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We gathered unripe Japanese flowering dogwood tree fruit. These berries are spiky and hard while immature but turn red when ripe which you can see on our Autumn nature tray from two years ago. You could also try this activity with sweetgum tree fruit, small pine cones, or acorns for a similar effect.
We love to use a washable, reusable vintage divided lunch tray for projects like these because it separates our materials but creates no trash.
Our toddler loved watching our preschooler roll the spiky fruit in washable paint. This was a great fine motor activity for her!
We taped construction paper to the bottom of a big box, dropped the painted fruit inside, and closed the top. Next E shook, shook, shook the box rolling it from side to side as she moved all around. This was the gross motor portion of the art process!
We would stop periodically to take a peek inside. E would decide that there wasn't enough paint on her papers yet so she removed the fruit to apply more.
She added more paint to each textured fall found object. If your child doesn't like to get messy they could use a tool like a spoon or tongs to handle the paint covered fruit.
E didn't mind getting a little bit messy. She loved covering nature's paintbrushes in more color to plop back in the box!
While this art work was a fun and creative process I was very pleased with the pretty results of the product as well! The bumps of the fruit created the most interesting tracks of autumn colors across the paper.
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