Pine Cone Trees Preschool Activity
Kids can make a small world forest with pine cones and play dough. The pine cone trees can be arranged in different ways on the play dough 'forest floor'. This winter themed activity supports fine motor and sensory skills through imaginative play.
Play dough and pine cones go together perfectly in this winter sensory activity.
- Pine cones are fun to collect on a nature walk, but they can also be purchased online. The cones are sturdy and very versatile, making them easy to use in different ways. It's a good idea to clean natural cones before using in kids activities.
Related: Pine cone trail outdoor activity
- Use either homemade or store-bought play dough for this activity. You'll find recipes for homemade play dough on my Play Dough Pinterest board.
Pine cone forest activity
A small forest is easy to create with pine cones. The cones resemble cute little trees and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
The cones can easily be supported, and moved around, in a play dough base.
The play dough is smooth in contrast to the prickly feel of the pine cones, giving texture and dimension to the pretend play forest.
The textures and colors of the pine cones and play dough together provide a variety of sensory experiences for early learners.
Supplies for forest small world play
Along with play dough and pine cones, you'll need a variety of materials to complete your small world scene.
These can be items you have on hand or can easily make including:
- cotton balls
- pom poms
- artificial greenery
- paper snowflakes from a detailed hole punch
- small animals or figures
You can also crunch up small pieces of aluminum foil to make ice or frozen snow, and use chenille stems or bits of yarn for added texture.
Prepare a base for the wooded area by flattening the play dough to the desired thickness, either with a rolling pine or simply by pressing the dough with fingers and hands (great for strengthening fine motor muscles!).
The base doesn't have to be flat - it can be thick and lumpy in places.
Arrange - and rearrange! - the pine cone trees, ice and snowballs.
Sprinkle paper snowflakes from the hole punch onto the trees. You don't have to glue the snowflakes - they can be removed and sprinkled over the trees and base again.
Add animals or figures to the small world play. These little wooden characters look cozy with their chenille stem scarves!
The character on the left is building a snowman!
If you prefer, you can decorate the trees with paper confetti or glitter and place a craft foam star on the top.
Kids can explore winter in the woods with this simple pine cone trees hands-on activity.
The trees and accessories can be removed from the play dough base in order for the play dough to be stored in a sealed container.
Visit our Winter Season on Pinterest for more crafts and activities