Especially since I became a mama, I have noticed that we tend to change with the seasons. One of the changes brings art and activities in a more planned way. During the summer months, we tend to just play and go with whatever comes during the day more. As we move into the cooler (rainy here) weather we move from occasional art and games weekly to daily or more. Now just in case you are thinking that I have a tidy list of activities planned along with my perfectly ordered art supply closet, I’ll just clear the air with a picture of my needing to be replenished art/apple basket that I finally just put together to pull out when the girls want to ‘art’
. And I will further say that often our art is pencil and paper to draw pictures, bits of paper torn up to be glued on a large piece of paper, and our activity often is something like turning on some music and dancing. And sometimes, like today, I just don’t really feel like putting together an art project which makes having ideas already available handy. I do like to have some things planned to do during the week, especially since Aneliese has been telling me lately that she would like to have art classes like the ones I did in Alberta, and so I have been doing to brainstorming and internet searching to come up with a few things. No, we haven’t done all of them, not even close to all the ones that I thought of. Since I am already collecting them, I thought that I may as well share them here. A bonus being that I will make them a little more organized this way! Many of these ideas are common in the preschool world, lots are adaptable for various ages, cost little, and involve getting out into nature. I am also including some of the websites where I ran across while compiling my list.
1. collecting leaves (for pressing, gluing on paper, thankful tree, stringing, cards etc.)
2. collecting acorns and other fall berries, pine cones etc.
3. Fall scavenger hunt: (create a picture list of things to find, give your child a bag and help them look!)
4. Leaf rubbings: place a piece of paper over a leaf and rub it with a crayon.
5. Modge podge collage: with leaves and autumn colored scraps of fabric or yarn: glue to page and then paint over the whole thing with modge podge (very cheap at any craft or dollar store)
6. Leaf card: to mail to a friend or family. Glue a leaf to a folded piece of paper, do leaf rubbings, or use some leaves like those from my Thankful Tree post, and write directly on them.
7. Fall wreath: make a card board circle, let them glue buttons, pine cones, twigs, leaves, ribbons, acorns, even pictures using craft glue. Add a bow and loop and hang it on a door for fall!
8. Rake leaves and of course play in them.
9. Pick apples.
10. Go to a pumpkin/squash patch.
11. Walk in the leaves just to hear them crunch.
12. Pumpkin fun: Pumpkin carving, seed scooping (saving for other art and fun), drawing faces on the pumpkin.
13. Hide the acorn boy/girl:
I drew a little face on the acorn and the girls cover their eyes while I hide it (expand the hiding area with age/ability). We take turns hiding it. I am also going to do this by hiding it in a bowl of rice for them to find.
14. Find the acorn boy/girl: using the above acorn or (or whatever nut or object you have) mix it in with a bowl of plain acorns and they need to find the one with the face; I also added another one with a face so that they could both find one.
15. Spray bottle art: Using a inexpensive dollar store canvas (1 or 2 dollars), glue pressed leaves on it. Allow to dry. Put a small amount of paint in a spray bottle (dollar store) and thin with water.
I made the mistake of telling the girls we would do this before I realized how low we were on paint so ours was a little thin which caused it to run but still pretty.
Spraying in a mist (not a stream), cover the canvas with paint. It will be a water color effect.
– use other flat objects.
– Modge podge over it to give it a different finish
– Trace a leave on the back of contact paper, cut out, peel backing and place on canvas. Spray paint it and then once it is dry remove the contact paper.
16. Leaf or nut toss: Have a empty basket, each child takes turns tossing the leaves or nuts in the air and counting how many land in the basket.
17. Have an outdoor or indoor fall picnic with fun ‘fall’ foods such as nuts and apples. (And if you are really wanting to prepare, even have a bag of leaves for an indoor picnic ‘blanket’
18. Squash puree playdough: We discovered this the other day, depending on the dryness of the cooked squash, it may be the same consistency of playdough. It was a great color and the girls had so much fun making cookie cut outs!
This ends my own personal list that I thought of and again, they are not all that original and I don’t take credit for all of them (a few I do). Most of these next ones, we haven’t gotten to trying yet but I think they will be fun. And should you be wondering, I don’t take pictures every time we do art together… I think it could get annoying for the girls:).
19. TurkeyParade! http://www.babyminestore.com/infoautumnactivitiesfortoddlers.html
Toddlers love to move around and keep busy, and this is one of the autumn activities for toddlers that both of you will get a kick out of! Use masking tape to create turkey footprints along the floor throughout the house or room. Then play some music and hop around and gobble, following the footprints, until you stop the music. Your child will imitate the noises and actions you make, so be the best turkey you can be! Keep turning on and off the music, playing the turkey parade, as long as they are into it .
The next activities, 20- 24 come from this website http://www.preschoolerstoday.com/articles/activities/falling-into-fall-fun-5001/
20. Nature People: toddlers and preschoolers may like to take the treasures from their nature walk and glue them to construction paper, perhaps making a person by using an acorn for a head and leaves for the body.
21. Here’s another fun idea: Collect some freshly fallen leaves. Place them on a board. Place a thin cloth (like a piece of sheet) over the leaves and have the child hammer the leaves. The leaf color and shape will imprint on the cloth.
22. Of course all those beautiful leaves need to end up somewhere – and many will undoubtedly be in your yard. While you toil to pick them up, let your child “work” alongside with a plastic rake or scamper around the yard with a dump truck (the bigger the better) to collect leaves to be deposited onto a main pile. Don’t be surprised, though, if a pile or two ends up a mess. Jumping and rolling in leaves is tempting fun for many toddlers (and some parents, too)! ‘’
23. Finger paint using fall colors. After the paper dries, trace some of your child’s favorite leaves and cut them out. She’ll now have a bit of autumn all winter long!
24. A Personal Pumpkin Patch . Having a Halloween party? Do this craft with a piece of butcher paper and hang it on the fence for decoration. Use pumpkin-shaped sponges instead of thumbprints.
– You’ll need:
White construction paper
Green and brown marker
Small paper plate
Here’s what you do:
Let your child cut around the outside of the construction paper with fun cutting scissors. If they are not old enough, do this step for them. They can cut any shape!
– Place a small amount of orange paint on a paper plate and a folded paper towel right beside it. Teach your child to place their thumb in the paint and then dab some paint off their finger on the paper towel. They will make thumbprints all over the paper. No amount is too many or too little. Pumpkin patches are all shapes and sizes!
– After the paint from their thumbprints is dry, use the green and brown markers to draw stems and leaves connecting all the pumpkins. Again, nothing is perfect. Let them make their own pumpkin patch and they will be so proud of it!
25. Apple Stamping. http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Apple-Stamping.html
26. “Fall Feely Box” http://www.preschoolrainbow.org/preschool-fall.html
Learning different textures and identifying them is fun for young preschool and kindergarten children during this early childhood activity by Jana M.
Materials: Leaves, acorns, pine cones, nuts, apples, and other things you have discussed. You’ll need a box the children can fit their hands into without seeing inside. I use a large shoe box. With a hole cut in the top.
Description: Teachers, without the children seeing you, add the objects in the box. During circle time have the children take turns feeling inside the box. Ask each child to describe what he or she feels and what they think it is.
Make a string of leaves to decorate a room. These simple-to-make strings make a great Fall or Thankgsiving decoration. You can drape the strings across rooms, over windows and from the chandeliers.
• Construction paper (orange, red, yellow, brown, and other earth tones)
• Crayons or markers
• Glue, tape, or staples
• A long piece of green or brown yarn or string
28. Game –
Pin the leaf on a tree. Played like Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Draw the skeleton of a tree on butcher paper and tack to a wall in the room. Try real leaves or leaves cut from construction paper and have the kids re-leaf the tree.
Several fun ideas here (29- 32): http://pre-schoolplay.blogspot.com/search/label/autumn
29. fall sensory tray: in normal words, that means putting some nuts, popcorn, leaves, whatever in a tub or tray and letting the kids play…just make sure they are past the eating everything in sight stage.
30. Autumn threading: anything that you can get a hole through and let them thread it on a piece of string or twine…use as decorations
31. playdough in Autumn colours alongside acorns, fir cones, leaves, twigs, conkers, sweet chestnuts and conker shells. Let them play!
32. Make your own Autumn Brushes: I made these out of all the things we had found and collected when out on our walks and simply hot glued or attached them to sticks with elastic bands.
33. A fun way to use dried squash or pumpkin seeds. (adaptable for various ages.) http://naturenest.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/pumpkin-seed-mosaic-art-a-fall-kids-craft/
34. Leaf Turkeys http://jennwa.blogspot.com/2008/11/caity-and-i-made-some-turkeys-made-from.html#links (I saw a couple other neat ideas for older children as well)
Please, feel free to add any ideas or links that you might have for art, games, or activities. I am always happy to add anything to my list!