Today’s post is by Tara of Feels Like Home, Thanks Tara for such a fun fall kids craft !
For weeks, Gracie has been asking me to make a duckie project. We didn’t have any feathers to make the duckie that Allie previously posted, so I had to make something up. Being that it’s fall on the east coast, we had lots of leaves to work with. I decided that we’d crumble the leaves and use them to cover our duckie. This craft goes together really quickly at the end, but it takes a little planning ahead.
1. Go outside and gather lots of leaves. We chose a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Of course, while we were outside, we talked about the different trees. We talked about why trees drop their leaves, and how they go to sleep over the winter. It was a lovely science lesson.
2. When you get back inside, spread the leaves out on newspaper to dry. Our leaves were quite wet because we gathered them in the morning, and they took most of a day to really dry out.
3. Gather the rest of your materials. You’ll need glue, a marker, a piece of construction paper, and a googly eye. We didn’t have a googly eye (a fact that distressed me slightly), so Grace and I raided my button bin for a suitable eye.
Finding an eye was another great lesson. We sorted the buttons into piles by shape – hearts, footballs, flowers, and circles. I didn’t initiate the sorting; I just followed Grace’s lead.
6. Once your materials are all ready, draw a duck on a piece of construction paper. I had a problem with this step. After drawing two mutant squash, I finally got something that resembled a bird. My husband thought it looked more like a turkey than a duck, but you can decide for yourself.
7. Allow your child to smear glue all over the bird, and then help her to tear or crumble the leaves to cover up the glue. While we were working, Grace squealed, This so messy Momma! in the middle of our project. And then she asked for more glue, so I’m pretty sure that messy was a good thing.
8. Make a beak for your bird using leaves or a scrap of construction paper. I found a cool orange leaf with pointy ends, and I cut off two of the points to use as a beak. I glued the beak on myself.
9. Find two leaf stems that you can use for bird legs. I asked Grace to put some glue on her ducky where his legs would go, and then handed her the legs to stick into the glue.
10. Ask your artist to put some glue on the bird where his eye belongs. Stick the button or googly eye into the glue. (finished turkey photo)
Grace thought that our duck needed some grass to hide in, so she glued a few leaves onto the paper around him.
11. I was going to cut the duck out and put him on a new piece of paper, but we would’ve lost the habitat Grace worked so hard on.
12. After your duck is dry, hang it on the wall.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Tara Ziegmont is a mom of 1 and a teacher to many. You can catch up with Tara on her blog Feels Like Home !
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!
I had a reader ask if we had any scarecrow crafts, I didn’t but I came up with this. shape scarecrow! There are a lot of steps but my almost 3 year old breezed through it, we talked about the shapes, and each body part as we added them . You will notice that my shapes are way less than perfect, but if they are clearly recognizable you are golden. Time is short for anyone caring for young kids, don’t fret over your shapes being perfect!
- Gather your materials. You will need 5 different color pieces of construction paper ( you can use scrap if you want for all but one) we used orange, green, yellow, neutral and light blue , 2 large googly eyes, a marker, scissors and a glue stick.
- Start by drawing a scarecrow head and mouth. Cut out.
- Next cut out ( or have your child cut out) a triangle hat and rectangle shirt and arms from the green paper.
- Cut out many smaller rectangles from the yellow paper for hair.
- Cut out a orange triangle for the nose and 3 orange circles for the buttons.
- Start gluing. Now you can just let them at it but to me this isn’t a creative project at all, it’s too structured for that, to me this is a shape lesson really. Here is what I do. Show your child the shapes and ask them what they look like. I help up the large rectangle and asked my son if he thought this was the scarecrow’s head, ” no it’s his belly!” Glue it on. Don’t forget to ask what each shape is or label the shape for them.
- Next add the head… I suggested this was an arm. My son set me straight! Don’t forget to have fun!
- Keep labeling, and adding the shapes to build your scarecrow. Here he is adding the hair.
- Add the arms.
- If you are doing this with young toddlers don’t forget to label the colors as well! Add your hat!
- Add the eyes and nose.
- Add your buttons.
- Let dry!
Clay Quest Minis: Search for Shapes!by Helen Bogosian is a big hit with my son and me! I was lucky enough to have this book sent to me by the publisher because it’s already come in handy on a ferry, and waiting to be seated at a restaurant keeping my son happy and busy searching for shapes. This book is an activity book that has a simple rhyme and request for the reader to find 2 shapes on every page. The shapes are hidden in the adorable clay “illustrations” , really they are photographs of clay sculptures that range in theme from a spider web to dinosaurs to princess crowns and more. My son loves playing ” Detective” and what I like is that the challenge is just right for his age group 2-3 year olds. Younger toddlers will still enjoy it and it’s vibrant colors but to do it independently this is the perfect age. I try to find negatives with books that are sent to me from publishers for review, but I am having a hard time this really is a good shape book!
So Many Circles, So Many Squares by Tana Hoban is a picture book that is all about shapes in our environment. There is page after page of pictures of daily life, food, signs etc… with the simple question of finding the shapes in the photos. It’s a great book to use as a launch pad into a shape hunt in your own home or around town and worth a few looks because you will be surprised at the shapes you missed the first time.
I bought these oats to make a hearty breakfast for my son before preschool, somehow they ended up as a craft before I ever made him breakfast! I love exploring textures and using unusual materials for art. We don’t have a lot of oak trees around here but I know lawns all over are filling up with them as the colder days of fall are upon us. This craft is easy but takes a long time to dry , so find a sunny window sill to sit it on for a day before shaking off the extra.
- Gather your materials. You will need some heavy paper ( we used a brown grocery bag) , glue, oats, chocolate cereal, brown marker, and scissors.
- Start by drawing an acorn on the paper bag.
- Have your child color this if they want. Even though we are covering it with glue I like doing this step so that if they only add a little of the cereal it’s still decorated.
- Add your glue- you will need a ton so now is a great time to let your little one loose with the glue. If you end up with huge puddles just spread them around.
- Add the oats. We just poured, my floor survived amazingly.
- Add the chocolate cereal.
- Eat a few….
- Gently shake off the excess. Tip if you use a flexible plastic place mat you can gently shake a little off and then fold and pour into bowl, garbage , where ever!
- Let dry… for a long long time…. about 12 hours.
- Cut out when dry.
A Friend for all Seasons by Julia Hubery is a gem! The book explains the change of seasons in a fun and easy to understand way for young children. Readers follow along with Robbie Raccoon as he notices the changes that are happening around his home, a big oak tree. My favorite part of this book was when Robbie and a few woodland friends notice that the tree’s leaves are falling and they assume he is crying, so they give him a hug. I loved that! Robbie’s mama raccoon explains the changes and before they go to sleep for a long time during winter’s dark days, they plant 5 acorns . This was a fun part of the book because I had my son predict what would happen. I liked that it gives parents an opportunity to extend this into a science lesson about seeds, and a oak tree’s life cycle. Sure enough when Spring comes there are tiny baby oaks waiting for Robbie when he awakens. I loved this book and would recomend it happily!
When Autumn Falls by Kelli Nidey is a stunning book, the illustrations which are painted paper collages, by Susan Swan are so richly colored you will want more after turning the last page. The text is clever as well. Readers will discover that fall is well named not just because of falling leaves, but also pumpkins falling from the vines, temperatures falling, seeds falling from their leaves and even football players falling! The text is the perfect length for toddlers but not too short for preschoolers too. Cute book for this time of year.
Apple Cider Making Days by Ann Purnell kinda surprised me, I don’t know what I was expecting but I loved this book. My son was sold on the tractor in it but I really liked how simply the author explained the whole process of making apple cider. From picking the apples on Grandpa’s farm to sorting out the good ones to sell and the bad ones to press, to selling it it covers the details without being too much for a young child to process. I loved that the whole family, aunts, uncles, cousins and more helped , seeing a family work side by side is heartwarming. My son loved the tractor but also the conveyor belt that took the apples to press! The illustrations by Joanne Friar set the happy autumn tone for the book and I particularly liked the small details like the pumpkins and squash for sale at the farm. No bad reviews today- all three books are worth a look !