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Crafting with children:
Autumnal treats made from leaves, pumpkin & co.

Whether it’s foggy or golden – children are drawn outside in the fall. We stroll through the garden, the woods and along the lake. Now nature is releasing its treasures and we discover many things that fall has to offer during the harvest season: Apples and pumpkins in the garden, chestnuts, acorns, beechnuts and cones in the forest. And of course lots of bright, beautiful leaves. Lea and Malik collected chestnuts, spruce cones and fallen acorns. Ben, Amba and the others come back with hands full of beech and chestnut leaves, which we absolutely have to stick on paper. We make our way back with bags and baskets full of material.

Colorful maple leaves in autumn

Making colorful leaf pictures

With their colorful splendor, autumn leaves immediately stimulate children’s imaginations. We make crafts with yellow, red, brown and green leaves, acorns, seeds and dried berries. How easy it is to dry and preserve leaves and foliage is explained here.

Everything else we need is colored paper, glue sticks, scissors, finger paint and off we go. Malik paints the faces of his family and sticks leaves on their hair. “This is my sister Dilara, this is Dad and this is Mom. I’ll put Grandma on it too, she often visits us at the weekend!”.

Lea has fully embraced printing. She paints the leaves and fruit with finger paint and then stamps a colorful forest onto the paper – the exciting structure of the leaf veins and the wrinkled contours of the fruit are retained. And Ben cuts and paints and glues until in the end a whole fox family populates his paper. “Foxes have to be fiery red!” he explains. Lea thinks so too and paints, glues and cuts out a hedgehog family. “And hedgehogs are orange and forest floor brown!” she says. Ben nods in agreement.

A classic: making chestnut figures

The children want to make chestnut hedgehogs, but chestnuts can also be used to make other things such as little men, various animals or wreaths. The hedgehogs are particularly simple and we don’t need much material: craft drill, toothpicks, waterproof black markers and, of course, chestnuts in different sizes.

First we drill holes in the chestnuts with the craft drill. Break the toothpicks in half and insert them into the holes with the tips pointing upwards. If you like, glue them into the holes. Finally, we paint eyes on the hedgehogs – and the result is really cute little creatures.

Ben, Malik, Lea and the others are very enthusiastic and help the chestnut figures to a place of honor on the windowsills. If you would like to make your own chestnuts at home, you will find very simple instructions here.

Child tinkering with colored paper

Making lanterns for dark evenings

Not all of our children have a Christian background and celebrate St. Martin’s Day. You can also simply place beautiful lanterns by the window or on the dining table in the fall. They accompany us into Advent and the Christmas season with their warm, friendly light and the cozy atmosphere they create.

We collected round cardboard cheese boxes and cut them to size to make the base. We cut out leaves, circles and stars from colorful tracing paper. Thickly coated with glue stick, they are placed on white tracing paper. Place an electric tea light on the bottom of the cheese box, then wrap the tracing paper around it. We finish off the top with a cheese box without a lid. We attach a wire to it – and the lantern is ready! “I’ll make another one for mom,” says Anna. “She’s usually sad when she doesn’t have any at the St. Martin’s parade!”

Making a lantern at home is very easy – here is a great step-by-step guide.

Carving pumpkins for Halloween

What would Halloween be without scary, funny or grim pumpkin heads? At the end of October and beginning of November, they can be found in many front gardens, at windows and in front of front doors in the city and in the countryside. The children love the faces and draw scary, beautiful designs on paper.

We transfer the templates onto the pumpkins and the adults carve eyes and mouths. Everyone can help with the hollowing out, because the inside is so soft that it can be easily scraped out with a spoon. Will we make cream of pumpkin soup from it? This comprehensive yet simple guide shows you how to carve great pumpkin faces at home.

Asian girl playing on meadow

Crafting promotes creativity and fun

Crafting not only promotes children’s creativity, but also their fine motor skills and ensures a good mood and lots of fun. Everyone gets talking, explains what they are doing and supports each other. At the end, the children are really proud. Decorating the end products in our rooms together is at least as fulfilling as the crafting itself.

What can go on the window, what can we hang on the walls? Throughout the fall, the children are delighted with the objects they have made and are already thinking about what we can get from outside next to continue in the run-up to Christmas …

“Every child is an artist. The only problem is staying an artist as you grow up.”

(Pablo Picasso)

Photos by Patty Brito, Greg Shield, Nurpalah Deem and Sigmund via