Autumn Tree: Fun Fine Motor Activity for Preschoolers

This Autumn tree activity is a fun way to help preschoolers to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

In the early years, children need to work on developing their hand strength and fine motor skills in order to be able to write comfortably in the future. Rather than simply placing a pencil in your child’s hand and expecting them to write well and neatly, there are a whole multitude of activities that you can do first.

Alongside this Autumn tree activity, you will find many other ways to help your children with their fine motor skills on this blog. Once you’ve read this post, why not read this post about pre-writing skills?


the image shows a branch that has been used to create an Autumn tree using pompoms, beads and mini pegs

Why do Autumn fine motor activities?

Fine motor skills are really important, especially in the early years. There’s a number of activities that you can do at home with your toddler and preschoolers to help aid this, including this Autumn tree.

Whilst it is more than okay to repeat the same type of activities over and over again, sometimes it is fun to theme what you are doing to the season. In the case of Autumn, there are so many natural resources – such as mini pumpkins, conkers, sunflowers and pinecones – that can help aid the development of fine motor skills.

Here’s 4 reasons why it’s important to work on those fine motor skills:

  1. Foundation for Writing: Developing fine motor skills lays the groundwork for writing. Precise hand movements, such as holding a crayon or pencil, require well-developed fine motor skills. Strengthening these skills in early childhood prepares children for successful handwriting later on.
  2. Independence in Self-Care: Fine motor skills are crucial for self-care tasks like dressing, buttoning, zipping, and tying shoelaces. As children master these skills, they gain a sense of independence and confidence in taking care of themselves.
  3. Enhanced Concentration: Activities that engage fine motor skills often require focus and attention to detail. This concentration is transferable to academic tasks, enabling children to pay attention in school, follow instructions, and complete assignments more effectively.
  4. Problem-Solving and Creativity: Fine motor activities often involve problem-solving and creativity. Whether it’s figuring out how to manipulate small objects or creating intricate artwork, these skills foster critical thinking and imaginative expression.


Suggested resources to make an Autumn Tree

  • A wooden serving platter
  • A small glass or plastic jar
  • Clay or play dough
  • A branch – one with smaller twigs coming off of it, as shown in the photo above
  • Mini pegs
  • Beads
  • Pompoms
  • Scissors
  • String


How to set up the Autumn Tree activity

The key to making this Autumn tree activity inviting is in the presentation of the materials. You want to display the resources clearly so that your child can see what is on offer first.

For this activity, I set a plastic cup in the centre of a wooden serving platter. I then placed the branch into the cup and weighed it down with clay and beads (to prevent the branch from tipping).

In the compartments of the wooden platter, I provided a selection of beads, pompoms, string and pegs ready for the tree to be decorated.

A small pair of scissors was also placed out along with the other resources so that items could be hung from the Autumn tree.

Age Recommendations

Due to the small pieces used in this Autumn tree invitation, I recommend it’s use for children aged 4 and upwards. The small pegs and beads used could be frustrating for younger children who perhaps don’t yet have the fine motor skills needed to do this activity.

Take a look at the other blog posts on this page to find suitable activities for younger children. The post, 8 Simple Autumn Fine Motor Activities is a good place to start.

At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp

If you enjoyed this Autumn tree prompt and wanted to find more fun Autumn themed activities, check out the At Home Autumn Art & Sensory Camp in my membership group. If you would like to access the content, you can check it out here. 

This image shows a timetable for an Autumn art & sensory camp. The pumpkin hammer art is one of the activities included


Autumn Blog posts to read next:

You might also enjoy some of our other Autumn posts. Most are suitable for both toddlers and preschoolers:

Autumn Art Ideas for Preschoolers

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Mask

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story basket

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pre-writing skills  activity 

21 Autumn Ideas for the Entire Family

Autumn Activities for Kids: 25 Playful Prompts

Autumn Loose Parts Play

Autumn Preschool Leaf Cutting Tray

Apple Playdough Activity

Farm Playdough Ideas

Sunflower Sensory Play Activity 

Pumpkin Hammer Art 

Pumpkin Gloop 

Simple Autumn Sensory: Pumpkin soup

You can also search the keyword ‘Autumn’ in the blog search bar for the most up-to-date Autumn blog post listing.


Interested in learning more?

If you enjoyed this simple Autumn tree prompt and want to learn more about sensory play and the importance of play in the early years, you might just like my exclusive membership, ‘How I drink my Coffee Hot’ too. The membership costs just $5 per month and you get access to 10 mini courses on a range of topics including sensory play, play spaces and starting school. Here are some membership posts that you might enjoy:

Sensory Play Mini Course

Starting School Mini Course 

Play Space 101 Mini Course

Toys 101 Mini Course

Sian Thomas
an image of This Playful Home founder, Sian Thomas. The photo includes a photo of her daughter when she was around 18 months old

I’m Siân (rhymes with yarn), a play advocate, proud parent to three, and former teacher. My mission is to infuse more joy and less overwhelm into the lives of parents. Discover play-based activities with me that not only make learning FUN but also forge deep connections with your young learners, creating memories to cherish forever.