Acorn Buddies. Creative, Miniature Painting for Kids

May 5, 2013

We've been exploring nature in various forms and today we decided to turn our acorns into little Acorn Buddies to use in pretend play and in a fun maths game.

This creative activity had us painting in miniature and working on a different scale than we're used to. 
This required concentration, coordination and practiced our fine-motor skills.

Ages: 3+
(See the Handy Tips at the bottom to simplify or extend for your child. M is 4y/o here)

Materials: Acorns (and the caps), Paint (we used Micador Acrylics), toothpicks/snack picks, glue & googly eyes (optional)
recommended: modelling clay/bluetac/playdough etc to stick the acorns in to dry.

To make holding and painting the acorns easier I stuck them onto some snack picks. 
They were harder to pierce than expected so some I had to pierce with something sharper first so as not to snap the picks.

Rather than using small brushes (which you could use instead) we painted using the picks
This made it even more fun, different and interesting for us.

Generally we stuck the eyes on first and then painted the rest.

It was delightful to see the concentration in Maddie's face as she created.

I join in wherever I can. (I don't want to miss the fun either!)
We have the best conversations when we create side-by-side

Sticking on eyes requires coordination and fine motor skills

Time to paint the acorn caps for the little hats

We marvelled at how every cap was that little bit different from the next

I couldn't resist making a glitter one.

Stick them into your modelling clay to dry, display and play.

Dress them up in their little hats

This little man and hat of Maddie's is my favourite

The alien acorn looked very fancy in his glitter hat

Make some Acorn Buddies and hats today.

Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by using a small brush to paint with. For little kids, just sticking on eyes will be challenging enough. You could drop the acorns into different coloured paint and roll them around before sticking on eyes.

- Extend this activity in many ways:
  • Have children make up a story using their Acorn Buddies. 
  • They could write or draw the story 
  • Act out a story using their props for Imaginative Play
  • Make a house or environment for their buddies to live in out of natural and recycled materials
  • Use your acorn buddies in a fun maths game

Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Use new language and descriptive words like, "miniature", "concentration", "decorate" "embellish" etc. This will help with their language development.

- Check out this post from Picklebums on the importance of collecting things with kids and for some more fun acorn ideas.

- Use the acorn caps on some gorgeous peg dolls like Happy Whimsical Hearts did.

- Or set up a gorgeous Autumn themed invitation to draw like An Everyday Story.

- Still feeling creative? Here are some of our other creative ideas for kids. 
(click on the pictures to go to the post)

imaginative play, activities for kids, robot activity, box activity art for kids, fun art, canvas art   craft, activity for kids, early literacy activity    kids art

Happy creating,
Debs :)

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  1. These are ADORABLE!
    I think we need to go collect even more acorns because when my kids see this they will HAVE to do it!

  2. Wow they look amazing!! I love hey they have little hats as well, so so cute!! My girls would love this.

  3. They are so fabulous! We have so many acorns lying around, so we will have to try this :)

  4. These are just so cute...and I love the concentration on Maddie's face...what a wonderful activity for her to really become engrossed in!

  5. They are the sweetest little things, aren't they, those little acorns? :) I really love the little caps especially. We've painted little caps and I think Jack will really like the little people. Always love a good excuse to find more acorns :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. What gorgeous little characters and you captured such special moments of Maddie creating her adorable acorn buddies. Elise @ Creative Play Central.

  8. Hehehe so very cute,
    Love the alien :-)

  9. Nawww, I love these! Sooo Cute, Gumnut babies, huh! Acorn babies, that's what I first thought when I saw them! How did you get acorns? I want some!

  10. I absolutely love this. The concentration and fine work your little girl is doing during this activity highlights the great learning that is achieved in doing such a fun task. The little decorated acorns look adorable and all children love petite things.

  11. Oh my how cute. Such a great way to practice hand eye coordination and fine motor skills.

  12. So fun! My year one students would love this and probably spend all day doing it!

  13. These turned out so cute!! Love the look of concentration too :-)

  14. And thanks so much for sharing our peg dolls xx

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