Painting with Pine Needles

Painting with Pine Needles: Explore pine needles for a different painting experience and fine motor practice!
 (E was 33 months old.)

We get huge piles of pine needles all over our backyard after every storm.

After a recent outdoor painting activity that didn’t really catch E’s attention, we were left with a bowl of paint that I didn’t want to just wash away.

Looking around the backyard for inspiration, I started wondering if you can paint with pine needles. So we gave it a try!


You’ll need:


I taped a sheet of paper to the bench on the patio, placed a handful of pine needles into a separate bowl, put the paint bowl next to it, and let E explore.



E turned this into more of a “painting pine needles” activity using the paper simply as a spot to place the pine needles when she was done with them, rather than painting with pine needles as I’d envisioned it.

The colors had already started getting mixed during the previous activity, and I loved the look it gave the pine needles.



E started breaking the pine needles into small pieces and tried dunking them into the paint.



She came away with paint on her fingers and asked for a towel.



By the time I got back with the towel, this is what I found – I guess she really wanted to make it worth my while 😉



Undeterred, she went back to breaking the pine needles and now simply dumped the pieces into the paint.



When she was finished, she showed it by going ahead and rolling up the paper so the pine needles ended up inside 😉



Ever since, I’ve been wondering what in the world we could do with painted pine needles, as I thought they turned out pretty cool!



And yes, you can actually paint with them, too, I tested it myself 😉


What I learned:

  • E focused more on the fine motor aspect of this activity than the art, and that was just fine.
  • You can indeed paint pine needles and/or paint with them.


What do you think we should do with painted pine needles? Have you tried painting with natural materials? Tell me about it in the comments!




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  1. E looked like he enjoyed the experience. My kids love playing with stuff they find on the ground in garden. Lately, it’s been all about rocks. Thanks for sharing this at the Kids Co-Op. I’ll be featuring this post in my Outdoor Play Roundup. xo P

    1. Natural items are so much fun! Thank you for the feature, can’t wait to see the post 🙂