Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Criss Cross Applesauce

It's here - my favorite season of the year - Fall! I love the crisp days, getting out to pick apples or heading to the pumpkin patch or corn maze. So many fun activities to do with children during the fall. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Stamping - A fun simple activity with lots of options. You'll need paint (I prefer tempera with a little liquid dish soap added - helps with clean up), shallow container for paint and your paper (you could also use a gift bag, lunch bag or large craft paper which makes wonderful gift wrap too, use your imagination). Cut the apple in half. Cutting across the will give you the seed zone looking like a star while cutting along the stem line will give you a traditional apple profile. Dip apple into the paint and stamp onto the paper. Let dry. Children can add details to create their own apple masterpieces.
  • Homemade Applesauce - This is a simple recipe that can be tweaked in may ways and works if you have just a few apples or a lot. I prefer using a combination of apples for their depth of flavor. Skin, core and cut apples into bite sized pieces. Cook the applesauce on the stove top in an appropriate size pot at a medium low heat until apples are tender - you do need to stir frequently and you may need to add a little water to keep the apples moist as they cook. Remove from heat and begin mashing. Using a potato masher is best . . . and the most fun! After apples are mashed to your liking and a cooled a bit, taste for addition of sugar and cinnamon. Some apple combinations are so tasty you may not need to add much additional sweeter. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste - stir well. Include the children in as many steps as they are able to help. I would sometimes cook a small pot of applesauce per child so they could each help in their own way - but the mashing was by far their favorite part. Eat warm or cold. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Apple Tree Painting - This is another creative fun activity that you can do in so many different ways. Here is one option. Using finger paints and finger paint paper (or other glossy type paper) have children create their base tree including trunk and leaves. This is a great activity to do after your trip to the orchard because they will have experienced apple trees up close. The apples are placed onto the tree using just the finger tips. Note: sliding the finger tips along and then quickly lifting finger makes for great leaves and bark can be textured by layering on the paint. For children with sensitivity to textures you can still use finger paints, either have them wear plastic gloves so they get a similar experience or they can use other tools to manipulate the paint (popsicle sticks, dowels, plastic spoon or knife, Q-tips, etc.).
  • Paper Bag Pumpkin - You'll need a lunch sized paper bag, old newspaper, markers / crayons / paint, and glue. Using crayons or markers decorate the bag to look like a pumpkin or jack-o-lantern. If you are using paint you'll want to stuff the bag first. Stuff the bag about 3/4 way with scrunched up newspaper. Twist the top of the bag tightly as possible to form the stem. Using a foam brush coat stem with a "wash" of glue and let dry. We actually just got our hands in the glue and worked it into the stem which works great too! If you've painted the pumpkin, let it dry thoroughly and then you can add details later.
  • Pumpkin Patch Finger Painting - Using finger paints let the children create their own pumpkin patch. Finger prints work great as individual pumpkins. We made vines using finger paint on toothpicks. This is a great activity after a visit to the pumpkin patch. Let their creative juices flow!
  • Pumpkin Puzzle - We've made lots of homemade puzzles. Here are some options that we liked - create your own pumpkin scene, use a magazine photos or a collage of photos we took during our pumpkin patch outing. No matter what you are using mount your photo or artwork onto card stock and then cut apart. You can vary the difficulty of the puzzle with the number of pieces you cut. As the children got older we'd mix different puzzles together which meant the first thing to be done was sort out each puzzles pieces before starting to assemble. I always kept a smaller photo of the completed puzzle in a zip-lock bag so we'd have a reference if needed.  
  • Tissue Leaf - This is simple art project for a variety of ages. Either you or the children make a large outline of a leaf on a piece of drawing paper. Then fill the leaf outline in with tissue paper of various colors and sizes. We sometimes cut the tissue, but more often enjoyed just tearing the paper into smaller pieces. You can use liquid glue or glue sticks for this project. We liked the liquid glue, using a paint brush to apply. The children felt it helped layer the tissue better. While two of the children preferred the traditional leaf colors - reds, golds, browns, tans, greens, etc. - the other child expanded her leaf creation using a full spectrum of colors. You can get large multi-color packages of tissue paper at a good price and I always had some on hand for this type of project as well as for gifts.
  • Leaf Book - What can you do with those leaves the children have collected? Using clear contact paper they can make their own leaf book! We collected a variety of leaves and then researched what trees they were from so that we could label them in our book. Make sure all the leaves are dry before sealing them between sheets of clear contact paper along with the name of the tree it came from or any other details. This is a great time to include story telling. If the children a non-writers they can dictate their story to you to be included in their book. The children finished their books with their own colored drawing for the cover and made a back cover. All sheets were cut to fit into the book - you can vary the size as you see fit - and then using a whole punch and a hinged metal book ring the book comes together. You can get the book rings at your local craft or office supply store.
These are few of my favorite fall projects - they are hands on experiences. It is the process not the product that counts! Enjoy!
We'd love to hear about your favorite projects!

No comments:

Post a Comment