Fewer hours of daylight and dropping temperatures naturally find us spending more time indoors. That means more time to express our creativity. Everyone – kids and adults alike – benefits from process activities. Autumn provides bountiful, free, natural materials that invite us to experiment and find out what happens when we do this or that. Sometimes the outcome isn’t what we expected. Sometimes we’re pleased with the unexpected; sometimes not. Either way, we’re okay. We’re exploring possibilities, exercising deductive reasoning, solving problems.
Scavenge Natural Materials
Our adventure begins outdoors where we’ll comb the neighborhood for materials. What we collect will determine our options. Some suggestions will appeal primarily to adults, others require adult assistance, and still others are kid-friendly enough for kids to pursue on their own. The best ones allow collaboration and memory making between adults and kiddos.
Gather branches of autumn leaves and fill a basket or a pail. Pick up leaves and acorns for crafting. If you want to preserve favorite ones, melt beeswax in a double boiler, dip each leaf, one at a time, by its stem, let the excess wax drip off, then lay on waxed paper to dry. Consider laying the most colorful leaves, preserved or not, on a tray as autumnal decorations. Sparkle acorns among the leaves.
Or make a wreath or a garland. Pinterest is brimming with creative projects using autumn leaves, from Mason jar candle holders to embedding autumn leaves in pillar candles. Speaking of Pinterest, I discovered two projects using faux autumn leaves that likely could only be done with faux foliage: leaf bowls and an autumnal topiary. Both make unique, attractive autumn decorations and invite kids and adults alike to experiment.
Kiddos have ways to get creative with autumn leaves too. Collect leaves for paper punching and use the leaf die cuts in creative ways. Consider adding the die cuts to place cards for Thanksgiving dinner or to gift tags. Or decorate a pumpkin with autumn leaves. Lasts longer than a carved one. Another idea is adding soil at the base of the stem of a pumpkin and planting a tiny succulent garden.
Raking and Playing
And finally, look at all those fallen leaves and grab a rake. Seize the opportunity to enjoy a crisp, sunny, autumn day outdoors. Dry leaves are easier to rake than wet ones and more fun to jump up and down in too! The exercise benefits our bodies and our minds, and many hands make light work. Yes, just as “making hay” was a community endeavor, getting up the leaves works best as an “all hands on deck” family activity. Admittedly living in a grove insures that getting up leaves becomes a chore before the last leaf falls, but the shade those trees provide brings delightful relief from the high heat of summer. Raking gives everyone another chance to scavenge for natural materials for autumn crafts, and piles of dry leaves are irresistible invitations to play. Jump in and experience pure joy.
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