Bushy tailed squirrel

We’ve been collecting a lot of autumn leaves and fruit so it would have been a pity to let them go waste. I found a really nice squirrel template online so the idea came: we should decorate the squirrel’s tail with these dry autumn goodies.

What you need:PICT0006

  • bushy-tailed squirrel template
  • glue
  • shredded leaves (other flat autumn fruit like Norway maple fruit)
  • brown crayon or coloured pencil
  • 1 googly eye
  • a black or brown pom-pom

How to make it:

The dry leaves we shredded and the Norway maple’s paired samara fruit was used as it was found. You can prepare it before hand but you can do it with your little one.

PICT0013

  1. I prepared a squirrel as an example
  2. E. coloured the body of the squirrel
  3. She glued on the googly eye and the pom-pom nose
    PICT0017
  4. She glued on the samara fruit first
  5. She glued the rest of the tail and sprinkled the dry leaf flakes on the glue
  6. She swept off the excessPICT0024

Artwork is done 🙂

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Crafty Mommy Workshop – Autumn

After a lot of thinking and preparation I managed to hold my very first Crafty Mommy Workshop with Autumn crafts and activities.

Quite a few moms have asked me about the activities we’ve been doing with E. since she was small, so I thought it would be a good idea to have a craft session for mommies (instead of telling everyone separately).

The workshop was in Hungarian as English-speaking moms didn’t sign up 😞. The main idea was that moms could learn some easy to make activities and at home they can work them out with their kids.

I collected autumn activities around 5 major topics:

  • Conkers
  • Leaves and trees
  • Halloween
  • St. Martin’s Day (Márton nap)
  • Thanksgiving

I dedicated 1 hour to go through the activities, however, they proved to be too many as we couldn’t cover the last 2 topics. Still, I hope the 2 moms who turned up (other 2 cancelled 😞) will benefit from what they heard at the workshop.

The original ideas of these activities are either from other blogger moms or mine. I mainly came up with  the conker games but here I’d also like to pay tribute to the pages I read and “steal” ideas from:

 

Leaves and tree activities:

  1. Paint and stamp with the leaves
  2. Paint around the leaf
  3. Laminated leaf rubbing (or just place leaves under a white sheet of paper and rub it with autumn colour crayons)
  4. Leaf lacing
    Although I didn’t print the free printable leaves, just used our laminated leave that I’d punched on the sides. Shoelaces are pretty good for threading, but if your child has any difficulties with the small ending you can add some cell tape to make the end firmer.

  5. Make leaf faces and  people out of (laminated) leaves

  6. Leaf shred pictures autumn images and animals too
  7. Count the leaves with free printable
  8. Stamping leaves on a tree with toilet paper roll
  9. Popsicle stick tree
    KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
  10. Make a hedgehog/squirrel with leaves

What else to do with leaves:

  • collect them
  • group them by their size, colour
  • make them stand in a line from the biggest to the smallest
  • paint them, colour them, trace them
  • press them
  • make a crown out of fresh autumn leaves

The participants got a nice pack of goodies to work with at home, like 10 laminated leaves, a punched leaf with a shoelace for the lacing, some magnets so they can stick the leaf faces/people on the fridge, popsicle sticks, squirrel/hedgehog templates and the counting leaves free printable.The third topic we could cover was Halloween. Here are the crafts I showed to the moms:

  1. Cotton ball ghost
  2. Baby food jar mummies (I’ll soon write a post on this in detail)
  3. Jack-o-lantern faces with shapes
  4. Pumpkin emotions
  5. Toilet paper spiders, monsters with googly eyes 
  6. Skeleton out of cotton buds

In the mommy package there were some toilet paper tubes, googly eyes, black pipe cleaners, cotton balls, baby food jar, a roll of gauze, black cardboard, orange construction paper and, of course, two printables: the black shapes for making Jack-o-lantern faces and the pumpkin faces showing different emotions.The other topics were postponed and due to the lack of time we agreed to have a similar session with winter and Christmas activities. We had a wonderful time together and I’ve been planning our next session excitedly.

Popsicle tree

Since autumn arrived we have been collecting leaves, talking about why leaves change colours and why they fall down. We’ve been hugging trees, examining their bark, trying to climb up on them, just to mention a few tree related activities. Outside.

When the weather got really rainy I thought I would bring the tree activities inside. That was when I introduced the popsicle tree activity to E.

What you need:

  • 20-30-40 popsicle sticks (wooden spatulas can be bought at the chemists for 500 HUF – less than 2 euros – but in hobby stores they can be found too)
  • collected leaves (or felt leaves)
  • conkers, acorns or any other nuts
  • felt animals like hedgehog, any kind of bird, squirrel etc.
How we played:
I gave E. the bag which I collected all the goodies in and I showed her how to build a tree. I just started and she took the lead.
While doing it we were talking about the different parts of the tree (tree top, branches, leaves, trunk, bark, roots). Also we mentioned what we can see in the tree top in different seasons. (green leaves in the spring, fruits in the summer, bare branches and yellow leaves in the autumn, nothing in the winter).
She placed the leaves very accurately.
Then some conkers and a squirrel…

After a while I couldn’t hold Baby Sis back and she came to “destroy” E.’s tree. There was some screaming and “don’t touch it” but not much playing together. E. gave L. a conker to play with but I had take it away from L. as it was too small (and I wanted to avoid ER at all cost) E. tried to give Baby Sis a laminated leaf but she wasn’t interested. Baby Sis wanted the popsicle sticks, which meant the end of the tree.

“Noooooooo”
After a while E. gave up  (got a little offended) and turned away from us to build a house instead out of the popsicle sticks.

 

E. was so uninterested at the end that only Baby Sis helped me pack away. At least we practised “put it in” with her.

As you can see life and activities with 2 kids are quite a challenge. I keep trying but success is still far away…

Anyways, I’m thinking of adding some brown yarn or thin ribbons to create the roots. We’ll try again next year when Baby Sis might not want to “destroy” but rather want to build.

Laminated leaves

I need to share another autumn fun. As soon as I saw it on pinterest I fell in love with it. Laminated leaves. I found the laminated leaves idea there; just click on the link to get to the original idea.

First, I pressed the leaves a little. They were not totally dry when I laminated them so they kept some of their flexibility during lamination. I didn’t add magnets as it was suggested, maybe next year we’ll do this activity again and display them on the fridge.

Then we did some of the activities the Teaching Mama recommended. (On that site you can find tons of great ideas to entertain and educate you kids of all ages. I can highly recommend to follow it.)

  1. Colour sorting

We only had yellow, brown and green leaves, unfortunately I couldn’t find red or orange ones at that time. Later on I added some more to the collection. (there is on orangey leaf you can find totally separated on the left side)

  • Arranging leaves by size
  • Matching similar leaves
  • Making leaf faces with googly eyes and pop-pom noses (I drew the mouths E. did the rest)
  • Making leaf people (revising major body parts like arms, legs, upper body and feet)

    You can see here the nice new orange and red leaves we found in the park. The big middle figure is Daddy, because “He’s soooo big”.

  • Using the laminated leaves as rubbing plates

 

I didn’t manage to take photos of this activity, but you can use the laminated leaves under a sheet of paper and use a pencil or crayon to rub on the sheet. The veins and edges of leaves will come through really nicely. Or you can check it out on the link above where the idea comes from.

If you liked this activity you can find more autumn leaves projects (click on the picture):

Or you can check out my Autumn pinterest board for more ideas.

Painting leaves – four autumn activities with leaves

 

As autumn has arrived we started to collect leaves every time we went somewhere. We were talking about the gorgeous colours of autumn leaves like orange, yellow, brown or red. We also observe the different shapes like circular, heart-shaped, hand-shaped as well as their edges (smooth, wavy, toothed).

I checked this image from the net to make sure I do not say anything silly.

Leaf rubbing gave us the chance to have a look at the veins:

 

 

Leaf prints

Then we had painting fun. E. chose the colours (I tried to direct her to the autumn colours with little success) and we painted the backside of the leaves and made prints. At first, we used too much paint, but then we could observe the beautiful prints the veins and the edges gave out.

First try

 

Second try with less paint

Another painting activity: outline of leaves:

I pressed some leaves and stuck them on a white sheet of paper with the help of small pieces of Cello-tape. Then we painted the leaves over creating an outline. This was a hit with E.

 

And finally a counting game with leaves:

I drew these bare trees for E. It can serve as a simple counting activity. Your child needs to stick as many leaves on the tree as the number shows.

I’ve prepared printable trees you can download at the end of this post.

As simple counting is not a challenge for E. any more I thought skip counting would raise her interest much more. And I was right.

 

Although it was a little too long an activity, she managed to finish it after my encouragement and help with the gluing.

Gluing

 

Adding the leaves

 

creating a leaf face with the glue

 

Mommy, this leaf is ill

 

There are not enough branches for 8 leaves, Mommy

 

Placing the magnetic numbers – finished!

First, I pressed all the leaves. It’s easier to work with them. Then I presented, showed and explained what to do with instructions like these:

  • Hold your paper down with one hand and rub with the other hand.
  • Let’s mix 2 colours.
  • Paint the backside of the leaf, like this.
  • You can add more glue this time because this leaf is big.

 

Finally, we displayed everything on our living room doors. E. shows her pieces of artwork to whoever comes to us.

 

And here on this link you can download the bare trees with numbers: