If you are looking for a beautiful craft with fall leaves to do with children I got a wonderful little art project to share with you. It is a rather simple, but very beautiful forest craft. And it requires minimal supplies that don’t come from the forest, and could be easily done in an outdoor setting.
Over at our school cabin we usually have various logs and old branches left from pruning of the trees, or from dead old trees that got taken down. I had a stash of slices from an old aspen trunk and this craft was a perfect use for them. If you would like to try this craft, but do not have a slice of wood handy, you can use a piece of cardboard from one of your latest Amazon shipments. 🙂
Last year in this blog I have shared the recipe we have used that included flour, vegetable oil, salt and citric acid. It was a good recipe. Also, importantly, it was a zero-waste recipe, so you could make it using the ingredients that come without any plastic packaging.
But since then we have simplified our play-dough recipe which now only uses flour and salt. We found it work just as well, in some ways even better. It appears that the acidic ingredient makes the play-dough more silky to the touch. But at the same time it seems like the dough is a bit more springy, so as kids try to roll out out into think sheets or spaghetti-like shapes it shrinks back. The salt-only recipe allows kids to roll it out into very thin sheets or strings.
So, I’m going to share our new recipe here, and also will leave our old recipe up on the website as well, in case you’d like to try it out. In that blog post you can also see the organic plant-based ways to give your DIY playdough beautiful colors. And also has a list of our favorite supplies for kids to use when working with play-dough.
With the hot and dry weather conditions it seems like the leaves started turning colors early this year. And as leaves that started changing colors will fall off shortly anyway, we feel collecting them for crafts doesn’t go against “Leave no trace” philosophy that we try to instill in children.
This past week we collected some very beautiful yellow leaves on our hike. I wanted to share here few simple little art projects we did using those leaves that the children loved. The projects could be done both while on a hike or nature walk, or at home/classroom. The only thing that wouldn’t work out in the forest is glueing the sticks as they require a hot glue gun. But the sticks could be substituted with grass stems, as those tend to be straight and smooth.
Outdoors or indoors
This week we did 2 version of crafts using leaves — one was just laying out leaves into different patterns while on our forest hike. And the other one we did once we returned to our school cabin and had paper and glue available to us. I think next time I’m going to bring kids nature journals with us and a bit of glue, so we can make a few leaf pictures right into their nature journals during a break on a hike.
For some time, I wanted to share with you about our beautiful Waldorf watercolor classes led by our Wednesday instructor Milana. This technique is called wet-on-wet watercolor. It is beautiful and simple, and even the youngest children of preschool age can create incredible artwork and learn about colors in the process.
In a classic Waldorf approach the art class is introduced with a sweet story about the brush that goes on to play with his friends Yellow, Blue and Red. Through this little story chidden learn how to correctly use a brush and to wash the brush between different colors. Each child also gets to name their brush. You can hear the introduction story for the children in the video at the end of this post.
“Art is a place for children to learn to trust their ideas, themselves, and to explore what is possible. ~ Maryann F. Kohl
Welcome to the second blog post about our bird-focused curriculum from January. In this post I want to share with you all the beautiful artistic projects the children created during this period while learning about birds.
When creating our curriculums we try to plan the arts and crafts projects to parallel the current learning theme, as it helps children to connect deeper with the subject we are learning about, practice through art their new knowledge and make it their own.
Learning about nature and developing closer connection with it is one of our fundamental goals as a forest school or nature kindergarten. So we dedicated the month of January to learning about birds and it was such a hit with the children so I wanted to share with you what we did in this past month.
It was a slow-paced and fun learning block stretched over the entire month of January to give the children plenty of time to connect with it, absorb the new knowledge and enjoy all the activities we had prepared as a part of it. To keep learning fun and engaging without taking away much time from children’s free and active play we always try find ways to carry out our lessons and activities both indoors and outdoors. The learning blocks are brief (5-10 minutes at the most) and occur few times throughout the day, incorporating either a story, a game, or arts and crafts project.
As we ended up covering a lot of ground, I thought it would be best to separate this topic into 3 separate posts. Here is part 1.
At the end of every summer I always feel sad and it is hard for me to let go of the warm sunny days. But as the cold winter days roll in, I am reminded of how much I always loved winter growing up. The large snowflakes slowly falling from the sky always seemed mesmerizing and calming. Rolling in the snow, watching our dog running through it, sledding — I loved it all! And then there were those extra special moments of coming into a warm home after hours of outdoor play in the sparkly cold, the home with a smell of savory soup or a pie.
And winter holidays felt like utter magic of course! My family’s friends had a cabin in the mountains where all of us spent many winter holidays. And I remember as a small child walking to our friends mountain cabin through snowy mountains, feeling tired and cold. It was already getting dark. And then coming out into a clearing where the cabins were and seeing gleaming lanterns set all around in the snow. I still can see the magical beauty of it all if I close my eyes!
So as the winter holidays are just around the corner we wanted to make sure we made this time extra special for all the children attending our forest school.
Can you believe it is already middle of August? This summer flew by way too fast! Are you excited about fall approaching or are you like me and wish the summer never ended? 🙂
So here is a very simple and beautiful craft you can make with your children using a couple of very basic ingredients and any nature finds you have handy. I love making these medallions, which could be hung on a string individually in child’s room or hung on a piece of driftwood into a sort of mobile.
In fall you can make same versions with beautiful autumn leaves and comes winter they would make beautiful Christmas tree decorations.
Last week we had a post about the benefits of making play dough with children from scratch and sharing with you just how much they enjoy the process. In this post we want to share the actual recipe we use most commonly at the school, and what we use to color and decorate it naturally. This recipe uses only organic ingredients that are safe for touch as well as taste (although it really doesn’t taste very nice).
Remember that the beauty of this process is that you can fix anything about it — from color saturation to the consistency of the dough itself. And also remember that children will enjoy experimenting either way, whether or not you feel like everything is working out as you planned!
All in all it is an activity that gives a child a whole variety of skills to practice and sensations to experience.
Last week we had a lot of rainy chilly days here in Colorado. We still had our daily nature walks with the children at the school, but also got to spend a good share of time in the cabin warming up, being cozy and having fun learning things. We read books about eagles and the children had fun imagining being eagles and flying around catching fish. We played hide and seek, which turned into a game of an owl searching for little mice. And the children also built beautiful towers with wooden blocks. But the biggest hit of all was making our own play dough! Everyone loved it from the youngest kids to the oldest ones. Boys and girls were all engrossed into the creative process that is a bit of chemistry, a bit of cooking and a whole lot of artistry on their part!
So before we share the recipe and what we use to get different beautiful colors naturally or to decorate our creations we wanted to share what makes making the play-dough with children such a great activity that benefits and invokes many of their skills and sensations.