By Katie Cassell
Art is a beautiful way to connect with our children, and it supports the development of cognitive, social-emotional, and multi-sensory skills. So with that in mind and as the weather grows cooler, here are two ideas (one outdoor and one indoor) that kids of all ages can participate in.
Outdoor: Nature Walk Pumpkins are a way to bring the outdoors in and explore. My nature-loving kids always love to collect pretty leaves, sticks, and stones on our walks.
1 roll packing tape
2 pieces of black tag board
Access to a backyard, front yard, or park
Step 1: Draw a large pumpkin on one piece of tag board.
Step 2: Cut out your pumpkin shape leaving the edges of your paper intact.
Step 3: On your other piece of tag board, place strips of packing tape “sticky side up” so that they cover the paper.
Step 4: Leaving the packing tape strips “sticky side up,” tape them using masking tape onto your black tag board. (You are creating a sticky surface so the leaves can stick to the paper.)
Step 5: Take this paper out with your kids on a nature walk – let them gather leaves and grass to add to their sticky tape paper.
Step 6: When their paper is full, place the paper you made in steps 1-2 on top of their nature walk gatherings. Tape down or glue until the top paper is completely secured down.
Step 7: Enjoy their nature walk artwork!
Indoor: Pony Bead Pumpkins are a fun indoor activity that promotes fine motor skills in preschoolers. Big kids like making them too! This craft is one of my kids' favorite fall crafts because it gives them pride in decorating the house. (Hobby Lobby sells a kit that makes six.)
- 4 orange pipe cleaners
- 1 brown pipe cleaner
- 1 green pipe cleaner
- 1 bag of orange pony beads
Step 1: Take two pipe cleaners and make an “X.” Twist them around each other in the middle. Complete this with the other two pipe cleaners and twist together both “X”s. (My kindergartener was able to do this on her own, but any younger kiddo might need help.)
Step 2: String the pony beads onto each pipe cleaner until about 1 inch of the stem is left.
Step 3: Bring all ends together and twist them together tightly to form the pumpkin’s stem.
Step 4: Twist your brown pipe cleaner around your pumpkin’s stem.
Step 5: Bend your pipe cleaner to form a pumpkin. (I like to let the kids pick out a pumpkin from the ones I purchased to model their pumpkin after).
Step 6: Wrap your green pipe cleaner around the base of the stem to make the vines. To make curly vines wrap your pipe cleaner around a pencil.
You can make other kinds of pumpkins using this craft, as well as changing the pipe cleaners and pony bead colors! Then enjoy the artwork you and your kids have created together! Let them choose a special place to put their creations; it builds confidence and pride in their work.