We got crafty this season! Now that the snow is here, and all the colorful leaves are in their last hours, I’m finally posting our celebratory autumn art. My kids did an awesome job raking, collecting, sorting and assembling their crafts, and while there was extra cleanup, the cost was nearly nothing! AND these autumn crafts were a natural conversation starter for unschool-style lessons about seasons changing, wildlife, sustainability, and even entrepreneurship, as my oldest starts to think about doing yard work for neighbors or selling his artful creations.
Sorting, counting, color and shapes identification, and patterns were all tangible lessons for my preschooler, who grows with confidence in each of these real-life applications of math skills.
When working with seasonal pieces from nature, always look on the ground FIRST. There’s rarely a need to cut, pick or pull anything off of a living plant. However, if you’re pruning trees or doing yard work, look for inspiration in the cuttings that may otherwise go in the compost or trash. Encouraging your children to see beauty in nature, will help them feel more grounded, connected, and take a personal interest in environmental issues throughout their lives.
It’s amazing how satisfying it can be to spend time creating something beautiful, just because it’s beautiful. Collecting nature’s most colorful offerings from our neighborhood, and seeing them all together in this way, captures some of my gratitude for the abundant blessings and beauty around us every day. I’m reminded of God’s mastery, goodness and strength when I’m surrounded by nature.
When working with fallen leaves, or perishable collections from nature, it’s best to seal them as soon as possible. For the candles, I brushed on Modge Podge to try adhere them to the candle, help them stay intact and retain their color. It would have been better to do this right away, rather than wait 24 hours like I did. So, learn from me and seal your art the same day you make it. It’s really a quick step that makes a big difference. For the wreath and wide mantle piece, I used Modge Podge High Gloss Acrylic Sealer spray (pictures are freshly assembled, prior to spray).
Super simple contact clear contact paper art. Cut desired size, place down leaves flat on the sticky side. Then put another piece on top, and you have a beautiful “Fall Leaves Stained Glass”. These are actually so pretty, and simple, that I plan to make larger ones next year to cover an entire window next year.
Turning anything into an animal or puppet is always a win for kids! You can adjust the technical requirements of crafts like this, by offering different levels of independence for different ages. With the Owl project, I drew out the shapes for the eyes, beak and talons for my 6 year old, and he cut them out and glued them. For my 3 year old, the pieces were already cut for him, and we focused on using the right amount of glue for small pieces (“dot dot not a lot”), and putting the pieces on the right places to make his project look like an owl.
If you’re shopping for wooden popsicle sticks, always go for the big box. Often I see a pack of 50, for almost the same price as a pack of 500. Get the bigger box for the better price, because popsicle sticks are a craft staple you’ll thankfully have to offer your kids many times throughout the year. Think garden labels, holiday projects, houses, picture frames, puppets, planes.. soo many possibilities.
Happy Fall Y’all!