As the autumn months pass by, many of our yards are filling with free craft supplies. Be sure to take advantage of the plentiful offerings of nature. Your kids will thank you for it.
Acorns, walnuts, chestnuts-tree nuts are falling on the lawn begging to adorn children's craft projects. Care must be taken to preserve them for future projects. Seal them tightly in freezer bags or seal them in food preservation bags. They can also be dried for a longer lifespan.
Ideas include gluing acorns around a picture frame. Another idea is to gather loose bark, sticks, dried hay, and acorns to make nature collages and photo frames. Take a paper towel tube and cover it with bark and add natural decorations to make a unique dried flower vase.
Don't miss the opportunities that autumn's leaves offer. Take the kids outside and gather the leaves for projects or enjoy the autumn weather and finish the projects outside. Leaf rubbings are always a favorite. Try to make pictures from the rubbings, adding limbs to the rubbings to draw leaf men. Glue children's photos to the leaves to create a family collage for the season.
Grown-up crafts include filling a shallow basket or bowl with the leaves and adding natural potpourri to make a pleasant autumn arrangement. Pressed leaves, laying them in wax paper between the pages of a heavy book, can be saved for decoupaging or framing.
While cleaning the yard, gather the smaller sticks, especially those with interesting shapes and turns, and save them for later. A few natural sticks add to flower arrangements throughout the year. For winter arrangements they can be spray-painted white or left natural. Poked into a Styrofoam base they can create Easter egg trees ornamented with miniature hanging eggs. Break some into smaller pieces and tie them together with a pretty bow for a natural cabin accessory.
Turn your days outside into a learning experience. Create an outdoor scavenger hunt for autumn days. Practice the colors of the rainbow on the leaves and colors of the day. Discuss the occurrences of autumn and the science behind it. All this learning and the day outside in the beautiful weather, all for free.
When my son was about 3 years old, he and I collected many straight sticks which were about 1/2" in diameter. Then, using hot glue, we glued them together as a log cabin which was probably about 6" x 12". It had a small door which was open and a sloped roof; we even added a window. We used a pruning shears to cut the sticks. Because of his age, I did most of the actual "work", but he chose which sticks were to be glued and where they would be attached. We displayed that on a shelf in our home until about a year ago; he turns 18 next month. We intend to pull it out again at Christmastimes each year.
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