Crafting with elements of the outdoors is kind of a no-brainer this time of year when everything is just bursting with color, and with winter fast approaching it's a good way to squeeze every bit of outdoor time out of the fall that you can with the kids!. Trying to build our fall nature table keeps my daughter scurrying in and out of the house as she collects all the leaves, pinecones, and other goodies Mother Nature gives us this time of the year.
The sky is the limit on what kids can come up with, but if you're stumped, here are some easy kid crafts that bring will bring nature inside to your table just in time for Thanksgiving.
Scavenger Hunt -- Build a list of outdoor goodies that will make for a cute table display (think acorns, leaves in various colors, pine cones, odd-shaped rocks, etc.), and let the kids loose in the backyard to collect as many as they can. Then give them a section at the center of the table to put it all together. They'll burn off a lot of energy running around outside trying to find everything on your list, but the real fun is in seeing what they come up with.
Paper Bag Turkeys -- Take the scavenger hunt one step farther, and they can use their outdoor goodies to decorate a turkey centerpiece. Rebekah at The Golden Gleam used the bag to make a body and neck, and the kids worked from there.
Crayon Drip Gourds -- If you have any pumpkins left over from Halloween or some of those cool gourds, heat up the ends of some of the kids' stubby crayons and decorate the fruit with the colored wax like Life With Moore Babies (there are directions over at her blog). The kids will love trying out a crayon craft that has nothing to do with coloring, and they'll make an eye-catching centerpiece!
Coffee Filter Fall Leaves -- If you're not comfortable with scattering real leaves on your table, how about leaves made from coffee filters? Let the kids practice their scissor skills cutting leaf shapes from white filters. Then let them loose with some liquid water colors to see what they come up with (Boy Mama Teacher Mama has some cool examples of the coffee filter leaves to help give your kids ideas). Now scatter across the table!
Pine Cone Gnomes -- What's cuter than a placecard for each guest? A little gnome greeting them by their plate! You'll need to hit the craft store for some felt and some wooden beads, but the kids can gather the pine cones and do a fair amount of the work. We Bloom Here has all the directions for these adorable little creatures, but let your kids' creativity guide you. They may find more outside that you can use like leaves, sticks ...
Do you let the kids help you decorate the table? What does your family do?