Autumn is prized for the subtle change from green leaves to beautiful multicolored foliage. The falling autumn leaves are fun for kids too. You rake them up and hours of fun can be had jumping into those piles of crunchy things. However, jumping into piles of leaves aren't the only fun that can be had with Autumn foliage.
If you live in an area with particularly colorful fall foliage, why not put the creative brains of your kids to work with some fun craft projects.
Preserve Leaves in Wax
All of the following craft projects are fun, but because Autumn leaves are, well, dead leaves they are quite brittle. So sadly many of the following projects may not last very long. If you want to add some longevity to the leaves, and thus the craft projects, take some of the best looking leaves and preserve them by brushing them with warm wax that dry relatively clear. It is a process that takes a certain amount of finesse and because warm wax is involved, it's best for the parents to do this part.
Make a Leaf Crown
Leaf crowns are a fun way to make your child feel like a little Prince or Princess. Because many kinds of leaves have jagged edges, it makes for a really cool Game of Thrones like crown, not that your kids should know what Game of Thrones is. They are extremely simple to make too, just cut a one inch strip of thick paper big enough to fit around your child's head and glue it in a circle. Then on the sides, your kids can glue on leaves. You can layer them to give the crown further depth, I recommend golden leaves with just a few red ones layered under them.
This is one of those projects where you can use the above technique of using waxed foliage to make it last longer.
Also, you can get some gold spray paint and make the leaves more royal looking, but spray paint the leaves and let dry before you wax them and put this crown together.
Leaf painting is an old craft, but that doesn't make it any less cool. Because of the unique grooves in each leaf and each different kind of leaf, the possibilities for patterns are endless. You can spray paint over a leaf, leaving a unique outline when you remove it, or you can paint directly on it and press it onto paper.
This is an especially fun craft for littler children, the novelty wears off as they get over, but for kids who love paints, it is super fun. Though be sure to properly protect your work area, it can get really messy really quick.
Creating a Boat with a Leaf Sail
If you live near a little stream or have a pond nearby, this is an excellent craft. Even if you don't live near water, just playing with these in a sink or tub can be a thrill. Essentially all you need is an acorn top or half a walnut shell, any kind of hollow thing that looks like a boat bottom and is light enough to float will work.
Flatten the end of a toothpick and hot glue it to the bottom of the shell to create a mass, then after the glue dries, wedge a little leaf on the toothpick to create a sail. The toothpick and leaf should still allow the little boat to be light enough to float. I first learned of this craft while I was fishing down by the river and saw one floating on by, I have been in love with it ever since. It really made my day.
Have your kids make a bunch of them then unleash them in a pond, stream or river and make someone else's day. Though be sure to pick a place where the water is not very choppy or else they will take on water and sink. This is a great way to make a practical craft that you can actually get outside and do something fun with.
I have also heard you can fill the walnut about half full with wax to keep the mass upright. I'm not sure if it will still float with that method though. it is possible, but I have never put that method into practice. So if anyone has tried that, leave a comment so we know if that method works as well.
This is where preserving leaves by waxing them really comes in handy. With a little fishing line and a little knife or needle to poke holes in the leaves, you can create the effect of falling leaves indoors through fall and any other season.
My favorite craft is to take the best colored ones and find two nice looking sticks. Glue the sticks into an 'X' then dangle the leaves from fishing line after tying them to the sticks. It creates a great silent wind chime, not to mention a beautiful one. They look great blowing in the cool autumn wind or gusts from a nearby heating vent.
This is probably my personal favorite thing to do in the Autumn. I keep them up long past the Autumn season just because I enjoy the wind chimes so much, but I always make a new one in the fall because I end up finding better leaves.
Making Animals Out of Leaves
This is one of the oldest autumn crafts, but it is still no less fun. The options are endless, I have seen some great creations where kids made things like peacocks, elephants, or lions purely from the foliage scavenged outside. This is one of the better exercises for young creativity there is. It's always fun to see what kids can make from different shaped foliage.
The best thing is it is a relatively clean art project. Just get some paper, leaves, and a glue stick and tell your children to have at it. No spilled paint, no marker stains on the carpet, but maybe a few bits of crumbled plant matter on the floor, but that is an easy clean up.