Yarn Stamped Fall Tree Craft

Fall always makes me think of a mix of textures and rich smells and while this yarn stamped fall tree craft isn’t scratch and sniff ( although if it was it would be vanilla and pumpkin spice)  it was a fun exploration of textures. This project was a big reminder to me about not putting your own adult vision on a child’s art work. Even after many years I still at times have to stop myself from saying ” Really are you sure you are done ?”. If you feel like saying that bite your tongue. That doesn’t encourage kids it tells them their art isn’t good enough.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some stamp pads, paper , marker,  bottle caps, yarn / bakers string , sticky back foam and some foam adhesive mounts.
  2. Start by cutting your foam into the shape of leaves. Peel the backing off and wrap the yarn around . I wrapped a few really heavily, and left one sparkly foam leaf without any yarn for contrast. Add the adhesive mounts.Press onto the bottle cap.fall craft
  3. Invite your artists to the table.  Draw a trunk.
  4. He has hit that stage of childhood where he doesn’t just trust me and questions everything. ” Are you sure it will work mom?”
  5. Add yarn stamped leaves.
  6. Try out the different textures .
  7. Let dry. As the ink dries the colors lighten.

Over the years we have reviewed many fall themed books for children but this round up contains our very favorite. For full reviews of the book check out the post from earlier this month.

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.

Cereal Box Apples Craft

apple craft

You know when you don’t have enough of one kind of cereal and you have to mix two to get a full bowl? Yesterday I had to finish off 2 and while looking at the empty boxes I knew I wanted to make them into something fun for fall.  Our apple trees are heavy with fruit and I can’t wait to do some apple printing but until then these cereal box apples are proudly displayed on our mantle.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cereal box , some craft paper, tape, red paint ( crayon or marker), a popsicle stick, green felt, pinking shears,  a gold or brown pipe cleaner, scissors, a dish for paint and a large brush.
  2. Start by taping the box closed and wrapping it in the craft paper just like you would when wrapping a gift.
  3. Time to paint!
  4. My daughter wanted to do it too but wouldn’t hold the brush, she was all about the marker though and just wanted to stand so we improvised using a chair.
  5. While my son painted I wrapped the end of the pipe cleaner around the popsicle stick.
  6. When he was done he did the rest.  I did my daughter’s stem.
  7. Let dry.
  8. While waiting they played and I cut the leaves out of felt with pinking shears.
  9. When dry make a hole in the felt, make a hole in the box with scissors. Adults only , you need sharp scissors.
  10. Stick the stem through the hole in the leaves and into the box.
  11. All done!

Books About Apples

Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson  was not what I was expecting , it was so much more. I was expecting a basic book about picking apples at an orchard.  This book is anything but basic, it’s dreamy and while reading it I almost felt as thought I was back in time when a whole community would come to a stand still for something like apple picking.  The protagonist is Anna a little girl who works hard in the orchard along side her parents and grandparents . She isn’t as fast as her parents, but with hard work and the support of her family she reaches her goal and fills a bin! I loved this book,  I would suggest it for preschoolers and up.

Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace will not be returned to the library on time. We got it out today and my son has had me read it to him 3 times, and his dad read it twice. Clearly it gets the 3 year old seal of approval. It also gets mine. The story is more than just a story about a afmily going apple picking at an orchard. It explains all sorts of apple facts but what I really love is that it also explains that there are different kinds of apples and each are used for different things. Since each member of the family is using their apples for different purposes that fact is driven home . Great book for preschoolers going on a apple picking field trip , making applesauce or apple prints ( psst check back for a craft in a few days!).

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.

Leaf Rubbing Tree

Fall is in full swing around here, between the pumpkins creeping up on porches in my neighborhood to the bursts of  red, yellow and orange everywhere I had to make a leaf rubbing craft. I have to be honest my son was only kinda into this craft. He liked doing the rubbing the first few times and then after that the only thing he wanted to do was be the tape guy! We often put a craft down and return to it at our leisure, or sometimes ditch it forever. Forcing kids to do art defeats the purpose no one is creative or learning when they are forced to do anything.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper towel roll, some white paper, scissors, tape,  crayons in fall colors with the paper removed and leaves from your garden.
  2. Start by going outside and finding some fun leaves , bringing them in and pat them dry if needed.
  3. Place the leaves vein side up under a  piece of paper – for my son I taped the leaves onto a paper so they wouldn’t shift when he was trying to do the rubbing. This is where I lost him, after one exposure to the tape and well tape was all he wanted to do.
  4. Rub your crayons over the paper and watch the magic leaf appear! You can see I still had to hold his paper steady.
  5. Cut them out as you go.
  6. Time to tape. We used tape because it would be very tricky to glue with white glue and our glue stick was MIA. A glue stick would work nicely as long as you glued it horizontally and waited until it was dry to stand it up. 
  7. Attach all the leaves and stand up!

Books About Leaves

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.

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber is a beautifully illustrated , informative book that all all about leaves in autumn. It’s not the most exciting book but is a good teaching resource and tool when you are teaching your child about the changing seasons.  I can’t say this is a must read, but it’s useful and worth a look at your local library and will probably make you and your children want to jump in a few giant piles of leaves!

Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley is a funny book about a boy kicked outside and off his video game by a parent and his quest for a lucky leaf. He waits and waits for the last leaf from a tree to fall, even after his friends give up and go home. The story is cute and my son thought it was funny. I liked the comic book format of the illustrations and the little boy’s dog has some pretty funny facial expressions throughout.

Need more leaf projects? It was my theme of the week over at Craftivity Corner my FamilyEducation.com blog !