1. Leaf Animals
variety of freshly fallen leaves
optional- marker for eyes
This indoor craft starts with an outdoor leaf hunt gathering all sorts of shapes and colors of leaves. Try to get fresh ones that are not too dried out. This will make them easier to work with and less of a crumbly leaf mess to clean up. We looked at this website for some inspiration. Thing One went with Foxes,
and an elephant.
Leaf animals were even more fun than I thought they would be (which is always a plus for a practically free craft). I'm sure older children would enjoy coming up with their own animal ideas, so I think we may be doing this one for year to come.
2. Painted Magnets
wood cut outs
This was another cheap and fast craft. I saw these little wooden cut outs in the fall section at Hobby Lobby for $0.49 each. I grabbed a pumpkin and an acorn. I made Thing One wear an apron to work with the acrylic paint, but then let him just go at it. He painted the acorn green and then decide to paint over it with the gold (because preschoolers can't leave a provided color unused). I think it came out really cool! Then we used a toothpick to make a couple highlights on the pumpkin too.
Once the paint was dry I hot glued a button magnet on the back of each. Always make sure you are gluing the magnetic side out before you stick it on there--just a little tip from me to you : )
3. Pumpkin Stamping
bottle tops (like milk jugs)
any round recycled material : )
TP tube + duct tape
I love doing crafts from the recycle bin. For this one we used recycled tops and containers to make a stamped pumpkin patch.
I actually liked the bottom of the yogurt carton the best. It was cool to have different sizes and shapes, all free again. Although I think Thing One's favorite stamp was his finger. So you could save yourself so time on the materials round up and just make a whole patch of finger-print pumpkins : )
We made the pumpkin with stripes by cutting a TP tube in thirds and then cutting little pieces out of two of the sections. Then I taped them together and put them all inside of each other, securing with a piece of duct tape on the bottom.
4. Slimy String Pumpkins
orange yarn or string
brown or green yarn
a small bowl
baking sheet or piece of stiff cardboard
optional- glitter glue, marker
This is a really fun hands-on activity, although it does take some patience to wait for the final product. This project was inspired by one I saw at I Can Teach My Child.
For younger kids draw some pumpkin shapes (about 3-6 inches seemed good for us) on the wax paper to give the kiddos a pattern to follow.
Empty about 1/2 a bottle of glue into the bowl and mix in a couple tablespoons of water to make it a more watery consistency. We also added some glitter glue for a little sparkle. Cut a long piece of orange yarn and put it in the glue. Mix it around until it is totally coated in the glue.
Next, arrange the slimy yarn inside the pumpkin pattern making sure to stretch to all the edges and try to spread out any clumpy parts.
Then repeat the glue process with a much smaller piece of brown or green yarn, and arrange at the top of the pumpkin to make a stem. Be sure to loop the stem around a few of the pumpkin strings to make sure they will stay attached. Fill all the pumpkin spaces. Then allow to dry overnight.
You can then thread a long piece of green yarn through all the pumpkins and make a pumpkin patch bunting if you want.
Here's the part where I tell you I didn't follow the directions. It was taking forever to dry so I thought I would put it in the oven for a little bit (I did about an hour at 200º). It finally did dry out the yarn, but by then it was completely wax-welded to the wax paper, so there was no getting it off. I had to just cut out the pumpkin shapes and I threaded the "vine" right through the wax paper (which I actually think gives it a lot of stability and you can hardly see it unless you are really close.) Kind of my kids craft "make it work" moment I guess.
Thanks for reading!