I love Autumn. The crisp, cool air, thet aste of an apple just picked from a tree, the faint scent of woodsmoke all combine to make the world a cozy, happy place. While out walking, I like to pick up the colorful leaves and interesting twigs I find along the way and take them home. There, my daughter and I incorportate them into our crafts.
The first craft we enjoy making together is wrapping paper. We gather a roll of plain white paper, some crayons in pretty fall colors, and the leaves we collected on our walk. We then sit down at our big kitchen table and roll the paper out a little at a time. Putting a few leaves under the paper, we use the crayon on the top of the paper to scribble over the leaves, and guess what? You guessed it, we get a leaf print. We continue to make colorful leaf prints, using a big variety of colors and “scribbling techniques” (for example, try lightly rubbing the crayon in acircular pattern instead of the traditional up and down) until the paper is full. We then roll the whole thing up again and have pretty, original gift wrap for holidays, birthdays, or just because gifts.
Another favorite craft for fall is to make bookmarks. We take the colorful leaves we collected on our walk and wrap them gently in paper towels. Then we place the paper towels between some heavy books and leave them to press for two weeks. This method dries the leaves out so that they retain their color and texture for years. We take the colorful leaves and glue them onto strips of colorful construction paper that we have cut out. We then place the strips of construction paper onto wide pieces of packing tape, place another strip of packing tape on the side facing up, and Voila! We have laminated bookmarks with pretty fall leaves.
Fall leaves can also be combined with pretty twigs and dried grasses and then placed in glass jars that have been painted for a pretty fall centerpiece on a dining room table. Take an empty glass jar that has bee washed and dried thoroughly (I like vineagar jars because they come in so many different shapes and sizes). Let your child paint on them with watercolors and brushes for older children or just simple finger paints for younger ones. Once the jars have dried, place the leaves, twigs, and dried grasses in them. You don’t have to worry about the paint washing off the jars, because this arrangement doesn’t require water!
Apples are also a good source of fall crafts. For a simple craft, you can make a spice ball out of an apple using whole cloves that you stick into the apple. Stick a clove throgh a ribbon at the top, and you have a hanging spice ball that makes your house smell wonderful. The apple peels can also be dried in an oven on the lowest heat setting for an hour or two (lay them on a cookie sheet, untouching, for best results). The resluting potpourri smells marvelous and looks pretty decorating gifts or simply set in a bowl.
No matter which craft you choose to do with your child, remember, the most important thing about fall crafts is that you are spending time together and having fun!