Make a Fall Tree Collage

A simple shape collage can be a great way to explore math concepts and learn about the artistic process. Encourage your child to build basic math skills such as shape recognition and the part-to-whole relationship. Take this opportunity to teach him some new vocabulary words such as geometric shape, primary color, texture, or collage for an added lesson.

Use rectangles, squares, and triangles to collage a tree trunk and branches. Next, attach tissue paper in fall colors full of seasonal inspiration. This activity will not only aid in math skill development, but will also encourage your child to investigate nature, the fall season, and gain knowledge about his environment.

What You Need:

  • Construction paper (in browns)
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper (in fall colors such as red, yellow, dark green, brown, and orange)
  • Glue

What You Do:

  1. Before you start the activity, take a walk outside with your child and see if you can find any leaves that are already beginning to change colors. Talk to your child about why some leaves change colors in the fall.
  2. To begin the project, help your child cut out shapes from the brown construction paper. These will become the tree trunk and the branches.
  3. Ask your child to glue the paper shapes onto a separate sheet of construction paper of a different color. Compare this to putting together a puzzle. Have him place the different shapes in a variety of patterns to create a trunk and branches.
  4. Help your child create fall leaves from the tissue paper. Ask him to cut or tear small pieces in various geometric shapes from each color. Encourage your child to experiment with the tissue paper and try to make different shapes. He may want to crumple the tissue paper or form it into balls in order to create a more textured leaf.
  5. Then have your child glue the tissue leaves onto the tree branches however he likes. He can even glue some on the ground next to the tree to make piles of fallen leaves.

Try this fun fall activity outdoors for maximum impact. Ask your child to observe his fall environment, and then discuss what shapes she may see in the trees. What does the trunk look like? Can she find a triangle in a leaf? Bring your art materials outdoors and allow your budding artist to create his collage in the autumn setting.

Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.