The irony of fall is that it’s a time of new beginnings (school, sports, activities) in the midst of a dying season. The brilliant greens and colors of summer begin to fade into the browns, grays, oranges and yellows of fall trees. What better way to celebrate the season (as opposed to mourning the loss of summer) than with fall painting crafts for kids? This specific painting activity is even better because it is no mess painting perfect for fall!

Fall mess-free painting for kids.

Recommended Grade Level:

Leaf Sensory Painting Supplies:

  • Cardstock Paper
  • Gallon Freezer Bag
  • Masking Tape
  • Red and Yellow Paint
  • Leaf Template

The Fall Leaf No Mess Painting in a Bag is ideal if you’re a fan of mess free painting. This easy fall craft provides a wonderful sensory experience for toddlers and preschoolers alike. It fits well with other fall-themed activities like a nature walk, leaf collections, or jack o lantern carving.

Painting with Toddlers and Preschoolers

Although it can get messy, painting with toddlers and preschoolers is an important developmental activity. It strengthens fine motor skills, develops and improves visual discrimination and allows kids to express themselves creatively.

Many preschool themes incorporate art projects as an integral part of the learning activities. Sometimes painting is overlooked simply because of the mess.

Paint in a bag activities are brilliant because they provide a great sensory and fine motor experience without the mess. Young children can delve into the magic of color mixing and blending without destroying their clothes, the furniture, or who knows what else.

Incorporating fall crafts for kids, like no mess painting, into preschool activities provides opportunities to learn about any theme through a variety of hands-on experiences. Students can strengthen their grip by cutting, grasping, stroking, sliding, pinching and more.

Offering creative activities like painting also helps teach young children a positive way to cope with emotions, impulses, and feelings.

How to Make the Fall Leaf Painting in a Bag

Supplies for mess free painting for kids activity.

How To:

  • Trace the template of your choosing onto card stock/construction paper and cut from the inside of the shape to the outside line.
  • Squeeze paint into the gallon freezer bag and seal, ensuring all the air is pressed out. TIP: Use 2 or 3 colors only to avoid over mixing.
Red and yellow paint in an open gallon zip top bag.
  • Tape the template over the freezer bag. TIP: You might want to also tape the bag to the table to avoid slipping.
Red and yellow paint in a leaf shape for sensory painting.
  • Show children how to move the paint around by pressing and sliding their fingers on top of the freezer bag to create a colorful design.
Leaf mess free painting for kids.

Although much of the prep work for this kid craft must be done by an adult, the result is a mess free finger paint experience your young learners will love.

More Painting Ideas for Kids

There are many other fun fall activities and autumn crafts to celebrate the season. Consider painting pumpkins or real fall leaves for experiences with different textures. Dip corn cobs into paint and roll onto paper.

Create leaf art by gluing leaves together to create bigger shapes.

Experiment with more toddler mess free painting by using other seasonal shapes or numbers, letters, and geometric shapes.

Spice up sensory painting in a bag by adding glitter, small beads, googly eyes, or other small objects.

Other sensory painting ideas include using bubble wrap, ice cubes, noodles, or potatoes.

Find even more engaging activities in the Life Over C’s shop!

Fall sensory painting with leaf shapes for kids.
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author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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