crafts For Kids

I love scouring Pinterest, looking at all of the beautiful, time consuming crafts and activities for kids. Yeah, my kids aren't about to last 30 minutes while I continuously stir homemade play dough on the stove. I need quick, cute, fun, not too messy, easy clean up, good for kids all of ages, and things that the kids will actually enjoy. Looking for that too?
Then look no further. Here is a fool proof list of DIY Fall crafts and activities that is sure to please both the kiddos and parents:

 1.) Sensory bins are a hit with kids of all ages (I've seen 12 years old sit down and play around with these). Hit up Dollar Tree for a few nick knacks (I got the mini apples, small pine cones, acorns, pumpkins, and fake leaves all at Dollar Tree), grab rice, beans, or pasta, and throw in a few Little People or other figurines for play.
I scored big points with the kiddies this year and turned the sandbox into a cornbox (my kids left the sandbox open and it rained for a straight week. The sand had to go). We went to Mills Fleet Farm and got a 50 lbs. bag of dried corn kernels for $8. It would be easy to make this into a smaller sensory bin that could come inside (as the one above).

 2.) Fizzing pumpkins. Mix baking soda and water together until you get a mold-able dough-like texture. Use cookie cutters to shape the dough. Once shaped, remove cookie cutter and pour vinegar over the baking soda dough (I dyed ours orange for an extra pop). Kids love watching it fizz.
3.) Pumpkin Snow. Mix baking soda, cold water, orange food coloring and pumpkin pie spice. It feels like real snow and smells amazing too!
4.) Leaf cut outs (I recommend checking out Michael's craft stores for paper cut outs. I was not lucky enough to nab any this year, so instead I headed to Dollar Tree and grabbed a leaf table topper I could trace onto poster board) and Do A Dot markers (

5.) A backyard apple orchard. This one took some time set up, but the kids enjoyed it. I say, save yourself some time and energy. Serve apple cider and apples as a snack while the kids play with baked cottons balls (what we used as our apples on the trees. These are super easy to make: coat cotton balls in a flour, water, and food coloring mixture, bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes) as a sensory activity. (For more info on doing your own backyard apple orchard:
6.) Homemade apple spice paint. I drew apples on poster board, cut them out, and made apple spice paint (flour, water, and apple spice). When the apples are dry (this takes 24 hours or more, depending on how much paint is gobbed onto the paper), have the kids pick out a twig or small stick. Tape on the the back of the apple for the stem.
7.) Fall trees and fall leaves using up scraps of construction paper. Just remember not to cut them too small for little hands.....and it's much less messy if an adult controls the glue.

8.) Fall scented paints to paint leaf cut outs. Red-cinnamon, yellow-honey, green-apple spice, orange-pumpkin spice, brown-nutmeg. Just a heads up, since the yellow paint has honey in it, this will not be a keep forever kind of craft.
9.) Apple nachos: apple slice, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, M&M's, marshmallows, chocolate chips....the possibilities are endlessly yummy.
10.) Green apple play dough: green apple conditioner (head to Dollar Tree for a super cheap bottle--they seemed to have plenty in stock) and cornstarch. Just a tip: you'll use more conditioner than cornstarch.
11.) Apple Spice Shaving Cream (shaving cream, red food coloring, and apple spice). Use it as a sensory activity, use it as paint, use it as body paint (this is a huge, big, big mess however). There's so much to do with this.
12.) Apple trees. Draw a tree shape. Have kids paint the green leaves on the tree. Once the green paint dries, have them use their finger tips to put the apples (red paint) on the tree.
13.) Apple prints. Before painting, we took the time to examine the inside of the apples. We also learned that if we flush the apple seeds down the toilet, the toilet will not, in fact, grow an apple tree.
14.) I buy these wooden shapes at Michael's craft stores (.29 cents a piece). I have the kids color them with markers or paint them. For fall we do fall trees and fall leaves. You can also buy small magnets to glue on the back so they can be displayed on the refrigerator.

15.) Pillsbury is my friend this time of year. The kids love baking and decorating cookies and cupcakes. Thankfully, Pillsbury makes all kinds of flavors for a great price. Our recent round of cupcakes were hardly eaten, but it kept them decorating for 2 hours one afternoon. However, thanks to the little sprinkles, this can be a BIG mess.
16.) Leaf prints. Crayola's Model Magic is awesome at capturing fine lines and patterns (this is all I use now for the kid's hand prints). Roll the dough out flat and press a leaf into the dough. Gently lift the leaf up and let the dough air dry (this usually takes days for us).
17.) Fall trees. Put those empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls to use. Cut out a tree top shape, let the kids paint it whatever fall colors they want (we used red, green, yellow, orange, and brown), make slats in the sides of the toilet paper roll and put the tree top in the slats once dried.
18.) Leaf painting. Super simple: have the kids collect falling leaves and paint with them.
19.) Pumpkin paint: flour, water, orange food coloring, and pumpkin pie spice (you can also try mixing in a spoonful or two of canned pumpkin but the smell isn't as strong as the spice). I've had the kids paint paper pumpkins with this and also use it as sidewalk paint.
20.) Fall collages. Go on a nature walk (this entails the kids picking leaves, twigs, grass, pine cones, acorns, etc. up off the ground. Use clear contact paper to put their fall finds on and another piece of contact paper on top when they're done. This method requires no glue or anything else messy. Just make sure the contact paper doesn't get caught in hair. I've heard that can happen.
21.) Pumpkin bowling. Decorate pop bottles, milk jugs, empty juice containers with stickers (we used a combination of Halloween, Fall, and Thanksgiving stickers), set them up as bowling pins, and roll the mini pumpkins into them. Be sure to emphasize that the pumpkins must be rolled on the ground and not fly through the air or things get messy.
22.) Egg carton pumpkin. Cut an empty egg carton and paint the shells orange. We've used these as Halloween decorations in the past. With the ten we painted, we were able to count them, go over simple addition and subtraction, and use them as finger puppets for our "One Little Two Little Three Little Pumpkins" song.
23.) Paint pine cones or paint with the pine cones. We had to d something with those treasured pine cones that were found on the nature walk!
24.) Foam stickers. Dollar Tree usually has some good (but very few) seasonal foam stickers. Michael's and Target also carry them. These are great, although younger kids tend to have issues peeling the backs off of the stickers. Also, it seems those little white sticker backs get everywhere, but are an easy pick up.
25.) Apple Bowling. I put red paint (for red apples) in pop bottles and had the kids roll a green apple into the bowling pins (emphasize the rolling, no throwing). The more the bottles got knocked down, the more the paint splattered inside. Just make sure the lids on are tight and you're good.
26.) Apple Spice Play Dough. Use a no cook play dough recipe (my fave:, add red food coloring and Tones apple spice. 
 27.) Put a leaf under a plain white piece of paper. Using the side of a crayon, color over the leaf. We used these pictures to talk about leaves, their stems, and how leaves breathe.

What are fall activities you enjoy have your kids do?