Embracing the Colors of Autumn: Art Lesson Plan Ideas for Fall

Explore creative autumn art lesson plans for teachers. From leaf printing to harvest-inspired still life, discover engaging projects to celebrate the beauty of fall.


As the leaves turn vibrant hues of red, gold, and orange, nature itself becomes a canvas of artistic inspiration. Autumn, with its crisp air and rich, warm colors, provides the perfect backdrop for creative exploration in the classroom. For educators, this season offers a golden opportunity to infuse art lessons with the magic of fall.

In this guide, we’ll embark on a journey through a curated collection of autumn-themed art lesson plans tailored for teachers. From leaf printing to harvest-inspired still life, each project is designed to celebrate the unique beauty that autumn bestows upon us. These hands-on activities not only foster creativity but also connect students with the wonders of the natural world.

So, grab your brushes and gather your students; it’s time to dive into the world of autumn artistry. Let’s inspire young minds to capture the essence of this enchanting season through their own creative expressions.

Leaf Printing and Stenciling

Autumn’s most iconic symbols are the myriad of leaves that paint the landscape with their brilliant shades. Harnessing the beauty of these natural forms, leaf printing and stenciling offer a captivating entry point into the world of seasonal artistry.

Materials Needed:

  • Fresh, sturdy leaves of various shapes and sizes
  • Acrylic or water-based paints in autumnal colors
  • Paintbrushes or sponge applicators
  • Clean sheets of paper or fabric
  • Optional: Craft paper for stencils, scissors, masking tape

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Leaf Selection: Encourage students to select a variety of leaves, each with distinct shapes and textures. Maple, oak, and birch leaves are particularly popular choices.
  2. Preparation: Lay out the chosen leaves on a flat surface. If stenciling, help students create simple stencils by placing a leaf on craft paper and carefully tracing its outline.
  3. Applying Paint: Pour small amounts of paint onto shallow trays. Instruct students to dip their brushes or sponges into the paint, ensuring an even coat.
  4. Leaf Printing: Gently press the painted side of a leaf onto the paper or fabric. Encourage students to experiment with different color combinations and overlaying leaves for intricate patterns.
  5. Stenciling: For stenciling, secure the stencil over the paper with masking tape. Apply paint within the stencil, then carefully lift it to reveal the leaf shape.
  6. Exploring Textures: Invite students to notice and appreciate the unique textures of the leaves as they print. Encourage them to experiment with different pressures and angles.


  • Layered Landscapes: Incorporate leaf prints into an autumn landscape, using them to depict trees, bushes, or scattered foliage.
  • Leaf Patterns on Fabric: Extend the activity to fabric, allowing students to create personalized autumn-themed textiles.

Leaf printing and stenciling not only yield beautiful results but also instill an appreciation for the intricate details found in nature. This exercise encourages students to observe and celebrate the distinctive features of autumn leaves, bringing a touch of the outdoors into their artistic endeavors.

Harvest-inspired Still Life

Autumn’s bountiful harvest provides a rich tapestry of textures, colors, and shapes that can serve as compelling subjects for still life compositions. This lesson plan invites students to explore the art of observation and portrayal, capturing the essence of the season’s abundance.

Materials Needed:

  • Assorted harvest items (pumpkins, gourds, apples, corn, etc.)
  • Fabric or textured backdrop
  • Natural or artificial lighting sources
  • Drawing or painting materials (pencils, charcoal, pastels, acrylics, etc.)
  • Easels or sturdy surfaces for arranging objects

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Gathering Objects: Begin by introducing a variety of harvest items. Encourage students to examine the unique shapes, colors, and textures of each.
  2. Choosing a Composition: Guide students in arranging their chosen items on the backdrop. Encourage them to consider balance, focal points, and negative space.
  3. Setting the Scene: Experiment with lighting to create shadows and highlights that enhance the depth and dimension of the still life.
  4. Observation and Sketching: Instruct students to carefully observe their chosen composition. Encourage them to start with a preliminary sketch, capturing the basic shapes and proportions.
  5. Adding Detail: As they progress, students can refine their sketches, paying attention to intricate details, such as the ridges on a pumpkin or the shine on an apple.
  6. Choosing Mediums: Depending on their preference and skill level, students can choose to work with pencils, charcoal, pastels, or paints to render their still life.
  7. Adding Personal Touches: Encourage students to infuse their own style and creativity into the piece. This might involve exaggerating certain features or adding imaginative elements.


  • Encourage Patience: Remind students that capturing a still life requires patience and attention to detail. Encourage them to take their time.
  • Experiment with Perspective: Encourage students to experiment with different angles and perspectives to add interest to their compositions.


  • Mixed Media Collage: Incorporate elements of collage by using real harvest materials like dried leaves or husks in combination with drawing or painting.
  • Digital Still Life: For more advanced students, consider exploring digital art software to create a harvest-inspired still life.

A harvest-inspired still life not only celebrates the season’s abundance but also hones students’ observational skills and artistic techniques. It encourages them to appreciate the intricate details of everyday objects and translate them into visually striking compositions.

Ready to LOVE and Focus your Art Teaching Job? The truth is that better classroom systems will not only help you feel happier and more relaxed, and in more control, but they will help you free up time and energy that you can spend on the things your WANT to do. If you're struggling to know where to begin to transform your art teaching life to calm, clear, and focused, then my Art Teacher Focused Guide is the step for you! It will show you how to: ✔️Develop Your Art Teacher Flavor ✔️Create systems for organizing and productivity ✔️Establish a Classroom Community ✔️Develop new strategies for classroom management ✔️Create a creativity and choice driven classroom

Autumn Landscape Painting

Autumn landscapes, with their warm, golden hues and crisp, clear skies, provide a stunning backdrop for artistic expression. This lesson plan invites students to immerse themselves in the beauty of the season, capturing the essence of autumn in their own painted masterpiece.

Materials Needed:

  • Canvas or sturdy art paper
  • Paints (acrylics or watercolors) in autumnal shades (reds, oranges, yellows, browns)
  • Brushes of various sizes (flat, round, fine detail)
  • Water cups and palettes for mixing colors
  • Paper towels or rags for cleanup

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Inspiration Gathering: Begin by showcasing examples of autumn landscapes, discussing the colors, shapes, and moods that define the season.
  2. Choosing a Composition: Encourage students to envision their own autumn landscape. They might draw from real-life scenes or let their imagination run wild.
  3. Blocking in Colors: Start with the background. Instruct students to use broad strokes to establish the sky and distant elements. Encourage the use of warm, earthy tones.
  4. Mid-ground and Foreground: Guide students in gradually building up layers of detail, moving from the mid-ground (trees, fields) to the foreground (grass, leaves, etc.).
  5. Play with Perspective: Encourage students to experiment with perspective, capturing the sense of depth and distance in their landscape.
  6. Highlighting Autumnal Elements: Emphasize the distinct features of autumn, such as the vibrant foliage, fallen leaves, and the play of light and shadow.
  7. Fine Details and Texture: Encourage students to add finer details like tree bark, individual leaves, or the texture of the ground.
  8. Reflection and Evaluation: Take time for reflection. Discuss the choices made in the painting process and how they contribute to the overall mood and atmosphere.


  • Blending Techniques: Teach students how to blend colors to achieve smooth transitions, particularly in the sky and areas with changing light.
  • Experiment with Brush Strokes: Encourage students to use different brush techniques to create varied textures, like stippling for leaves or dry brushing for tree bark.


  • Palette Knife Technique: For advanced students, introduce the use of palette knives to create textured effects, such as tree trunks or rocky terrain.
  • Collaborative Mural: Turn the project into a collaborative effort, where each student paints a section of the landscape, creating a cohesive masterpiece.

Autumn landscape painting offers students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of the season, honing their skills in color mixing, perspective, and texture. It encourages them to observe and appreciate the nuances of nature, translating them into a vivid and evocative artwork.

Paper Plate Scarecrow Craft

Bring a touch of whimsy to the autumn art classroom with this delightful paper plate scarecrow craft. This hands-on activity not only encourages creativity but also allows students to explore the playful side of seasonal art.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper plates
  • Acrylic paints or markers in assorted colors
  • Brushes or markers for detailing
  • Construction paper (for hats, clothes, and accessories)
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Googly eyes (optional)
  • Straw or yarn (for hair, optional)

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Creating the Scarecrow Base:
    • Provide each student with a paper plate. This will serve as the scarecrow’s face.
  2. Painting or Coloring:
    • Encourage students to paint or color the paper plate with their desired skin tone for the scarecrow’s face. They can also add rosy cheeks for a touch of charm.
  3. Adding Facial Features:
    • Students can attach googly eyes or draw eyes and a mouth onto the paper plate. This is where the scarecrow’s personality begins to emerge.
  4. Designing Clothes and Accessories:
    • Provide construction paper in various colors for students to cut out clothes, a hat, and other accessories for their scarecrow. They can get creative with patterns and designs.
  5. Assembling the Scarecrow:
    • Have students glue their chosen clothing and accessories onto the paper plate to create the scarecrow’s outfit.
  6. Personalizing with Details:
    • Encourage students to add fine details with markers or small pieces of construction paper. This could include buttons, patches, or even a straw hatband.
  7. Adding Hair:
    • If desired, students can attach strands of straw or yarn to the top of the scarecrow’s head to create a playful hairstyle.
  8. Reflection and Presentation:
    • Provide a moment for students to reflect on their scarecrow creations. They can share what inspired their design choices and how they brought their scarecrow to life.


  • Encourage Creativity: Remind students that there’s no right or wrong way to design a scarecrow. Encourage them to let their imaginations run wild.
  • Provide Inspiration: Show examples of different scarecrow designs to inspire creativity, from traditional scarecrows to whimsical and quirky ones.


  • Scarecrow Family: Encourage students to create multiple scarecrows, each with its own unique personality, to form a “scarecrow family” display.
  • Storytelling Activity: Have students write a short story or poem about their scarecrow, imagining its adventures in the autumn fields.

The paper plate scarecrow craft not only sparks creativity but also celebrates the playful spirit of autumn. It allows students to transform a simple paper plate into a charming scarecrow character, showcasing their individual style and artistic flair.

Autumn Poetry and Art Integration

Combine the magic of words with the vivid strokes of a paintbrush in this integrated lesson plan. Autumn poetry and art integration offers a unique opportunity for students to express the beauty and emotions of the season through both written and visual forms.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper or notebooks for writing poetry
  • Paints, brushes, and canvases or sturdy art paper
  • Writing utensils (pencils, pens, markers)
  • Optional: Watercolors or other preferred painting medium

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Exploring Autumn Themes:
    • Begin by discussing the themes and imagery commonly associated with autumn. Encourage students to brainstorm words and emotions evoked by the season.
  2. Writing Autumn Poetry:
    • Provide students with writing materials and invite them to compose autumn-themed poems. Encourage creativity and expression, emphasizing sensory details and emotions.
  3. Translating Poetry into Art:
    • Instruct students to select a line or stanza from their poem that resonates with them. This will serve as the inspiration for their artwork.
  4. Creating Visual Interpretations:
    • Using their chosen lines as a starting point, students should paint or illustrate a scene that captures the essence of their poem. Encourage them to incorporate colors, shapes, and textures that mirror the emotions conveyed in their writing.
  5. Reflecting on Artistic Choices:
    • After completing their artwork, ask students to reflect on the artistic decisions they made. How did they translate their poem into visual form? What elements did they prioritize?
  6. Pairing Poetry with Art:
    • Display the written poems alongside the corresponding artworks. Encourage students to observe how words and visuals complement and enhance each other.
  7. Group Discussion and Sharing:
    • Arrange a group discussion where students can share their poems and artworks. Encourage them to articulate the connections between their written and visual expressions.


  • Encourage Symbolism: Encourage students to incorporate symbolic elements in their artwork that reflect the themes and emotions of their poetry.
  • Experiment with Mediums: Allow students to choose their preferred painting medium, whether it’s acrylics, watercolors, or mixed media. This adds a personal touch to their creations.


  • Collaborative Poem and Artwork: Have students work in pairs, with one student writing a poem and the other creating the accompanying artwork. This fosters collaboration and shared creativity.
  • Multimedia Presentation: Invite students to present their poems and artworks in a multimedia format, incorporating readings, images, and even music to enhance the experience.

Autumn poetry and art integration offer a dynamic platform for self-expression, allowing students to explore the intersection of language and visual imagery. This multi-dimensional approach encourages a deeper appreciation for both artistic forms and fosters a holistic understanding of the creative process.

Additional Art Lesson Resources

Additional Resources

For further inspiration and ready-to-use lesson plans, consider exploring the following resources:

  1. Ms Artastic’s TeachersPayTeachers Store: Ms Artastic offers a wide range of autumn-themed art lesson plans, worksheets, and resources that are designed to engage and inspire students.
  2. Artastic Kids Website: Artastic Kids provides a treasure trove of creative ideas, tutorials, and printable resources for young artists. Explore their collection of autumn-themed projects for a wealth of seasonal inspiration.

These resources offer a wealth of carefully curated materials to enhance your autumn art curriculum. Whether you’re seeking innovative lesson plans or printable activities, these platforms are a valuable asset to any art teacher’s toolkit. Happy creating!

Grab Ready-Made Autumn Art Resources

Unlock the Colors of Autumn with Our Fully Planned Art Resources!


As the autumn leaves dance in the crisp breeze and the golden sunlight bathes the world in warmth, our classrooms have transformed into vibrant studios of creativity. Through these carefully crafted lesson plans, we’ve embarked on a journey of artistic exploration, capturing the essence of this enchanting season.

From the intricate beauty of leaf printing to the playful charm of paper plate scarecrows, each activity has invited students to engage with autumn in a deeply personal way. We’ve witnessed landscapes come to life with the strokes of a brush, and heard the whispers of autumn in the verses of their poetry. Through integrated experiences, we’ve bridged the gap between words and visual expression, discovering the powerful synergy between poetry and art.

As teachers, we’ve not only nurtured creativity but also fostered an appreciation for the natural world and the emotions it evokes. We’ve witnessed students translate the colors, textures, and moods of autumn into their own masterpieces, each one a testament to their unique perspectives and talents.

But the beauty of these lessons extends beyond the classroom walls. These creations serve as snapshots of this fleeting season, frozen in time through the eyes and hands of our students. They remind us that art is not confined to the studio, but is a celebration of the world around us, a means of capturing the fleeting moments that make life so rich and beautiful.

So, as the autumn leaves continue their graceful descent and the world prepares for winter’s embrace, let us carry with us the memories of these artistic journeys. Let us continue to seek inspiration in the world around us and encourage our students to do the same. For in every leaf print, every stroke of the brush, and every carefully chosen word, we find the essence of autumn’s magic, forever preserved in the artistry of our students.

Want FREE Art Lessons for your Classroom or Homeschool Program?

Find FREE art lessons to help educators and homeschool parents plan the year efficiently with art resources that teach the curriculum and engage students with interesting content and art techniques. You can find all Ms Artastic FREE art lessons in one, easy to access spot and they’re all organized by seasons/times of the school year, and by holidays. Find the resources by clicking here.

Find FREE art lessons to help educators and homeschool parents plan the year efficiently with art resources that teach the curriculum and engage students with interesting content and art techniques. You can find all Ms Artastic FREE art lessons in one, easy to access spot and they're all organized by seasons/times of the school year, and by holidays. Find the resources by clicking here.

Teaching Art to Kids: Understanding and Implementing the Elements of Art
Art is a form of expression that allows individuals to convey their …
Engaging and Interactive Ways to Teach the Elements of Art to Kids
Art is a crucial part of education that promotes creativity, critical thinking, …
How to Create a Kid-Friendly Art Space in Your Home
Transform your home into a haven for budding artists! Discover expert tips …
The Ultimate Guide to Teaching the Elements of Art to Kids at Home
As parents and caregivers, we all want to provide our children with …

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply