Stained Glass Leaf Craft

My dear friend and contributing writer Kim sent us this melted crayon art a few weeks ago and it and my son’s desire to melt things with a hair dryer ( how this art was made) inspired this new take on an old stain glass craft. You may remember making crayon stained glass leaves in preschool, I know I do. I have a clear memory of my preschool teacher Fran ironing our crayon shavings.  Since my son wanted to do the melting I switched an iron for a hair dryer. As you will find out there is a reason Fran used the iron… it was not easy making this “kid friendly” and not even all that “kid friendly”. Some days we hit it out of the park, some days we don’t.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a crayon sized pencil sharpener or a zest grater, crayons in various fall colors, wax paper, card stock, scissors and tape. Og and a hair dryer … possibly iron.
  2. Start by peeling the paper off the crayons. This is fantaboulous fine motor skills practice.
  3. Next grate or sharpen the crayons into little bits. Our sharpener broke half way through ( should have been a sign of things to come), so we attached it with pinking sheers, I do not suggest this method. Crayons bits were flying at a high rate of speed all over our playroom. Instead use a zest grater or if you have it one of those parmesan wheel graters would be rad for this. You need the wax to bit thin and small for it to melt.
  4. Put it all on the wax paper .
  5. Sandwich it and either hold it down or tape it to the table. Either way when the blow dryer starts you want a firm grip on it so bits don’t ( yet again if you are us) go flying everywhere.
  6. Even on high my trusty hair dryer from 1989 took a long time to melt the thick bits… I really need to try this again with a parmesan grater , why I didn’t think of that until now after we did it is beyond me.
  7. While the wax cools. Draw a leaf and cut it out of the cardstock so you are left with what looks like a stencil.
  8. Tape the melted wax to the paper ( I tape it all along the wax paper just in case some wax breaks off then it won’t fall into my carpet ) and hang up in a window.

Over all this project was fun , especially for my son who loved every step especially the ones I would call screw ups. That’s the thing when I break it all down we do crafts with kids not to make the prettiest thing but to have fun, make memories and share some time together. Even if some of that time was picking up pieces of crayon that shot ten feet across the room. I should note if you do use an iron make sure the crayon shavings are sandwiched between the wax and still use a towel under it when you pass the iron on low over it. Wax paper is usually great but sometimes the color leaks through.

Leaf Books

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert was the inspiration for this craft and will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.

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.

Acorn Nature Collage

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 .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 1-2 paper grocery bags, scissors,crayons,  glue and a yard , park or forrest to explore.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Now invite the children to chose from their treasures and glue them to the acorn.
  8. Hmm the pine branch is too big  to glue down… what could we do?
  9. Cut it!
  10. 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.
  11. 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…
  12. Let everything dry overnight.
  13. 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

 

Fall Craft Projects For Kids

This is my favorite time of year and even though I have some new fall crafts to share I can’t ignore these old favorites we made in the past that may even be new to you.

Cut and Paste Indian Corn Craft
Mini Pumpkin Prints
Foam Handprint Turkey
Falling Leaves
Coffee Grinds Sensory Tub

Bubble Wrap Corn
Pinecone Pumpkin

Indian Corn Mosaic Craft

by Kim

 

This craft is fast to set up and fun. It can be easily modified depending of the supplies you have on hand, too. Plus, nothing says fall like Indian Corn.

You will need a piece of paper (I used construction paper), self adhesive craft foam, scissors, and a marker. You can use non0adhesive craft foam or even construction paper. You will just need to have some glue, too.

Draw a shape that generally resembles an ear of corn. No artistic ability is needed, as you can see. Then draw so horizontal lines inside the ear of corn.

Cut the foam into small squares. It does not have to be exact, just the general size of the space between your lines that you drew inside the ear of corn.

Let your child start sticking away! There is no rhyme or reason to this. You can encourage them to keep the pieces in the rows you drew. You could also use this craft to explore color patterns. We chose to just make the colors random. I did instruct them to try their best to keep the squares in the rows.

This craft was great for fine motor skills. Little fingers had to peel the sticker backs off. If you are using regular foam or construction paper, just make a line of glue inside the row and have you child affix the squares. I would suggest doing just one row at a time.

Once you are done, you have a genuine ear of Indian corn.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Fall Noodle Tree Craft

 by Kim 

The temperatures are tapering off. Summer has gone and Autumn is making its appearance. Whether you live where the lives change or not, this craft is the perfect way to prepare for fall and all of its splendor.

You will need construction paper, glue, sandwich/snack bag, brown marker, cotton swabs, and three colored pasta (uncooked).

You or your child can draw a rectangle on the paper for the tree trunk. Have them color it in. My 5 year old drew his own, my 3 year old just colored.

Put some dry pasta in a plastic sealed bag. I used a snack size bag, but it really doesn’t matter. You want to make sure all of the excess air is out, though.

Have your child crush the noodles. Depending on the brand, they can be difficult to crush. Having the excess air out enables you to have the option of putting the bag on the floor and stomping it, or using a plastic hammer and whacking the bag. Trust me, we have done it all. Obviously the more intense crushing you do the more likely the bag is to rip and make a mess. So just be prepared. Regular crushing (and even stomping) hasn’t ripped our bags yet.

Squeeze some glue onto the piece of paper in the general shape of a tree top. Have your child spread around the glue with the cotton swab. I squeezed glue out for my daughter, but my son did his own glue.

Now sprinkle the noodle pieces onto the glue. This is exactly like giant noodle glitter. You will need to put on a lot, let it dry, and shake off the excess.

The final product looks just like a fall tree. It will have a wide array of colors, too. This craft is great fro talking about Fall, the changing seasons, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and colors. It also is a great sensory craft.

Look at that texture! It is so much fun to run your fingers across.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It