Between Halloween and Thanksgiving is a perfect time to try a few nature crafts with the kids. The great thing about the crafts below is they are fun for teens, as well as smaller kids, and adults. It's easy to get wrapped up in the holiday rush as it gets closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think spending a few cold, rainy days making art is a good way to get away from the crowds, the video games and the television.
Make leaf rubbings. You'll need fresh, moist tree leaves or other plant leaves, a hammer, and pieces of cotton muslin. Lay one muslin down on a piece of paper, taping it down around the edges with masking tape. Place the leaf down on top of the piece of muslin, and lay a thin piece of paper over top of it (scrap will do). Pound the leaf with the hammer evenly over the entire leaf. This will transfer the leaf shape and color to the piece of muslin, so make sure to pound it all. Afterwards, you can glue the muslin to a piece of cardboard-framing it with a colorful mat if you wish.
Have the kids gather leaves, and make a big collage on a piece of poster or foam board. This won't be a "keeper" art project, but they will have a great time collecting, being creative with their design and gluing the leaves in place. Hang it up or display the collage for the season, and be sure to take a picture of it for them too. Slip in learning fun by having them identify each leaf and place the tree names in their collage.
Pumpkin or squash seeds are so light in color that they can be dried and painted to use for art. Air dry, or spread them on a cookie sheet to slowly dry in the oven. Don't use oil or anything else on the seeds. Once they are dried, and cooled divide the seeds into groups, depending on how many you have. Example: ten of each color, using browns, blues, reds etc. You can also water down paint if you want them to be softer colors. Let the seeds dry completely. Use them to create pictures, collages, mosaics or anything else that strikes your fancy.
I still have art that my kids made when they were small. I love to get it out and put it up during the fall. Of course I'm also a pack rat:)
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