Create an easy Christmas countdown with this adorable DIY pine tree lot scene! | via barley & birch
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Make: A Mini Pine Tree Farm Holiday Sensory Activity

A little more than a month to Christmas and I’ve been hoarding advent calender inspiration! I’m rarely organized enough to get 25 little gifts together for so many of the cute advent calendars I lust over on Pinterest, so I opted for something uniquely versatile instead…

This snowy little Christmas tree farm scene doubles as a sensory-filled wintry experience for little ones AND an easy countdown to Christmas.

Create an easy Christmas countdown with this adorable DIY pine tree lot scene! | via barley & birch
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As a holiday season bonus, this was both relaxing and fun to build together. We really enjoyed scouting the neighborhood for different types of pinecones for our “tree” varieties, and planning out the little details. Once painted, we toassed our pinecones with a few drops of cedar oil for easy sensory-stimulating winter play! And adding a dusting of fresh powder at the end was the cherry on our snow-covered sundae.

Create an easy Christmas countdown with this adorable DIY pine tree lot scene! | via barley & birch
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There is no wrong way to make this, and the process of imagining your own little scene and making it come to life is pure magic! The fun is all in the experimentation, finding new ways to play with natural materials, and building a tiny world together.

Take a little tour around our tiny Christmas tree farm!

Pair this activity with some read-alouds from our favorite picture books about Christmas trees for a cozy afternoon of fun on the pine tree farm!

To make your own mini pine tree farm Christmas countdown you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

BASIC SUPPLIES:

  • Pinecones
  • Paint and a brush
  • A small cardboard gift box
  • Twigs and/or paper straws
  • Chalkboard paint (like this)
  • A glue gun
  • A few small balls of clay or playdough
  • Cotton or faux snow (I used this kind because it’s non-toxic and biodegradable)

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:

  • Moss, evergreen sprigs, or other natural decoration
  • Cedar oil or similar (for scent)
  • A string of fairy lights (like these)
  • A chalk pen (I used this kind)
  • Plastic gloves (for paint-dipped pinecones)

Pine Tree Farm DIY Christmas Countdown Instructions:

  1. Collect natural materials

    We used sticks, twigs, and pinecones, but you can collect and use anything you like!

    As we collected our pinecones, we noticed there were so many different types – right in our backyard! With our selection of three different kinds, we were able to make a few different types of “trees”.

  2. Paint and scent your pinecones

    We used three different colors for our three different “pine varieties” but you can use as many or as few as you want! This is a great opportunity to talk and learn about different kinds of coniferous trees.

    Paint your pinecones
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    You can use a brush to paint your pinecones, but we dipped ours in a jar filled with paint, using our (plastic-glove-covered!) hands to push the paint into some of the nooks and crannies.

    Finish off your pinecones by scenting with cedar oil. Toss in a bag with about 10 drops of cedar oil (or whatever scent you prefer).

  3. Make a vendor’s stand for your countdown

    The adorable little stand we made isn’t just there to look cute…it’s your Christmas countdown!

    Cut a small, sturdy gift box in half, then use hot glue to cover the front of the box with small twigs cut to the length of the box. Hot glue two twigs to each side at the front.

    Make your vendor stand with a cardboard box and twigs
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    Cut a piece of cereal box the same length as your box and paint with chalkboard paint. Once dry, glue sticks along the edge, then use a chalk marker to add your countdown text and the numbered countdown.

  4. Add Christmas-y details!

    We made a little truck from cardstock and a long, thin cardboard jewelry box (perfect for toting pine trees). And a pine tree lot is never complete without a small stack of logs for cozy winter fires!

    Add details like a truck, twinkle lights or log bundles to your winter scene.
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  5. Arrange candy-striped poles on your cardboard base

    We had some paper straws that created the perfect poles to define our Christmas tree lot. You could use sticks or painted twigs though too! We stuck our straws into small mounds of clay – this gives them a nice solid base to help them stand and hold them upright.

    Add some candy-striped paper straws for light poles
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    We hung a tiny string of paper lights, but how cute would this look with some actual fairy lights strung up from pole to pole?

  6. Build your scene by adding the pinecone trees, stand and more

    Time to begin building your scene! As with our paper straw poles, some of our pinecones needed a small clay base to stand upright. Arrange and re-arrange all of your mini elements for some fun small world play!

  7. Just add snow!

    We thought we’d cover up a bit of the cardboard AND make this DIY a full sensory experience by adding a layer of faux snow. The kind we found (linked in the supply list) was INCREDIBLY fun to watch expand and play around with!

    Add some faux snow for extra sensory stimulation and play!
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    Don’t forget to add some little “footprints” through the snow with your fingertips!

This is honestly one of the most enchanting small world activities we’ve ever made. Maybe in part because there’s just something so special about this time of year. With the Christmas playlist on repeat and an early snow falling, we cozied up around the kitchen table and just played.

Create an easy Christmas countdown with this adorable DIY pine tree lot scene! | via barley & birch
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If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll probably recognize this little scene as part of our #Craftmas celebration this year. For more details, be sure to visit our DIY for a simple twig and pinecone holiday hanger. Then hop over to our nature-inspired menorah – for a kid-safe, colorful celebration of lights!

Create an easy Christmas countdown with this adorable DIY pine tree lot scene! | via barley & birch
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Looking for a few low-stress activities to keep younger kids entertained? Download our gingerbread & snowman playdough mats for easy and creative sensory play. Or cut out a set of 5-minute felt counting houses to combine with these winter-themed counting, sorting and fine motor skill activities.

Create an easy Christmas countdown with this adorable DIY pine tree lot scene! | via barley & birch
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*A note about Amazon affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click-through to make a purchase, we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Create an easy Christmas countdown with this adorable DIY pine tree lot scene that doubles as a fun kids sensory activity! | via barley & birch
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Create an easy Christmas countdown with this adorable DIY pine tree lot scene that doubles as a fun kids sensory activity! | via barley & birch
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About Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help families discover their creative potential and be inspired to make the world a better place through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. When not playing with ideas, designs and projects for barley & birch, Amanda enjoys working as a modern art curator and managing her own small design business.

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