Looking for some fall paper plate crafts for preschoolers? From the brightly colored leaves to pumpkins and apples, and flannel and plaid, inspiration for fall activities for preschoolers is everywhere. One of my go-to art activities are these paper plate wreaths. They are vivid and bright, and remind me of all the fall things all season long.
Paper Plate Fall Crafts – Fall Wreaths for Preschoolers and Toddlers
These paper plate wreaths are just fantastic.
I know, I know.
To some they look like some paint and clumps of glitter with bits of paper stuck in random places, but I think they are beautiful and oh, so festive. The bright reds, yellows and hints of brown paint remind me of the way the sun shines through the turning trees at sunset, and the glitter makes them sparkle just as the light of an autumn sunset gives everything a warm glow.
And they are so warm and welcoming, don’t you think? Coming in from a brisk autumn afternoon of raking leaves, a set of paper plate wreaths like this one says, “Sure. Come on in. Warm up with some apple cider and put your feet up for a while.”
My preschoolers loved making these wreaths for their parents, and I have to admit, the paper plate wreaths my kids made stayed up until mid-December, I loved them so.
FAQ About Teaching a Fall Theme for Preschoolers
Teaching preschoolers about fall (or autumn) is such a fun time of the year. Share with them that fall is one of the four seasons of the year, and during the fall season we transition from the hot days of summer to cooler fall days. We begin the transition into winter! In many parts of the world, the leaves on the trees will begin to change color and the temperature begins to grow colder. During the fall, animals will start to prepare themselves for winter.
Fall is full of themes galore! From apples to pumpkins, leaves to life cycles, this is the perfect time of year to focus on the wonder and beauty of nature and gardening. Consider a life cycles unit of an apple, pumpkin, or tree, perfect for including exciting science experiments with these natural elements. Since many areas may experience the leaves changing color or falling to the ground, learning about leaves provides another fun element in preschool. Remember to use your five senses as you experience your fall-themed activities!
Fall is known for pumpkins, trick-or-treating, and apple picking. Bring some of these fun events into the classroom by taking a field trip to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. If a field trip isn’t in the cards, bring the apples and pumpkins into the classroom! Carve jack-o-lanterns, plant pumpkin seeds, and enjoy a lovely picnic outside tasting different apple varieties. Explore nature and take your preschoolers out to find evidence of fall and create a fall nature collage (think acorns, pinecones, leaves, twigs, sticks, etc.) Taste apple and pumpkin-flavored items like pumpkin pie and apple cider and invite children to graph their favorites. The fall season is loaded with perfect activities for preschoolers!
How to Make Paper Plate Wreaths for Fall
They are easy to make and inexpensive, too, which is always a plus when you have preschoolers using your supplies!
- cheap paper plates
- washable tempera paint in fall colors
- tissue paper squares in fall colors
- clear drying liquid glue
- fine glitter in fall colors
The Set Up
Begin by cutting the center out of the paper plate, leaving you with a ring. I used a traditional 9-inch paper plates for my preschoolers, however a series of 6-inch wreaths hanging from a door would look lovely as well.
We used 6-inch plates in our Christmas paper plate wreaths last year. If they are smaller, you can turn them into a garland, too.
How to Make a Wreath Crafts Out of Paper Plates
I asked my preschoolers which colors they typically see during the fall season. We looked through our paint supply and pulled the colors most fitting. My preschoolers referred to my front yard as a reference, where the trees are turning coloring and leaves are beginning to fall. So, we settled on red, yellow and brown paint.
Invite your preschoolers to paint the wreaths as they see fit, using all one color, using all three colors, or mixing the paint to make new colors.
Allow time for your preschoolers to paint. If the paper plates are thin, it might be challenging to keep the paper plate in place. And, since the center is cut out, some preschoolers might not want to get paint on their hands.
Every year I have preschoolers who never want to get dirty. I just say something like, “It’s ok to get paint on your hand. This paint can be washed off!” The only exception to this rule was when we made our spring decorated tree branch.
Make messy projects like this one easier by providing the right tools for your preschooler to protect their clothing.
- Use a food tray as a contained workspace for your preschooler.
- We love these art smocks that protect clothing.
- Put butcher paper or a clean shower curtain down on the table for quick cleanup.
At this point, you can allow the paper plates to dry, or you can move on to the next part — adding glue and squares of tissue paper.
For an added fine motor component, you can have your preschoolers tear their own tissue paper, but it will be too difficult for toddlers. I typically just buy pre-cut tissue paper squares to save some time.
My preschoolers found that they liked the tissue paper to be bunched up a little bit, which is excellent fine motor work, but a few of my preschoolers gently laid the tissue paper squares on the glue, keeping them flat. Either approach is fine, and an important decision for each preschooler to make on their own.
Finally, we added some glitter. Now, if the paint is still wet, the glitter will stick to the wet paint, so make a judgement call here. I prefer the look of strings of glittery glue that wind through the wreaths. My preschoolers used liquid glue and then poured fine glitter over it, and since the paint was dry the glitter made neat lines as it stuck only to the glue.
Alternatively, you can also use glitter glue, which always is met with an outburst of enthusiasm by preschoolers.
Decorate for Fall
Sometimes process based art ends up looking a little like a mess. These wreaths certainly can look like that too. But I love them, and as I hung the paper plate wreaths on our front door, in a cluster of three, my own kids were so proud to show their dad when he got home from work.
As I said, they are festive and every element about them reminds me of the vivid colors of fall.
More Fun Fall Crafts for Kids
Arts and crafts are a fun way for young children to work on fine motor skills, while making important decisions about their work. Try some of these leaf art and fall trees activities. They use basic materials like contact paper or liquid watercolor. But they are all easy, peasy and fun, and wonderful fall art activities for toddlers, too!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.