Under the Fall Tree Small World

Here’s an easy fall activity for kids to set up in the classroom or right at home- Under the Fall Tree Small World! This fall themed play invitation will inspire all kinds of creative play!

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Invitation to Play: Under a Fall Tree

Today’s invitation to play centers around a simple fall scene with some loose parts. I was excited to see how Lucy and Theo would interact with this invitation! (This post contains affiliate links.)

*This post was originally published on September 12, 2013.

Invitation to Play: Under the Fall Tree~ Buggy and Buddy


Materials for Under the Fall Tree Small World


Setting Up

I started by covering one of the kid’s tables with some brown craft paper. This added the element of a dirt-like surface, but also protected the table, allowing the kids to play worry-free.

I decided to add borders to the play area to keep all the loose parts from falling. To create the borders I scrunched up some of the paper and taped it to the sides.

To really set the scene, I made a fall tree right on the wall next to the table! It was really easy to make, and I think next time Lucy might enjoy doing this part with me. I scrunched up some more brown paper and stuck it to the wall with painter’s tape. To make it more interactive, I attached some fall leaves to the tree with poster putty. That way the kids are able to remove the leaves and reattach them on their own.

To make containers to hold the loose parts, I rolled down the edges of some brown lunch bags. I added some green glass jewels, small wooden craft sticks, and fall colored buttons to each bag. The best part about these bags is it makes clean up so easy! Just unroll them, and your craft supplies end up nicely packed away in the bag for next time!

I completed the set up by adding a couple large wooden craft sticks and wooden spools to the play area, as well as some unused fall leaves. For the final touches I added some play dough and model sculpting compound, as well as some stones with animal stickers on them, to encourage creative play.


Invitation to Play: Under the Fall Tree~ Buggy and Buddy


How My Kids Played

This was such a joy to watch! At first both kids just wanted to touch and feel everything on the table. Lucy was especially curious about the fall tree on the wall. “How are the leaves sticking, Mommy?” I showed her how I used the poster putty to attach them to the branches. At various times throughout her play I noticed her attaching and detaching the fall leaves herself.

Eventually Lucy began focusing on creating things for the play area using the loose parts and modeling compound. She made trees with the spools by attaching glass gems and buttons to the top. Theo loved placing the loose parts around the play scene and moving the animals around in them.

The kids frequently returned to the invitation throughout the following days. Lucy liked checking up on her creations and occasionally the stone animals were involved in the play as well.


Invitation to Play: Under the Fall Tree~ Buggy and Buddy


Use larger loose parts to avoid chocking hazards for young ones. Never leave young children unattended with small parts.

If possible, leave the invitation out for multiple days. The kids were really interested in picking up where they left off and sometimes created whole new scenarios with the materials throughout the week.

Use materials from around your home. The only materials I ended up buying for this were the fall leaves and craft paper. I found the rest of the materials just by walking around the house and gathering things I thought might inspire the kids.

 Under the Fall Tree Small World


Under the Fall Tree Small World and Sensory Play: Set up this loose parts invitation to play perfect for autumn! A great way to encourage creativity and imaginative play! ~ BuggyandBuddy.com


  1. Oooh, I love this! When I saw it on Pinterest I had to come right away to see what your children did with it. 🙂 I really like the craft paper…it looks so lovely for fall and makes such a nice background for the bright colors.

    • Kat Juel-Guy says:

      I dont know if all Dollar Trees carry it, but ours has rolls of the brown craft paper…we used it for banners for my little one’s birthday, but this would be fabulous!!! (Lucky me, I have leftover)…I have a spot in my entryway that this would be fantastic. You could also make it a family tree with pictures of your family members on the leaves. My wheels are spinning…LOL Thanks for the great idea!

  2. I love this, Chelsey. It’s so open-ended and I like that it can be left out for a week and played with in different ways.
    And great idea to use the paper bags. I may have to try that!

  3. I loooove this! How creative and beautiful! You are such an inspiration 😉

  4. What a great set up for Fall! I bet they were super excited when they saw that all set up so nicely.

    Thank you for sharing at our Pinning for Play link party!

  5. I love this! Now I want to set one up for my kids! Mine are older, but I know they would love helping set it up as well as playing with it! I like your idea of making borders around the table by scrunching up the paper too. Thank you for sharing your great idea!

  6. What a great idea – you really do think of everything. I like the poster putty idea – will need to pick some of that up! Thanks so much for sharing at After School.

  7. Love this ! Open-ended activities like this are so much fun, and such an important experience for kids to have. Thanks for sharing how your kids played, and inspiring me to make something similar for my own children.

  8. Fall fun is always a plus in our homeschool 🙂 Thank you for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop 🙂

  9. What a great set up!! I love it!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday! Congrats on being the most clicked this week!!

  10. This looks so inviting, Chelsey! Everytime I see this pop up on a facebook page or on pinterest, I just think it looks so dreamy. Great activity!

  11. I so love this! I included it in my fall round up, and I’m featuring it on The Sunday Showcase this week. Thank you for linking up!

  12. How fun and your twisted fall tree is beautiful. I can see how this would have instant appeal for kids! Thanks for sharing at the After School Linky Party!

  13. I absolutely love this! Such a wonderful idea for sensory and imaginative play. I’ll be featuring this on my blog tomorrow for my Tuesday Tots round up. Thank you for linking up!

  14. That is a wonderful idea! I hope my little one will enjoy it as much as I like it.


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