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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Autumn fun with children

It may be difficult to say good-bye to those lazy summer days, but the arrival of September brings with it the stir of excitement as school buses roll again and holiday displays begin to appear in department stores. As much fun as it is for children to prepare for Halloween dress-up, parades and trick-or-treating, autumn can be so much more.

Get them outside, open their world to the glory of the fall season. Introduce children to the beauty of autumn's color palette and notice things like the smell of dry leaves, the thrill of jumping on hay bales, and the taste of an apple cider slushie. Give them opportunities for hands-on experience at fall festivals with their corn mazes, hay bales, pumpkin patches and leaf piles.

With a little imagination there is also a lot of fun you can create right at home.  These pictures were taken years ago when my kids were small, but we just loved creating stuff like this:

Homemade scarecrows are easily made by stuffing hay or straw into an old shirt and a pair of bluejeans. Here we used a big sunflower head and plucked out the seeds to form a face. In its hands it is holding a bouquet of seed pods from the Chinese Lantern plants. Add a bundle of cornstalks, a few pumpkins and potted mums, and you and your kids can be proud of your front door display.

This one is our pumpkin man. I don't remember how I held them together, probably a stick is stuck from pumpkin to pumpkin. The hair looks like I used a little bunch of Cockscomb flower, the arms are Cockscomb as well. The mouth looks like a green bean, the eyes are an everlasting type of flower called Strawflowers, and the buttons are Globe Amaranth. Most likely, the flowers were held on with toothpicks. Use whatever you have on hand to decorate. The important thing is to encourage your child to be hands-on and use his or her imagination.

 A fun fall activity to do with children is to make these cute bird seed hangers. Not only is it a fun craft to do together, but children learn the importance of helping our wild birds survive the upcoming cold weather.

This book, Green Fun, by Maryanne Gjersvik is from the 1970's but is the cutest little book of ideas to have fun with natural plant material such as flowers, weeds, seeds and leaves.

Enjoy and create memories!