Pine Cone Trail Outdoor Activity for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Make a trail with pine cones in the backyard to provide an outdoor game for toddlers and preschoolers. A pine cone trail combines gross motor and fine motor skills in a simple hands-on activity.

outdoor trail activity with pine cones

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Toddlers and preschoolers love playing Follow the Leader. You can create a similar game called Follow the Trail.

Outdoor trails can be made with footprints in the sand, boot prints in the snow, or in this case, pine cones.

We are fortunate to have a large pine tree in our yard. Every spring there is an abundance of pine cones on the ground that are fun to collect for crafts and activities. Creating an outdoor trail for kids to follow is one way to have fun with pine cones.

Using pine cones to create the trail provides a unique sensory and gross motor play opportunity for early learners.

If you don't have pine cones available in nature, you can usually find them in a department store or craft store, or purchase online.

Related: Pine cones in the sandbox

Pine cone trail activity


Pine cone trail activity for outdoor play with toddlers and preschoolers


Spread pine cones on the lawn in a long winding trail. Go around trees or bushes or other props in the yard.

Place a bucket or sand pail at the end of the trail. We ended our trail with a red beach pail and shovel under an apple tree in the yard.

After creating the trail, go back to the beginning and follow the pine cone trail!

When you reach the end of the trail, grab the pail and retrace your steps! Walk back along the trail, collecting pine cones in your pail as you go.

To extend the activity try using the sand shovel, or even tongs, to pick up the pine cones. 


Pine cone trail outdoor activity for toddlers and preschoolers

Use pine cones in crafts and activities

Note: We share a pin on our Pine Cones Pinterest board that explains how to clean natural pine cones for crafts and activities.

Math games
: count the pine cones; weigh pine cones; sort by size

Observation: talk about the color and texture of the pine cones

Sensory play: add pine cones to the sand bin

Craft activity: decorate with pine cones

Play and learn: introduce interesting facts about pine cones with science activities


Toddler and preschool outdoor trail activity with pine cones


More pine cone activities from kid bloggers!

Pinecone Bats from Fireflies and Mudpies

Pinecone Winter Owls from Easy Peasy and Fun

Pinecone Pals from Sunshine Whispers

Pine Cone Science Experiment from Lemon Lime Adventures



Pine cones in the Sandbox

Sandbox activity with pine cones for preschoolers


 Pine Cone Ornament

Decorated pine cone ornament




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