Looking for some simple winter crafts for kids? Try painting pinecones! Painting pinecones is a fun, open-ended art activity that preschoolers and kindergarteners love. Best of all, the kids get outside first to hunt for the pinecones, and you can turn that into its own adventure before heading inside to paint. Let’s get started!

child holding a painted pinecone, which is a simple winter craft for kids.

Why Paint Pinecones?

Pinecone painting blends nature, creativity, and sensory exploration. Here are some reasons why it’s a fantastic activity for your preschool or kindergarten child:

  • Painting pinecones provides a great opportunity for children to connect with nature. Kids never get tired of hunting for pinecones in the woods or backyard. The texture and structure of pinecones make them endlessly fascinating for them, and a unique surface to paint on, or stamp with on paper.
  • Pinecone painting is an open-ended activity that encourages creativity. There are no rules or predefined outcomes, allowing children to paint freely and follow wherever their imaginations go.
  • Holding a paintbrush, dipping it into paint, and carefully applying it to the pinecone surface all contribute to the development of fine motor skills. These small, precise movements are crucial for various aspects of early childhood development.
  • The tactile experience of handling pinecones, feeling the rough texture of the scales, and brushing on (or using fingers!) to apply squishy paint engages the sense of touch, providing a sensory-rich experience for kids.

If you enjoy this painting activity, try this snowman pinecone craft.

Simple winter crafts for kids : painting pinecones

Materials Needed:

  • Pinecones
  • Acrylic paint in various colors
  • Paintbrushes or sponge
  • Palette or paper plates for paint
  • Newspaper / tablecloth for mess control

Note: I did not clean off the pinecones before we used them, because they were going back outside with our other outside toys. If you are planning to keep them inside, you can clean them of any dirt, bugs, etc before painting.


  • Gather Pinecones: Take a nature walk with your child and collect pinecones.
  • Prepare the Painting Area: Lay down newspaper or a tablecloth to protect your work surface from paint. Set up a palette or paper plates with an array of paint colors, a small container of water, and brushes / sponge.
  • Experiment!: Stand back and enjoy watching your child try different techniques and plays with the pinecones. They may brush / sponge the paint on, dip the pinecone straight in the paint, break it into pieces and sprinkle it in the paint, etc.
  • Allow to Dry: Set aside the pinecones on a paper plate and allow to dry. Depending on how thick the paint is, you may have to turn it over a few times as it dries.

Tips for preschool painting projects:

  • Supervise and Assist: While this is a child-friendly activity, a little adult supervision is always advisable, especially when dealing with paint so it doesn’t end up on the floor.
  • Encourage Exploration: Let your child experiment with different brushes, color combinations, and painting techniques. The goal is to explore and enjoy the process.
  • Celebrate Individuality: Emphasize that each pinecone is unique, just like each child’s artistic expression. Celebrate their creativity!

Gathering and painting pinecones are simple winter crafts for kids that blend nature and creativity. It’s a hands-on sensory experience that preschoolers and kindergartener will love. So, let’s get a little messy, set out the paints, and watch as your child’s imagination take off, one pinecone at a time. Happy painting!

More open ended activities for kids

Backyard scavenger hunt

10 open ended art activities for preschoolers


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