This crumpled paper fall tree is a simple art activity that incorporates a sensory element for toddlers and preschoolers that allows for hands on creating.
I love planning crafts and art activities that focus more on the process instead of the end result. In my experience, I have found that toddlers and preschoolers thrive on simple set ups when it comes to art.
This makes the experience positive for everyone involved!
For this activity, you will need:
- paint (we chose fall colors)
- paper plate
- two pieces of paper (one for ripping and one for drawing the tree trunk on)
- a brown marker
- a glue stick
- a variety of spices from your pantry
I love incorporating sensory elements into our every day play. To add to our art experience, we decided to mix spices to our paint and create a “scratch and sniff” autumn tree.
To begin with, we chose our spices from our kitchen. We used cinnamon, cocoa powder, nutmeg and vanilla.
I pre-measured the spices in cupcake liners and had my three year old pour them into the paint and stir, which he loved. It is also great hand and eye coordination practice!
After the paint and spices were mixed, I asked a few questions to stimulate my child’s senses.
“What does this smell remind you of?”
“What is your favorite smell?”
“Does it smell spicy or sweet?”
Once we had the paint mixed, I decided to use crumpled paper in place of paintbrushes for our trees.
I had my three year old rip a single piece of paper into three parts.
Ripping paper is an excellent fine motor activity and toddlers love it!
Also check out this cute torn paper tree craft!
I then encouraged him to crumple and squeeze each piece into a small ball, explaining that these would be our paintbrushes.
Once we had our three paper balls, we were ready to paint!
He enjoyed using a dip and sponge method verses paint strokes.
After he had most of the paint on his plate, I encouraged him to use a mix of rhythms in his sponging by calling out “fast or slow”.
He loved the anticipation of what I would call out next!
After his paper plate had dried, I drew a simple tree trunk on a white piece of paper. If you have an older preschooler, they may like to do this themselves.
I glued the paper plate to the tree trunk on the paper to complete our art.
Once it was hung, he loved going back and forth to his tree, scratching the “leaves”so he could smell them!
How do you incorporate sensory elements into your art?