Exploring nature doesn’t have to be in a far off place, a neighborhood park , school yard or your own backyard will work just great. Explore , talk about what you see, hear and smell. Touch things even they aren’t going into your bag for the collage, explore and take note of how the garden, forrest or park you are in has changed since the spring or summer. I love when I can do an activity with both kids seemlessly and this one was super easy .
- Gather your materials. You will need 1-2 paper grocery bags, scissors,crayons, glue and a yard , park or forrest to explore.
- Start by handing each child a bag and heading outside. Can I just say that my little paint covered point and shoot camera works great for inside crafts when movements around too big or fast, but getting a good shot of either child was next to impossible. Especially a wobbly 15 month old.
- Explore- let your child lead the way. Hopefully the other child( or 5) agree and go the same way, or at least in the same general vicinity.
- Put everything they find and want to glue to the collage in the bag . Don’t say no to little things yet, let them discover later of it won’t glue.
- Huge sticks are totaly ok to refuse, but let them figure it out by asking how it will fit in the bag. Offer scissors to cut a small piece off.
- Head back inside and prepare for part two. I did this while they played in the playroom around me, but don’t feel like you have to do this all in one go. Do this after bed time and continue with part two in the morning if that works best for your family. You will want to empty out the contents and place them on a table – or even a shallow box. Using the bag cut it open and draw an acorn. Tape it to the table to stay steady.
- Now invite the children to chose from their treasures and glue them to the acorn.
- Hmm the pine branch is too big to glue down… what could we do?
- Cut it!
- I helped my daughter add the glue and she happily banged the leaves she gathered down. I was so surprised to see she remembered exactly which leaves she found and used them in her collage.
- Gluing is my son’s favorite part of most art because he pretends it’s a bomb ( yes this stage is still driving me batty but I am trying to roll with it)- his sound effects surprised his unamused little sister…
- Let everything dry overnight.
- Cut out. Display if possible – kids love seeing their own creations displayed with pride.
More Acorn Crafts!
If a nature walk isn’t possible for you try another one of our acorn crafts .
Click the images for the original posts
This fall themed sensory tub is a great way to welcome the best parts of the coming season, by scooping, pouring and pinching up beans, apples and acorns. I usually keep a sensory tub theme for a month or two pulling it out every few days and letting my son explore. Now that he is a little older my son prefers to use the tongs to pick things up . Using a small dish to hold the material he pinches up is a great way to encourage counting and sorting with a sensory tub.Don’t miss our books about apples
- Gather your materials. You will need some beans ( we are using pinto and navy), acorns ( real or artificial), some fake apples, scoops and tongs. I use the same container for my sensory tubs usually , and keep the materials in ziplocs while not in use. I got the acorns and the apples in the potpourri section of a home decorating store.
- Start by pouring the beans into the container.
- Add the apples .
- Add the acorns.
- Add your tools and invite your child to play!
- Pinch and count!
Books About Apples
Apples by Jacqueline Farmer is not a book to snuggle up and read before bed or really anytime with a toddler but wow it’s a wonderful resource. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know about apples until I read this book. It’s packed full of detail about how they are grown, where they came from originally, varieties and more! I urge teachers and homeschooling parents to check this out if you are doing any study about fruit, or apples.
I Know It’s Autumn by Eileen Spinelli is age appropriate for young preschoolers and toddlers. The book is a simple look at all the things that tell a small child that Autumn is here. Pumpkin muffins, apple picking, cooler weather, hayrides and more all signal that the summer is gone and the fall has arrived. I like this book because there will be something a child will relate to and be able to identify with. I also love that the family is biracial and there is no mention of it at all. It’s nice to see and I wish more books were so non challant about representing all kinds of families.
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington is another favorite in our house. My son loves this author and I like how simple but informative this book is. Your little reader will learn about the basics of what happens at an apple orchard , but you can take it further if you want. On many of the pages there are chances to learn more, like the page about sorting and classifying, where there are apples ready to count 1-10, and sorted by colors. I love the last page that says that Annie is so happy to have her own apple farm. I loved that message and think it’s a lot more powerful than some may think, women on farms in most books are “farmer’s wives” and I love that there is no one but Annie doing her own thing.
I sent out a call for readers to send in their crafts, activities and book recommendations. I am struggling through bad morning sickness and just being a mom is wearing me out. But my readers have come to my rescue and I have been overwhelmed by the community that No Time For Flash Cards has become! This awesome acorn craft was sent in by Kim Young from Mom Tried It! A great blog you need to check out, thank you Kim it’s perfect!
I try to encourage creativity with my children. Sometimes I find myself thinking in very uncreative ways to be creative. We love to do arts and crafts projects. I try to experiment and expose them to different mediums such as play-doh, flubber-style goo, moon sand, floam, etc. We paint on different objects as canvases such as balls, vegetables, windows, concrete, etc. While some of those things are kind of thinking outside the box, one thing remains constant. We use brushes, markers, crayons, etc. I have got to be more creative than this! So I introduce the acorn. You read that correctly, acorn. Today we are using plain old paper, ordinary paint, but we are using them with acorns. My son was a little taken aback by this. He wanted to use a brush, but after some coaxing he really got into it!
You will need a few acorns (with the tops taken off), 2 pieces of paper, scissors, paint, a plate, and tape.
Draw a picture of an acorn on a piece of paper. Make sure to leave space in between the top of the acorn and the acorn bottom. Next, cut out the design to make a stencil. To make this project easier for a preschooler, tape the blank paper to a placemat or table, then tape the stencil over the other piece of paper (also to the table or placemat). This will keep everything from moving and frustrating your little one.
Squeeze some paint onto a plate. I used red, yellow, orange, and brown for beautiful fall colors. Now let your child experiment with the parts of the acorn. You can suggest they use the pieces like stamps. After a few minutes of “stamping”, my son covered an entire acorn bottom with paint and rolled it across the paper. I didn’t think of that. Imaginations can run wild without ruining the picture. The stencil will ensure the picture looks like an acorn no matter how they paint it.
When you are all finished, simply take off the stencil and let it dry. While it is drying, you can read this great book about – what else – acorns.
Pay no attention to the date on the pictures. I forgot to reset it after I charged the battery. Oops.
Acorns Everywhere by Kevin Sherry
“Bonk! When an acorn hits him on the head, a chubby squirrel takes stock. And what does he see? ACORNS EVERYWHERE! With a jolt of hilarious manic energy, he gets to work—Gather! Dig! Bury! Readers will know, even if the squirrel doesn’t, that “gather” does not mean prying acorns from the mouth of a scandalized mouse, the beak of an unsuspecting bird, or . . . well, you’ll see. Will this squirrel get what’s coming to him—or will he get something even better?”
My son really liked this book and laughed along with it. It really showed him about hard work and doing it the right way.
______________________________________________________________________________________This post was written by Kim Young from Mom Tried It !
Match The Nut !
Before I inundate you with holiday crafts for all the wonderful holidays in December I didn’t want to ignore Thanksgiving or skip right over the end of Autumn. So today we made an easy fall themed memory game that is easy to make , easy to play and best of all, easy to adapt to different ages. When kids make their own games it creates such pride , my son was so excited to tell his dad he played match and made the game too!
- Gather your materials. You will need some card stock ( I used 2 plain note cards) , some crayons or markers ( they will want to play right away so paint slows you down), scissors, a pen or fine tip marker and cookie cutters or stencils.
- Start by tracing your squirrel and acorn.
- Have your child color each pair one color. I told my son to cover all the white, he did pretty well. With really little guys give them a tick crayon or marker, or unwrap the crayon so they can use it’s side for easier coverage.
- Keep going… and going!
- Cut the shapes out. Can you tell how stormy it was today my usually light filled kitchen was a dungeon all day!
- Play- we played match. We put all the pieces down so that you couldn’t see their color and flipped them over one at a time, taking turns to make a match. It didn’t take long but we played a few rounds. With a younger child I would have all the squirrels laid out and put the nuts in a bag and have the child draw the nut out and find the color match. With older children I would make more sets, and include a letter or number that would also have to be matched to challenge them. Told you it’s easy to adapt. In a classroom I would have each child color one pair to make this a group project!
Dot & Jabber and the Great Acorn Mystery by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a perfect fit for this activity! The little mouse detectives Dot and Jabber are trying to figure out how a tiny oak tree has sprouted so far from the big one across the meadow. I love how this book excites my son about learning, he wants to figure out this mystery right along side the two little detectives. Isn’t that what science really is? A mystery to be solved? The mice do solve the mystery and a squirrel is involved but you will have to read the book for all the clues and details. I highly recommend this book , it’s engaging, visually beautiful and teaches about the life cycle of an oak tree effortlessly.
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.
Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Melanie Watt is hilarious! I laughed out loud from start to finish, my son who is 18 months old didn’t get the humor at all but laughed at me laughing! Older preschoolers will get most of the humor though and like my son, will love the pictures ! Here is my favorite line : in very small print on the inside cover it reads ” * Caution: this story not suitable for walruses. ” Oh how I laughed ! The dry humor aside, the book follows an anxious squirrel looking for a friend , but one that is safe and won’t bite! Of course the message is about taking risks and kids will get it! I love this book!