Take your child on a fall nature scavenger hunt and search the woods for pinecones. Your child will love painting her findings (we used acrylic) which can be combined with sticks, acorns, pumpkins and pine needles to create seasonal decor for your home. Try metallic paints (gold looks beautiful!), mixing white and off white or go for full-on color with rainbow tones.
Sculpey makes a soft clay that children can easily shape into fall forms such as acorns, sticks and leaves. Clay quickly hardens when baked (with parent assistance, of course). Once cool, clay shapes can be painted (we used acrylic paint) and used in table decorations.
With a little help, your child will love mastering the in-and-out movement of a large tapestry needle to "sew" this felt garland. Cut felt circles and use a tapestry needle and thin baker's twine to sew your circles together. You may need to cut small slits in the felt to help feed the needle through. This makes a great hand/eye coordination activity for any little one needing some more experience.
Pumpkin painting is a great alternative to pumpkin carving and also allows your pumpkin to last longer. Babies can get in on the fun as well (paint the inside of their hands and make a hand print pumpkin)--just make sure they don't put any paint in their mouth. Don't forget to line your painting surface with newspaper first!
These fall place setting holders can be quickly created with some outdoor treasures, tongue depressors and chalkboard paint. Paint tongue depressors with chalkboard paint, and while they dry have your child set out on a hunt to find small pinecones, stiff leaves and twigs. Hot glue fall treasures to end of tongue depressor and use chalk to write guest names. My daugther's favorite part is getting to choose who sits where at the table.
Before you rake up all those leaves, pick a few to trace onto watercolor paper (use a thin permanent marker) and have your child use watercolor paints to decorate them. Encourage color mixing with browns, reds, golds and oranges to achieve fall's beautiful multi-shade effect.
Take your child's watercolor leaves one step further by helping your child cut along the leaves' edges once paint is dry. Place a little bit of tacky glue on the back of each leaf's stem and adhere leaves to a line of twine (cut to preferred length of garland). Hang garland along mantle, stair case or across a large window to bring some fall color inside your home.
Most craft stores sell inexpensive unfinished napkin rings which can be painted (acrylics) and decorated using vintage buttons, small pinecones, ribbon, etc. Your child will enjoy the painting and button-choosing part, and you can monitor the glue gun. Use your napkin rings in your fall entertaining, and your child will love knowing he helped add a special touch for company.
We combined store-bought fall-toned feathers, twine and a stick we found in our woods to create this nature mobile for my daughter's room. Cut several pieces of twine, lay them out on a slick surface (so the glue doesn't stick) and let your child use tacky glue to adhere feathers along the length. Once dry, tie feather strands to stick at different lengths, and hang mobile on wall using twine.
Flat pieces of birch bark (you can buy small sheets of it inexpensively at online craft stores) can be used as a canvas for beautiful fall artwork. Use acrylic paints for art and hot glue a stick wound with twine to turn artwork into a fall-inspired wall hanging.