Let’s face it. Our children spend more time indoors these days than outdoors. In the age of social media, video games, cable TV, and Pokémon Go, activities like walking in the woods, collecting bird eggs, or climbing trees seem, well… boring. According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average 8 to eighteen year old spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. While modern technology has a pivotal role to play in our children’s lives, autumn is the perfect time to get kids involved in “green exercise.” It’s also the perfect season for teachers and parents to inspire children with art and craft projects. Nature is one of education’s most vital tools. Before Old Man Winter arrives, be sure to get beyond the front door (and the computer screen) and use it to your advantage.
Acorn Necklaces and Bracelets
Searching for acorns in the natural world is almost as good as making fall acorn art and craft projects. Acorns are versatile and decorative. There are a variety of art and craft projects that utilize acorns, from creating fall wreaths, which can also incorporate twigs, berries, pine cones, chestnuts, and other natural goodies foraged from the great outdoors, to painting acorns or covering them with yellow fabric to create miniature Halloween pumpkins. However, one of the easiest acorn projects is creating acorn jewelry. String the fallen acorns like beads to create necklaces or bracelets. Take it a step further and add color, glitter, or have the children paint the letters of their names on the acorns. Art is all about originality, right?
Pine Cone Ornaments
Making an ornament out of a pine cone is a lot like looking up at the sky and attempting to determine which animal a cloud looks like. It’s all about using the imagination. Pine cones can be turned into all sorts of holiday arts and crafts decorations, from Thanksgiving turkeys to white-tipped Christmas trees. A cluster of pine cones can be used to create a beautiful fall centerpiece, a garland for the fireplace, or a hanging front door decoration.
Think back… Chances are you made leaf prints at school when you were a kid. It’s a classic fall arts and crafts project. Come autumn, forget “To Do” lists and magnets, refrigerators across the nation are decorated with pictures of leaf rubbings, printed leaf flags, and colorful leaf people. How easy are leaf prints to create? Kids color on one side of the leaf, and then press it on a piece of construction paper. It’s a hands-on project that never gets old.
Getting outdoors makes children happier and healthier. It just might make them more creative artists, too.