16 September 2019

Autumn art projects for grandkids

Older woman with her grandchildren

Now the weather has become colder it can be difficult to think of ways to entertain your grandchildren when they visit. Although you could take them to the local shopping centre or adventure park, that can become a tiring day out, especially for those who rely on home stair lifts. Creating arts and crafts is an entertaining alternative for how you and your grandchildren can spend some quality time together. Plus, you’ll end up with plenty of things to hang on the fridge and keep as a memory! In this guide, we reveal some of the autumn-themed arts and crafts you can try.

Pinecone painting

Child painting a pinecone

Although it may be chilly outside, it’s still a good idea to venture outside to get some fresh air. Once you and the grandkids have wrapped up warm and headed out on your walk, set the little ones a mission of spotting and collecting pinecones - which can be used for a variety of arts and crafts!

Simply layout a pot of PVA glue, brushes, glitter and paint. The kids can decide whether to decorate the whole pinecone or perhaps make a creative pattern. This is likely to cause a lot of mess so, be prepared by laying out newspaper and tissue on the table.

For something a little trickier, you could create some pinecone hedgehogs. You will need the pinecones, brown felt, glue, scissors and black sticker beads – all of which are available online on places such as Amazon. Help your grandkids follow the method below so they can have their very own pinecone pets.

  1. Place the pinecones on their side and cut out a triangle face shape from the felt.
  2. Stick three of the black stickers onto the felt to make the eyes and the nose.
  3. Cut out two small ears out of the felt.
  4. Line all the shapes with PVA glue and stick them onto the front of the pinecone.
  5. Wait for them to dry – and you’re done!

Once they’ve mastered hedgehogs, they can have a go at making all kinds of animals.

Leaf printing

Autumn leaves

A classic autumn activity for children is leaf printing, and it’s one of the easiest arts and crafts there is! Just like the pinecone painting, you can start this activity with an outdoor walk where the children can collect a mixture of different leaves.

We spoke to Catherine from Growing Family, a family, garden and interior blog, who recommends leaf printing as a great activity for grandparents to do with their grandkids: “Autumn is a fantastic time to get outdoors and enjoy nature, and you can combine a walk in the countryside or a trip to the park with some simple craft. Leaf printing is ideal for this time of year, as there are lots of fallen leaves lying around. Try to collect a variety of shapes and sizes and remember to only choose leaves that have fallen as opposed to picking them from branches.

“Once you’re back home, all you need is a piece of paper (the bigger the better for smaller children), washable paints and a paintbrush. Children can paint one side of each leaf, then press it carefully onto the paper. Peeling the leaf away slowly helps to minimise smudging. Using a range of brightly coloured paints makes a lovely collage, we also love waiting for the paint to dry then using felt tips to turn the prints into creatures!”

Apple printing

Apple printing bunting

If the children spot a few fallen apples on the ground during your walk, you could add them onto the pile of things to take home. However, to avoid any unwanted insects, you may prefer to stop by the local supermarket and grab a few fresh apples instead.

We also spoke to the creator of The artful Parent and author of arts and crafts for children books, Jean Van’t Hul, who says: “There are so many wonderful autumn arts and crafts activities that kids can do! Some that we especially like this time of year, include apple printing, drawing and doodling on autumn leaves, and making nature suncatchers.

“These are each easy and fun for all ages, making them great for grandparents to do alongside their grandchildren. I like to encourage adults and children alike to take a curious and experimental approach to any art or craft project and remind everyone that there is no right or wrong way to do anything. The important thing is to have fun together, connect through creative activity, and make memories!”

Jean Van’t Hul recommends apple printing, she explains: “Cut an apple in half and use it to make apple prints with red paint, or ink, on paper triangles. String the triangles together to make an apple bunting that you can hang for autumn decoration.” You can follow the steps in more detail over on her blog.

Autumn leaf suncatchers

Autumn leaf suncatcher

These autumn leaf suncatchers are great fun for children. Not only can they enjoy creating them, but they’ll be able to see their hard work pay off when the light comes through the window, and the patterns appear on the walls.

This was another project recommended by Jean Van’t Hu from The Artful Parent, who says: “Press colourful leaves, autumn flower petals, and other nature items to transparent contact paper (also called sticky-back plastic). Cover with another piece of contact paper and hang in the window.” You can find out more about how to make these autumn leaf suncatchers here.

Autumn pictures

Autumn walk scene

Set your grandchildren the task of creating a picture of autumn scenery using paint and the objects gathered from their walk. Whether it’s cutting and sticking parts of leaves to make people or using fingerprint painting to create autumn trees, let the kids unleash all their creativity.

Rosie from Little Fish, a blog for fun arts and crafts inspiration, advises: “We like to use shape cutters to cut shapes from leaves and stick them onto a card to create pictures. Leaves can also be made into leaf people and animals with a little glue and some felt markers. Creating an art or craft piece once you get home from a short walk with your grandchildren is the perfect opportunity for some creative quiet time.”

Important things to remember

Anything that involves children can get messy, but especially arts and crafts! So, make sure you make a designated arts and crafts area - the kitchen table is best - that’s covered in layers of old newspaper and paper towels. If you struggle with low mobility, it may be worth investing in some cleaning gadgets ready for the mess.

Rosie from Little Fish continues: “I have three top tips for making arts and crafts with children. Firstly, keep it simple. You don’t need lots of fancy equipment. Children love creating arts and crafts with simple materials, many of which you likely already have at home. Secondly, keep it open-ended and let children lead the way.

“Children love to be inspired, but once they have an idea, let their imagination run away with itself! I think it’s about the process and not the end product. I know that I’ve encouraged true creativity when my children’s art projects look different from the example I have made! Finally, relax and have fun! Enjoy your precious time together!”

For quick reference, here are some autumn art project ideas you can enjoy with your grandchildren:

  • Pinecone painting
  • Pinecone hedgehogs
  • Leaf printing
  • Apple printing and bunting
  • Autumn leaf suncatchers
  • Create pictures made with autumn findings