Guest post from Mae @ Mommy Loves Trees –
Did you know that on average children today spend about 1/3 of their day starting at a screen? Kind of sad in my opinion. We didn’t have a TV for many of my growing up years and my mom made sure we spent a lot of time outdoors. I believe kids need time to play, explore and develop their imaginations and the outdoors offers the perfect settings. There is a growing body of research documenting how our kids are benefiting both socially and academically from spending time outdoors and in nature. So, on my blog I strive to encourage families to spend time outdoors every day. I share tips, tricks and lots of ideas for exploring and adventures.
One thing my kids do almost every time we are outdoors is collect rocks, sticks, leaves, etc. As a result, we have a lot of “natural material” that builds up around our home and outside our front door. I am always looking for ways to use them in crafts and activities. This month I thought it would be fun to use them in decorating pumpkins.
Step 1: Just get outdoors, explore and let your kids collect what they want, the more unique the better.
Step 2: Design. Once you have the materials collected, the sky is the limit as far as what you can do. With our collection my kids made monsters and I made Halloween creatures (see above).
When decorating I didn’t limit us to natural materials. I let my kids paint their pumpkins first, I used a little paint and a permanent marker for the eyes and hot glue.
Here are a few tips when working with natural materials.
Press or preserve the leaves. Pressing leaves is as simple as placing them in between the pages of a magazine, stacking heavy books on top and leaving them for 2-3 days. You can also preserve them by paining Mod Podge all over the leaves and letting them dry.
Make “eyes” by drawing black circles onto rocks using a permanent markers for the pupils.
Don’t accept the natural shape of the leaves. After pressing mine I trimmed them a little to make them look more like bat wings.
I used curved or jointed sticks for the spider’s legs.
The funkier the better. We found the spiny seed pods at the park and made them the “hair” on my daughter’s pumpkin.
We used hot glue to attach the natural materials to the pumpkins. It holds then in place but doesn’t last if the kids want to play with the pumpkins. We just use ours for display.
Don’t forget to check the natural objects and materials for bugs and dirt before bringing them in the house. I haven’t have a problem with bugs but it is good to check none the less.
This was an activity we all enjoyed. I prefer decorating pumpkins because my kids are so young and they can be more involved than with carving. Note – I did not let my kids handle the hot glue. They just told me where to put the items.