In areas with pine trees, the cones offer a free crafting material perfect for children to work with, but even if you live in a place without pines, these cones can be found in craft stores, ready to use for art projects and decorating. Crafting with kids and cones results in many project ideas for any time of the year.
Pine Cone Turkey
Create a turkey from a pine cone for a Thanksgiving project. Look for turkey head outlines or just glue plastic eyes and a felt beak to the pointed end of the pine cone. Have the children glue feathers to the flat side of the pine cone for the turkey's tail feathers. They can use these as decorative place markers for the holiday dinner by laying the pine cone on its side and inserting a place card between the spines on the top where the turkey's back would be.
Children can create their own bird feeders for their feathered friends using pine cones. Give the children plastic spoons to spread peanut butter over the entire outside of the pine cone, which they then roll in bird seed to cover. An adult should tie a string around the top of the pine cone for hanging from a tree outside.
Pine Cone Snowman
Even in areas where it does not snow, children can make their own snowman from a pine cone. Have the children glue cotton balls over the entire surface of the pine cone to resemble snow. Then offer them a selection of black felt circles or tiny buttons and sticks to glue onto the pine cone to make the face, buttons and arms of the snowman. They can use a piece of orange felt cut into a triangle shape for the carrot nose.
Have the children collect pine cones, feathers and decorative leaves. Tie one end of a string to the end of these and tie the opposite end to a clothes hanger to create a mobile with the children's findings from a nature walk or backyard excursion. Wrap a piece of paper around the top of the hanger and have the children decorate the paper with crayons or markers to personalize their nature mobiles. Use the hooked portion at the top of the hanger to suspend the mobile from the ceiling in a room for display.
Put the pine cones back onto a tree--your Christmas tree--by creating decorative holiday ornaments. Give the children paintbrushes and have them dip the brushes into craft glue to cover the outside of their pine cone with a layer of glue. Roll the pine cones in a plate of glitter and allow them to dry. Allow the children to further decorate their ornaments with ribbon, plastic craft beads or plastic jewels. Tie a loop of string to the top of the pine cone for suspending it on the Christmas tree.