Rainforest Art

Rain Forest Product Collage

You will need:

Construction Paper, glue, paintbrushes, coffee, tea leaves (from inside tea bags), sugar.

Place the items out for the children to smell and explore. Let them paint glue to construction paper and sprinkle these items onto the glue.

(We use recycled items– for example, I am quite the coffee drinker, so after brewing coffee, I place the grinds in a shallow container to dry overnight and use them for this project. I also open up the used tea bags with the children to see what is in them and use them for this project.).

Emergent Layer Art Ideas

Handprint Tree Tops

Put out green, yellow and white finger-paint for the children to use to create different shades of green. Hang their creations on the tops of the walls for the tops of trees. You can also hang brown paper on the wall below them to create tree trunks.

Painting with Trees

Roll a newspaper page, starting at one corner, to the other corner. Tape in place once rolled. Peel sections of paper from edge (like peeling a banana). Do this to a few sections and use them to paint with. When done painting, you can hang not only the children’s paintings, but their freshly painted newspaper trees (they may look more like ferns!)

Coffee Filter Butterflies

You will need; round coffee filters, markers, colored pipe cleaners, spray bottles with water.

Let children decorate filters as little or as much as they want with the markers. When done, spray with water bottle and watch the colors run, mix and create new colors. Let dry overnight. Pinch coffee filters in middle so that they resemble a bow-tie shape, wrap pipe cleaner around and leave ends out to look like antennae (I did this part as my children are very young, but they do like trying!). You can hang them from the ceilings with clear fishing line and paper clips (I actually clipped the paper clips to the curtains as well). Be sure to write the child’s name on the filter in pen somewhere prior to doing this activity if you wish to send them home!

Rain Forest Mural

Have children paint a shower curtain in bright colors. When dry, hang on a wall for a great Rain Forest Background or Bulletin Board!

Canopy Layer Art Ideas

Cheetahs and Jaguars hang out on branches of trees in the Rain Forest looking for their prey!

Give children yellow and orange construction paper, scissors, black paint and 2 wiggley-eyes to create their own. Instruct them on how to make thumbprints (or index prints) onto the paper.

(I prefer process art over pre-cutting the shapes, but you could do that as well).

WOW! Look at those LEAVES!

After reviewing Rain Forest Books, put out different white construction paper, sponges and green paint (many different shades) for creating leaves.

Create a Creature

Place out miscellaneous arts and crafts items you have: scrap paper, sequins, feathers, etc., and glue and have the children create their own creature. When done they can name it and give you a description that you can write on a card to hand on or place near their creature.

Hanging Toucans

Don’t know what to do with all those extra CD’s that come in the mail from certain internet providers?!! Think know more! Ask parents to donate them to you.

Give them to the children with feathers, glue and wiggle eyes and you’ll have some great looking toucans!

The third layer of the Rain Forest is the Understory. It is pretty much the part you would see when walking through! There are much flora and fauna to see!


Have children decorate white construction paper with crayons or markers. Then cut one long edge of the paper with those crazy edged scissors. Cut a second one a little narrower than the first (one strip should be about 1 inch wide and the other more than an inch). Fit the large one into a paper cup, fit the next one on the outside of the first. Put some water in the paper cup and place a plastic frog in there.

Let the children know that Bromeliads are very helpful to frogs. When they fill up with rain, mother frogs carry their tadpoles on their backs to a bromeliad, and put them in. They stay there until they turn into frogs. She only puts one tadpole into a flower.

Forest Animal Sponge painting

Using animal sponges, paint onto white paper and hang when dry.

The 4th and final layer of the Rain Forest is the Forest Floor…home to many preschoolers’ favorite things…Insects and Bugs!

Egg Carton Caterpillars

Paint egg cartons and add pipe cleaners for legs and antennae.


Paint Paper plates with red paint that is mixed with a little bit of white glue. Give the children a hole puncher to punch holes into black paper to stick on their ladybugs.


Make snakes as many ways as you can think of! Stuff old socks and glue on fabric and wiggle or felt eyes.

Twist long strips of brown paper grocery bags. Paint Green…let dry. Paint again with other colors for stripes, glue on a tongue and eyes cut out by the children.

Use your favorite clay recipe and let the children develop their muscles while rolling out a snake. Bake the clay and paint the next day.

Instead of using pins or nails in the rain sticks, for our VBS we filled the tubes with styrofoam packing peanuts and then added rice or popcorn. The effect is very good and there’s no danger from the pins or nails.