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.
Materials for Under the Fall Tree Small World
- Craft paper (similar to this)
- Brown paper lunch bags
- Silk screen fall leaves (like these or you could use real leaves)
- Removable poster putty
- Loose parts (We used green glass gems, mini wooden sticks, fall colored buttons)
- Modeling compound and/or play dough
- Animal figures
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.
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.
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.