October 18, 2017

Autumn conjures up warm, rich images full of colour and texture. There are so many beautiful photographs available that perfectly capture this time of year and these can be an interesting creative resource to use with children.  

So often, little ones are presented with simplified, cartoon like pictures that spread across packaging, magazines and worksheets. These have their place of course, but it is also good to offer imagery that is richer and more aesthetically pleasing. Photographs can stir feelings and stimulate the senses, making them a great jumping off point for imaginary play, creative writing and all sorts of making.



I have curated a collection of autumn images at Unsplash which is an amazing website full of professionally taken photographs, all available to use for free. Below I have chosen five of my favourites and suggested some ideas for using them with children of all ages. 


To use, simply click on your chosen photograph. You will be taken to the Unsplash website where you can download the image and print it out. 




  • Discuss the image - What is it? Why is it this colour? How does it make you feel? Where might it be? What might be out of camera shot?

  • Use as a play dough mat and add play dough flowers on top.

  • Print in greyscale and paint with watercolours.

  • Copy the image in pencil.

  • Write a story with one of the flowers as the main character.

  • Make a stem of flowers using pipe cleaners and brown tissue paper.




  • Discuss the image - Why might the basket be here? Who might it belong to? Why might it be empty? What might go inside?

  • Cut images of food from magazines and glue into the basket.

  • Write a shopping list for a woodland animal who is going shopping in the forest. 

  • Write a story where the basket belongs to the main character.

  • Make a basket using twigs or weave strips of paper.




  • Discuss the image - What might these biscuits taste like? Who might have made them? Who might eat them? What shapes can you recognise?

  • Use as a play dough mat and add play dough icing on top.

  • Draw on details in pen to make Halloween biscuit designs.

  • Copy the cat, witch, skull and ghost shapes onto card then cut out and decorate to make a spooky garland.

  • Write a scary story where one of the biscuits comes to life.




  • Discuss the image - What colours can you see? Who might have collected these? What might they be used for? Where might this be? 

  • Use as a play dough mat and add your own play dough mushrooms on top.

  • Print in greyscale and paint with watercolours.

  • Copy the image in pencil.

  • Make mushrooms out of air drying clay or salt dough.




  • Discuss the image - Who might these hands belong to? How might this person feel? Why might the squirrel be there? What might have been in the person's hands?

  • Use as a play dough mat and make nuts to put in the person's hands.

  • Copy the squirrel in pencil.

  • Write a story about the person meeting the squirrel.

  • Write a poem about the squirrel.

Happy creating everyone! I'd love to see how these images inspire you so please use the hashtag #mylittlemakes_ over on Instagram to tag any photographs. 


And a huge thanks to these brilliant photographers for sharing their images with the world via Unsplash. 


Flowers, basket and mushrooms by Annie Spratt

Biscuits by Cala

Squirrel by Anna Bakirova




Louise xx

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