The leaves are starting to turn, the nights are drawing in and the air is getting cooler… The Autumn Equinox (September 22) means the new season has officially arrived, and if you’re looking for ways to keep kids entertained now that summer is over, you’re in luck.
There are lots of fantastic DIY craft projects that celebrate the season of Halloween and hibernation, and they’re easy to make using natural materials and a few essential art supplies…
1. Leaf place cards
A lovely addition to the dining table in autumn, large leaves in red and golden hues can be used as place cards by drawing names with a black or white permanent marker. Half the fun of this project is taking a walk and competing to see who can find the biggest, most beautiful leaves.
2. Papier-mache pumpkin
With just a balloon, string, newspaper, glue and paint you can create wonderfully realistic looking papier-mache pumpkins – just be sure not to leave them out in the rain! Follow this handy video for a how-to guide.
3. Leaf ghosts
Another clever way to put fallen leaves to go use, create spooky ghost decorations by painting leaves with white paint, allowing them to dry, then adding faces with black marker.
4. Yarn mummies
Wrap human-shaped cardboard cut-outs with white wool, add googly eyes and you’ve got yourself a yarn mummy. String a bunch together to create Halloween bunting.
5. Leaf wreath
Decorate your door with this autumnal alternative to a festive wreath. You can used coloured craft paper or paint your own paper leaves – follow this step-by-step guide from Happiness is Homemade.
6. Paper plate hedgehog
With some careful cutting (under adult supervision, of course), you can turn a paper plate into a spiky hedgehog, ready to paint or colour with crayons.
7. Painted acorns
The possibilities are endless with this simple but fun idea. Collect fallen acorns, bake them at about 100ºC for around two hours (to kill any bugs and dry them out), allow them to cool, then grab your paints and paintbrushes. You could use neon or rainbow brights, metallic gold or silver, or turn your acorns into Halloween pumpkins or ghosts with cartoon faces.
8. Lollipop spiders
Turn yummy lollipops into eight-legged arachnids with just a few black pipe cleaners and pairs of googly eyes.
9. Mummy lanterns
Save empty glass jars of varying sizes, wrap them in white bandages (use craft glue to fix the ends) and stick on googly eyes to create a family of mummy lanterns that look even more spooky when you put flameless LED tealights inside.