Autumn is a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy nature, so why not combine this with some lovely autumn nature crafts?
Crafting with nature is cheap, environmentally friendly, and a wonderful way to teach children about the natural world around them. And because we’ve all got some form of nature right on our doorstep, nature crafts are very accessible kids nature activities too.
In this post I’ve got a bumper selection of autumn nature crafts for kids (or fall nature crafts if you’re in the US). They all use items you can easily find in nature at this time of year, and are perfect for encouraging children to spend time outdoors, learn about nature, and get creative.
I’ve also included plenty of fall nature play ideas for days when you want to keep things simple.
Brilliant autumn nature crafts for kids
My book *A Year of Nature Craft and Play has a whole year’s worth of nature craft ideas. There’s a nature-themed activity for every week of the year, with games, crafts, gardening projects, art activities and science experiments to have a go at.
Each activity is designed to be low-cost, eco-friendly and achievable – and lots of fun. It makes a great gift for a young nature fan, and it’s also a useful resource for parents. You can find out more in my nature play blog post.
Fall nature crafts for kids
Here are fifteen autumn nature crafts and outdoor play ideas to keep the kids busy. The grown-ups are allowed to join in too!
1. Leaf mason jar lanterns
These leaf mason jar lanterns are a fab autumn craft for kids to try, and you can make them with just a few basic supplies. Kids can enjoy collecting some fallen leaves on a nature walk, then create a unique lantern when you get home.
They look amazing when it gets dark, and we use them as Halloween decorations too.
2. Pumpkin fairy house
One of my kids’ favourite crafts for autumn is making a pumpkin fairy house. You can really let your creativity flow with this one.
This nature craft is obviously ideal for Halloween, but it also makes a beautiful natural decoration for autumn in general. We like to display ours on the front porch.
3. Pumpkin bird feeder
As we head towards winter, wild birds will start to build up their energy stores in order to survive the colder months. Providing your local wild birds with a source of high-energy food is a brilliant way to give them a helping hand. As an added bonus, children will be able to enjoy more bird visitors in your garden.
Making your own bird feeders is a perfect nature craft for all ages of children, and a pumpkin bird feeder is a fantastic way to use up your pumpkins after Halloween. We also like making homemade bird feeders in paper cups with bird seed and vegetable fat, and fun shaped DIY bird feeders with cookie cutters.
4. Leaf prints
Another autumn leaves craft, making leaf prints is so easy. Even very young children can have a go at this nature craft, and all you need is some interestingly-shaped leaves and a few paint supplies. You can of course get as creative and complicated as you like!
If you’ve got any leaves left over you could try making a simple autumn wreath to decorate your door.
5. Nature suncatchers
This is an impressive way to display nature treasures that kids have collected while playing outdoors. You need two pieces of *sticky back plastic (also called contact paper), a piece of card, and your nature treasures.
Decide what shape you want your sun catcher to be, then cut two of the shape out of the sticky back plastic. Use the card to make a border that’s the same shape but a bit bigger.
Peel the backing from one piece of sticky back plastic and apply the border. Then stick down your natural items and apply the second piece of sticky back plastic over the top to seal everything in.
Make a hole in the top edge of your sun catcher, and it’s ready to hang up (we use a *suction hook to make this easier). Choose a bright window that gets lots of sunshine for maximum impact.
6. Clay pressing
You can make this nature craft as simple or as detailed as you like. Just remember to poke a hole near the top edge of your clay if you want to hang your clay pressings up. They look fantastic in *box frames too.
7. Bug hotel
Adding a bug hotel to your garden will encourage bees, ladybirds, and all kinds of insects to take up residence. As well as helping local wildlife, many species will help your plants too, by pollinating them or keeping pests like greenfly under control.
There are lots of bug hotels available to buy, but it’s easy and fun to make your own. My bee hotel tutorial shows you how to repurpose an old plastic drinks bottle or plant pot to create a habitat for minibeasts.
8. Autumn nature mandala
Making a nature mandala is one of the simplest ways to craft with nature. You can make one anywhere, at any time of year, and with any natural materials you find.
A mandala is a symmetrical, circular pattern that grows outwards from a centre point. You make one by choosing an item for the middle, then building up your pattern around it.
Making a mandala in a public space (such as your local park) is a nice way to share your piece of nature art with lots of other people – and because it’s made from nature treasures it will return to nature without creating any litter.
Fantastic ideas for fall nature play
Sometimes you need easy and quick ideas to get everyone outdoors and off the screens. Here are my favourite ways to encourage nature play in autumn.
9. Autumn outdoor play bucket list
My free printable autumn bucket list is a great place to start. Download it, print it out, and stick it on the fridge door – that way you’ve got an easy-access source of inspiration when you’re short on time, or need some instant ideas for outdoor play.
10. Journey sticks
Need to make a walk with the kids more exciting? Journey sticks are the perfect solution, and all you need in the way of prep is a piece of string in your pocket.
The idea is to find a stick, then collect fallen nature treasures during your walk and use the string to attach them to the stick. This will keep little ones busy and engaged, and also builds up a record of your journey, which can be used to tell the story of the walk. It’s a very simple nature craft, but in my experience it never fails to capture kids imagination. My journey sticks post covers the activity in more detail.
11. Natural noughts & crosses
Put that stick collection to good use! My natural noughts and crosses are made with twigs, string and anything round you can find in nature. Conkers work well for autumn.
The beauty of this nature craft for kids is that it combines nature play with hands-on activity. Plus you get a game that you can use again and again!
Autumn gardening for kids
Develop those little green fingers with these great autumn gardening ideas for kids.
12. Saving seeds
Lots of plants have produced seed pods or seed heads by the time autumn arrives. Saving some of those seeds is an interesting outdoor activity for kids, and it also means you can grow lots of plants for free. My tips for saving seeds in autumn post shows you what to do.
13. Spooky spider plants
If the weather is rubbish you can easily do this gardening project indoors.
14. Sowing wildflowers
Growing wildflowers is one of the best ways to make your garden wildlife-friendly, and it’s also a really easy gardening project for children.
Autumn is the ideal time of year to sow *wildflower seeds. Plant them now, and you’ll be enjoying the flowers next spring and summer. Head over to my post on growing wildflowers for a step-by-step guide.
15. Plant an autumn flower pot or hanging basket
This kids gardening project is an easy way to perk up your autumn garden.
Simply fill a pot or hanging basket with autumn flowering plants to create instant colour. Autumn bedding plants are usually widely available in garden centres and DIY stores. Dahlias, pansies, violas, primroses and cyclamen all work well. My list of fall flowers for pots will help you with plant inspiration too.
You could reuse a pot you already have, or upcycle something like an old teapot or an old pair of wellies. My twig-wrapped pots are fun to make too. Whatever you use, make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom so your plants don’t sit in a puddle.
When your autumn flower pot is finished, you can encourage kids to care for their plants by regularly watering and removing dead flowers. It’s also nice to keep an eye on the insects that visit the flowers; this is a good way to introduce the idea of wildlife gardening.
Sharing your autumn crafts and nature play pictures on social media?
If you’re a fan of sharing your fall crafts for kids and nature play on social media, these handy resources will save you time.
My nature hashtags copy and paste lists are very useful for your instagram posts. And if you need to find the perfect caption for your nature pictures, check out my flower quotes, nature quotes and tree quotes.
I’ve also got a bumper list of autumn quotes that work beautifully with nature pictures.
Even more fun nature crafts for kids and nature play ideas
If you’d like to explore even more nature crafts for kids, I’ve got you covered.
My other book *A Year of Nature Walks and Games is packed with 52 ideas for nature play to keep kids active all year round. You’ll find walking games, nature games and much more in this engaging collection of nature play ideas.
In spring you can take your pick from heart nature crafts, Mother’s Day nature crafts, Easter nature crafts and my spring nature crafts roundup. There are also brilliant lists of Earth Day activities for kids and Earth Day quotes to help you celebrate this nature-themed day in April.
In summer my easy nature crafts roundup has 25 great projects for you to try.
I’ve also created a free printable outdoor play bucket list for each season. They’re all packed with 40 ideas for keeping kids busy outdoors. There’s one for autumn, winter, spring and summer, plus a fre printable of easy ideas for exploring nature with children.
Nature-themed jokes for kids
Let’s round things off with some nature-themed silliness!
There’s a whole series of family-friendly nature jokes here to get everyone giggling. There are bee puns, bird puns, flower puns, tree puns, garden puns, plant puns, vegetable puns, potato puns and fruit puns to explore. Don’t miss my fall puns, Halloween jokes for kids, pumpkin puns, and Halloween quotes for autumn too.
Have these autumn nature crafts, autumn activities for kids, and fall nature play ideas inspired you to get out there and make the most of the season? Tell us which ones you try in the comments 🙂
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