The changing seasons can be exciting, especially when we go from summer to autumn. I like to get outside as much as possible at this time of year.
Bright, sunny days that are also crisp and cold are perfect for stomping through the woods and exploring with my kids. The golden colours are beautiful and they can inspire a lot of different art and craft ideas for children.
Visit the woods
Take a bag with you when you visit the woods, and see what your children can find to bring home and make things with.
A fairy house
I recently took my daughter to the woods and she was inspired to make a fairy house and garden with all the things she found there. She gathered leaves to use as the roof of her plant pot fairy house, with acorn shells forming the chimney. Small sticks became tree trunks in her fairy garden, with a large leaf used as the top of the tree. She also gathered stones to make a pathway leading up to her fairy house and then scattered glitter everywhere. The options are endless and kids come up with all sorts of ideas.
Start with a large sheet of paper, and let your kids draw around their hand and lower arm. (The arm will form the tree trunk and their fingers will be the tree branches.) They can then paint this brown. Next, put out different colours of paint, ideally in the colours of autumn - reds, oranges, and yellows work well. Or, your kids could even make their own autumnal shades by mixing together primary colours of paint. Let them use their fingertips and dip them in the paint before printing small leaves all over the tree branches.
Pine cone fairies
You can find all sorts of natural things to make fairies out of and pine cones work well as the body of a fairy. Use a fuzzy felt ball as the head, and wool (or cotton wool) as hair and if you can find an acorn cap that could be the hat. Leaves make great wings too, but as with all of these things, your children can use anything they find to make their fairy come to life. Glue, pipe cleaners and string can then hold everything together.
Your children can draw and then cut out different pumpkin shapes out of orange card. After that, they can cut out green or brown stalks and stick one on each pumpkin. Then encourage them to get as silly as they like making different pumpkin faces. They can simply draw them on with felt tips, or use craft items like googly eyes, buttons, and pipe cleaners etc. to make lots of different, funny faces, with or without hair, glasses and other accessories. Once the pumpkin faces are dry, your kids could make a poster by sticking them onto a big piece of paper, or turn them into cards to send to people, or they could turn them into autumn bunting by attaching them to a piece of string.
Leaves are such a big part of autumn. I love the changing colours of the trees and the fallen leaves that are crisp when you stomp on them and that form big piles to kick through. There are loads of crafts you can do with leaves, and here are a few ideas:
Leaf printing with paint
When your children are out, ask them to gather up different sizes and shapes of leaves. They can paint them in different colours and then print the leaves onto paper to make a colourful picture.
Place each leave upside down on the table so that the stems etc. are facing upwards. Place some paper on top and then use a crayon to rub all over the leaf. Repeat with other leaves and crayons until you have a vibrant leaf rubbing picture.
This is a great activity for children of all ages as you can make it as simple or complex as you like. Young children can simply use glue to stick leaves all over a piece of paper, or older kids can use lots of leaves to create a shape, like a tree, a bird, or one massive leaf. They could glitz it up with glitter and any other craft items you have at home.
Cut out a circle out of cardboard and then cut out the inside of it too so that you have a wreath shape. Your children can either draw / paint leaves that they cut out, or use real leaves that they’ve gathered outside. Glue and layer the leaves around the cardboard circle to form a wreath. They can add on any other decorations that they like and when it’s dried, hang it up using string.
Jo Murricane is a freelance copywriter and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog, jo-blogs.co.uk.