By Rita Chavez


Fall is here!  The air is starting to feel crisp, the trees are changing color, and I am sure your kids are constantly finding treasures on the ground.  Leaves, acorns, pine cones; like Templeton from Charlotte’s Web would say, “it’s a veritable smorgasbord!” If your kids are anything like mine, they have amassed a collection of fallen leaves, twigs, and pine cones on the porch, and it is forbidden to dispose of their prized collections.  Don’t fret, you can turn their treasures into some fun art projects with these ideas below!



Leaf Print Paint Stamps


What You’ll Need: 

Fallen leaves (the more fun the shape, the more fun the stamp!)

Tempera paint 

Paint sponge brushes

Cardstock paper


Prep your work surface with newspaper or plastic cloth to protect your table.  Have your child lay a leaf on a sheet of cardstock, and using a small amount of paint on a sponge brush, help them paint the entire surface of the leaf.  Once they have completely covered the leaf, help your child carefully lift the leaf and lay the painted side down on a clean sheet of cardstock paper, making sure to gently put pressure over the surface of the whole leaf onto the paper. Once you have rubbed the whole surface of the leaf, carefully lift the leaf off to reveal a painted stamp of the leaf imprint. Your child can do this with the same leaf, or use different leaves and different colors to create patterns and designs.  This project would make adorable framed art, or wonderful fall greeting cards!



Pine Cone Sun Catcher/Mobile


What You’ll Need:

4-5 Pine Cones

Paper Plates

Twine

A branch (about 12 inches long)

Clear liquid glue

Paint brush (for the glue)

Fine glitter 


Prep your work surface to protect your table; alternatively, you could take this project outside as it could get very messy!  For this project, working on one pine cone at a time works best, as you and your child will be using glue. Using a 20-22 inch length of twine, tie each end securely to each end of the branch and set aside; this will be your hanger.   Pour some glue onto a paper plate and let your child generously brush glue onto the surface of the pine cone. Using a different paper plate, holding the glue painted pine cone above the plate with tongs or a glove, help your child sprinkle glitter over the pine cone, making sure to cover all areas that have been painted with the glue.  Shake off the remaining glitter onto the plate and set the pine cone on a clean plate to dry. You can reuse this glitter by pouring it back into the jar. Help your child decorate 3-4 more pine cones. Once the pine cones are completely dry, cut different lengths of twine in the number of pine cones you have. Tie one end of twine securely around the end of a finished pine cone, getting under the scales to ensure it holds, then tie the other end securely to the branch hanger.  Repeat this with all of the pine cones, and secure them evenly spaced on the branch hanger. You can hang your finished sun catcher in a sunny window or on the porch and enjoy the sun making it sparkle! Alternatively, you can make this project glitter free by letting your child use tempera paint instead of the glue and glitter. The pine cones will be just as beautiful, and they have the freedom to paint each scale of a pine cone a different color!     



Pine Cone Bird Feeder: 


What You’ll Need: 

Pine Cones

Twine

Peanut Butter

Butter knife

Bowls

Bird Seed    


This project is for the bird lovers! Prep your work surface.  Scoop ¼-½ cup peanut butter into a bowl, pour bird seed into another bowl, and set aside.  Using at least 22 inches of twine, tie one end securely onto the ends of however many pine cones you would like to use, making sure to get under the scales of the pine cones to ensure it holds strong.  Once the pine cones have been tied with twine, help your child hold each pine cone and use a butter knife to spread the peanut butter from the bowl generously on the surface of the pine cone. Then have your child roll the peanut buttered pine cone in the bowl of bird seed, making sure to have them push the pine cone into the seed to help it stick.  Once they have rolled bird seed onto the pine cones, they are ready to hang in the nearest tree by tying the other end of twine attached to the pine cone securely on a tree branch. Watch the birds enjoy a fall feast!


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Rita is an Army wife and a mom to two little girls. She graduated from University of Hawaii: West Oahu in 2010 with a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Public Administration. Currently residing in Fort Drum, NY, she spends her time volunteering at her church and her youngest daughter’s preschool, and working out with her mom’s stroller fitness group. Rita enjoys taking photos of her daughters and dogs, helping other local mothers connect with each other, and her hobbies include cooking, crafting, and fitness.

    

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