Little Acorn Necklaces
Bucket full of acorns
Very small screwdriver or other sharp tool
Long doll-making needle
Where we live, there is an abundance of acorns on our property each autumn. We often use the acorns for crafting, little wee-folk heads or for simple play, but one year we decided to get a bit more creative and make little acorn necklaces.
Please keep in mind that acorns are a choking hazard and the very young children in our nursery school are not allowed to play with them. This activity should be for older children under the supervision of an adult.
To begin, I prepared the acorns by creating a hole through each one with a very small screwdriver. This could be done with any small and sturdy tool but keep in mind it is very time-consuming and you will lose a few acorns from cracking during the process. You may wish to do this prep work a few days before making the necklace with your children.
We then threaded a long doll-making needle with double strands of thread, leaving enough length for our necklace and then some. Again, the needle is a very sharp tool that should be used with caution and adult supervision.
One by one, we threaded an acorn on our necklace. We chose to keep it simple but many different varieties can be used to create a one-of-a-kind autumn keepsake. You can add beads, felt and other items to your necklace as you see fit.
Little Pumpkin Candles
Very tiny pumpkins (found at grocery or farms seasonally)
Cordless drill with 1” spade bit (or holes can be carved carefully with knife)
Candle wicks for beeswax
This is a very simple craft for very young children. Tiny pumpkins should have holes drilled or carved in the tops before doing the activity.
Each child is given one sheet of beeswax and candle wick. Work with the child to roll the beeswax tightly over the wick to make a candle.
After the candle is made, the children will delight in placing it into their very own pumpkin holder. This is a fun activity around Halloween or Thanksgiving and the candles can be added to your seasonal nature space or table.
3 lbs. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2/3 cups of sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup water
Homemade applesauce is such a warm and nourishing snack for children especially during the autumn months. This activity can be done with a mixed aged group and is a wonderful after school snack.
The apples will first need to be peeled, cut and cored. This job can be time consuming and is best suited for much older children or adults. Younger children can be tasked with chopping the apples with a dull knife.
Allow younger children the opportunity to help by setting up supplies, placing the apples in the bowl or help with cleaning up.
Place apple pieces into a large pot and add the cinnamon, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Let cool and children can then help stir and serve.
Place your leaf underneath or in-between paper. With the side of a stick or block crayon, ask children to rub over the leaf to reveal the leaf design.
Multiple colors can be used to create a beautiful design.
We used many of these as cards for family and friends during Thanksgiving time. They can also be a beautiful background for name cards for family dinners.
Corn Husk Dolls
In some Native American traditions, making cornhusk dolls and doing corn dances were a way to give thanks and celebrate harvest time.
This activity may be difficult for small children – be sure to work with them closely and allow them to be ‘helpers’ during the more difficult parts.
Corn husks – found at farmer’s markets, craft stores, or ask the produce department of your local grocery store if you can take some
String or yarn
Pail of water
Have the children place the cornhusks in the pail of water until they are very soft and easy to bend. Separate the husks. (Each doll requires 10-15 husks to complete.)
Begin with four husks approximately the same size and lay them on top of one another. With your yarn, help the children tie the pointy ends of the husks together to close the top and bottom. This is the body of your doll.
Take two husks in each hand and fold them over the yarn so the string is inside. The fold is the top of the doll’s head. Pull a string around the husks and tie to make the head.
Take another husk and smooth it flat, cut the pointed end straight with a scissor. Roll the husk into a tight tube to make the arm. Do this again for the other arm. Tie each end of the arm tube with string. Put the tube between the body right below the head. Tie a piece of string around the body right below the arms to hold them in place. Wrap another husk around the back of the neck and criss-cross it around the chest to make shoulders. Tie it around the waist to stay on the doll. To make legs, separate the body husks into two equal parts below the waist… tie each section at the ankle to complete.
These dolls are meant to have no face. Hair for your doll can be made with additional husks, yarn, silk or twine and added with hot glue. You can make clothing for your doll when you need to engage children in an extra activity.
Eileen is a work-at-home mother to four daughters. She writes and publishes monthly nature guides for parents and caregivers of young children at Little Acorn Learning and has many ideas and activities for parents on her blog at Eileen’s Place.