65 Fun Fall Crafts!!! (And they’re easy, too!)
Each edition of Playdate magazine is on newsstands for about two months, and the October/November edition will be on newsstands for exactly 65 days. So here’s a list of 65 fun arts and crafts projects, kid-friendly recipes and easy activities that families can whip up in an afternoon or over a crisp fall weekend.
Sept. 21: National “Dog Week” is Sept. 19-25, so celebrate by making your dog homemade dog treats.
Sept. 22: Make quacky – ahem – whacky soap with a duck. Melt glycerin soap in microwave. (Look at the directions — one brand states to microwave on high for 40 seconds, with 10-second intervals. You can also use a double broiler.) Pour into disposable, rectangular plastic dish. Add a few drops of blue coloring and stir. Set squirt toy on top. Leave in cool, dry area to set (about 2-4 hours). Get sudsy!
Sept. 23: Bath time! Why not make your own bath salts? Combine 4 cups of fine sea salt, 1 ½ cups of Epsom salts, 1 cup of course sea salt and throw in some essential oils. Vanilla, jasmine and sandalwood are exotic oils, while lavender, sweet orange, fennel and rosemary are soothing. Birch, ginger and peppermint oils can help relieve pain. Great too for parents who need rejuvenation!
Sept. 24: Great for a ‘tween girls spa day or slumber party: Make a facial scrub. Combine 1 cup almonds, 1 cup oatmeal and ½ oz. lavender. Put ingredients in blender (Mom or Dad, not the kids!) and grind until smooth. Mix with water or milk to make a paste and scrub face lightly for one minute (avoid eyes!). Rinse and pat dry. Then gossip all day about boys!
Sept. 25: Keep that toddler busy with an exploring set. Gather six 8-ounce water bottles, removing labels. Fill each bottle with something for baby to discover. Some ideas: a mix of water and glitter; or go snow globe style with tiny toys, water, glitter and a few drops of food coloring and glycerin; jingle bells; fluffy pom poms or dried beans. Once you’ve filled them all, glue the lids on tight for safety.
Sept. 26: Sept. 25-Oct. 1 is national “Keep Kids Creative Week!” Let’s write a haiku. Haikus are three lines, remembering the 5-7-5 rule: the first line contains five syllables, the second line features seven syllables, and the last line has five syllables. Here is an example: Playdate magazine / Celebrates the coming fall / Enjoy the season! Send us your kids’ haikus!
Sept. 27: Jot down words and ideas to create a story. Big ideas are fun, but the details can be daunting. Try helping your child make a list or jot down ideas in some form. You can transform these notes into a story later on. Provide details of a scene and explain thoughts, actions, and emotions. Focus on sensory details — the five senses — unless your child wants to venture down the path of exploring what a sixth or seventh sense might look like! (Perfect for Halloween!)
Sept. 28: Help your little bards. Write or type your child’s ideas down as he or she tells them to you. This teamwork might reduce pressure on your child to “complete” a book or story project on his or her own. Emphasize working together. This teamwork aspect will still allow your child to have a primary role in the creative process.
Sept. 29: Create your child’s own book. This can be out of standard paper, colored construction paper or a combination of both. Sometimes having a homemade book in hand is encouraging enough to get someone motivated to write down the ideas and see (and hold!) his or her own book!
Sept. 30: Create a ’zine or chapbook. If construction paper isn’t your thing, you can mix up the materials. Try a chapbook, or even a “’zine,” and be as artsy/crafty as you and your child want to be! Encourage your child’s imagination, so he or she can include drawings, photos, cutouts, stickers and so on to combine with words, sentences or an overall story. Here are some instructions on how to make a chapbook: www.pw.org/content/diy_how_make_saddlestitched_chapbook
Oct. 1: Today, believe it or not, is “World Card Making Day.” Make your own “Mandala” greeting cards. Gather the following materials:
• Old CDs (outdated software is a great source)
• Markers, pens, colored pencils or crayons
• Rulers, protractors or French curves
• Strathmore 5 x 7 blank greeting cards with deckled finish (Or something similar. Available at local art and stationary stores).
1) Take a used CD and recycled paper.
2) Have the kids practice tracing a circle on recycled copy paper with pen or pencil.
3) Ask them to offer you a fraction. (This is great for helping teach time with analog clocks.)
Most will offer “1/2″ or “1/4.” Demonstrate drawing those portion on your example sheet.
4) Ask the same question. Demonstrate breaking the large pattern into smaller patterns.
5) Don’t get too technical, just show them how to create patterns with a couple of fractions.
(Most of them catch on pretty quickly and want to start the card right away.)
6) Have the children explain to you their “plan” or “direction” from the recycled paper.
7) Now offer them the Strathmore greeting card. The CD fits on one side with the deckel (a colored strip of green or red that looks ‘ripped’)
Have at it! Depending on their level and patience, the possibilities are infinite.
For older kids, have them research “Serenpinski’s Triangle” and fractal math for ideas.
Oct. 2: Have little actors in your house? Act out a story. Dress up, make it a play and perform!
Oct. 3: Did we say cake pops? Yes we did. Here’s an easy recipe for a delicious and fun dessert:
Ingredients & Recipe:
~ 1 box cake mix (and necessary ingredients to bake it)
~ 1 container frosting
~ 12 to 16 oz candy melts or chocolate wafers; they have chocolate and colored. For best results, don’t use chocolate chips; they don’t harden & won’t create a very good shell.
(Wafers & melts are available locally at Cake Decorator Shoppe or Michael’s.)
~ sprinkles or candies to decorate
~ package of sticks for pops and bags if wrapping individually (Available locally at Cake Decorator Shoppe or Michael’s.)
•Bake cake of choice. Let cool completely. Cut into four sections, rub two sections together so they crumble. •Crumble entire cake into bowl. Mix in container of frosting.
•Roll dough into 1-inch balls and chill for 15 minutes.
•Microwave chocolate wafers according to package directions (Melt slowly, 30 seconds at a time, otherwise chocolate will burn).
•Insert sticks halfway into balls of dough.
•Chill 15 more minutes.
•Dip into chocolate and add sprinkles.
•Chill a few more minutes so chocolate sets & enjoy!
Oct. 4: Have a wood-burning fireplace? Make a fire starter out of egg cartons, shredded paper, lint, wax. Take a small handful of shredded paper and put it in the egg carton, then take a pinch of lint and put it on top of the paper. Make it compact. Melt wax from candles in a double broiler, and then pour a tablespoon of wax in each cup. (If you notice it begins to seep through the carton, that’s good! It will bind together.) This is a quick, messy and fun craft!
Oct. 5: It’s Balloons Around the World Day. Send a message attached to a balloon — write something inspiring to whoever may find it!
Oct. 6: Throw a “Merry Unbirthday” party to celebrate Mad Hatter Day. Make a cake, bake cookies, play games, dress up or have a tea party. Act goofy!
Oct. 7: Turn that frown upside down … it’s World Smile Day. Go outside and smile at everyone! See what happens and record your findings!
Oct. 8: Sing…sing a song…sing out loud…sing out strong! Make instruments with empty glass bottles, using sticks to make drums sounds and using your lips to blow into them for tones. Fill one bottle ¾ of the way from the top, one half full, the other only ¼ full, and one empty. Compare sounds. Change it up. Make music!
Oct. 9: It’s Leif Erikson Day, so make a boat. Take a piece of bark, insert a leaf with a stem, and let it sail!
Oct. 10: I’m on a boat! This time, make believe for Columbus Day. Make a boat out of cardboard boxes, a sailor’s hat out of newspaper, and sail the ocean blue in your imagination!
Oct. 11: Recycle those stubby crayons, Mom and Dad.
Classic version: Gather broken crayons, removing paper labels. Put about four full crayons’ worth of pieces into each cup of a muffin tin. Put tin in a 375-degree oven for about 6-7 minutes, then let cool. New fun crayons!
Fun version: Swirl colors with a toothpick when they come out of the oven. Or melt crayons in small cupcake cups in the microwave, then pour into candy molds for fun shapes! (But be careful-HOT!)
Oct. 12: Betcha’ didn’t know it, but today is International Top Spinning Day. Show off by making your own spin top with a toothpick and any plastic bottle cap. Puncture a small hole in the cap so the toothpick can fit snugly inside. Decorate the cap as you like it, and let the spin begin! Visit this link to see a video!
Oct. 13: It’s an oldie but a goody: build a fort. Use boxes, blankets, chairs and pillows. Make popcorn and enjoy a movie through an opening in the blankets, or take your laptop with you inside the fort to watch a movie. Invite the dog in, too. Make your fort as big, creative and elaborate as you can, and send us pictures!
Oct. 14: Two greats come together: eggs and Dr. Seuss. To celebrate World Egg Day, make green eggs and ham and read the Dr. Seuss book!
Oct. 15: Sweetest Day. Outdo everyone else in the house by being the sweetest of them all. Do a kind act or give someone a compliment. Make sweets for your friends, neighbors and family!
Oct. 16: Nothing quite tops a Yakima apple, so to commemorate World Food Day, try this crunchy sweet Apple Crisp recipe, courtesy of the folks at Fresh Taste Meals.
Ingredients & Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, gently fold together the following ingredients:
4 cups peeled sliced Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
•Spread apple mixture over the bottom of a large greased pan.
•In a medium bowl use your hands to combine the following ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oats
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups melted butter
•Crumble this mixture over the filling in the pan.
•Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the crumb mixture.
•Bake in oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Apple mixture will bubble and topping will be golden brown.
Oct. 17: Make a princess or a party hat! Get a circle to trace – the diameter of the circle determines the height of the hat. Trace the circle onto a sheet of pretty craft paper or poster board that’s not too thick to bend. Draw a “pie piece” into it that’s about a ¼ of the circle. Cut out the circle without the pie piece. If you used craft paper, roll into a cone and adhere with glue or strong tape. If you used poster board, you can cut the same shape out of material and glue the material onto the poster board before you roll into a cone. Decorate with pom poms, glitter, ribbon, artificial flowers, old jewelry or whatever you have on hand. Look adorable!
Oct. 18: Make a wand. Take a dowel or stick, wrap a ribbon around it, and tie ribbon around the top to make streamers. (Wave wand and practice saying “Bippity-boppity-boo!”)
Oct. 19: Let’s go camping…at home! If you have a fire pit, make s’mores. If not, use the microwave or grill in aluminum foil on the barbecue. Make up spooky stories around the fireplace and enjoy the treats.
Oct. 20: Fall Tree Print. This one is messy, so kids love it! Add brown finger paint to a paper plate, then dip child’s hand and wrist, palm down, into the plate. Have them make a hand/wrist print onto a big piece of white paper. That’s your tree. Then have them dip their fingers into plates of green, yellow, or orange paint, and use their fingerprints to make multicolored fall leaves.
Oct. 21: Got a pillow case? Make a costume with it! Cut a hole in the top and on the sides. Glue on buttons and ribbons.
Oct. 22: Mix up a ghoulish Halloween punch. Mix lemonade, a blueberry drink mix, ice cubes and gummy worms. You should get a lovely green “slime” color, and the gummy worms can either hang off the edge of the bowl or just be in the punch!
Oct. 23: Make a pumpkin man, man!
Oct. 24: Enroll your kids in Monster Fighter training. See story by Courtney Crutcher on how.
Oct. 25: This one’s gross…and your kids will love it. Make a meat head!
1 full-sized plastic human skull
1.5 lbs. thin-sliced deli meat (your choice!)
Cream cheese, BBQ sauce, or cranberry sauce (see below)
2 hard-boiled egg yolks, round mini-mozzarella pieces, or cocktail onions
2 slices of pimento-stuffed green olive
Instructions: 1. Buy a plastic skull. Wash the skull with soap and water and allow to dry.
2. Spread a “base” over the skull. BBQ sauce and jellied cranberry sauce give the skull a bloody, gory look as your guests lift away the lunch meat. Cream cheese is not as fun, but probably tastes better with most meats. This is entirely your choice.
3. Evenly distribute your lunch meat over the prepared skull, leaving openings at the eyes and mouth. Smallish pieces of meat work better than larger ones, as they’re easier to manipulate and form. You may need to use toothpicks to get some of the meat to stay in place.
4. For eyes, place one hard boiled egg yolk or small mozzarella cheese ball in each eye socket. Top with a slice of pimento-stuffed green olive.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Oct. 26: Make your own magnets — they’re so attractive! Get it?
Mix up a basic salt dough. (Recipe below or use your own.) Roll out the dough, having kids use leaf-shaped cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Let them air dry (or bake, depending what type of recipe you use). Then just paint and glue magnets to the back. Perfect to hang school art on the fridge!
Salt Dough: In a big bowl, mix 1 cup salt and 2 cups flour together. Slowly add 1/2 cup of cold water and mix. Knead the dough on counter, adding a few more drops of water if needed, but don’t let it get gooey. Takes a day or so to dry.
Oct. 27: Make a regular ol’ red velvet cake into a VAMPIRE CAKE! Just color the frosting red too! (If you put raspberries in the middle, it’s kind of healthy.)
Oct. 28: Play the Gross Out/Guess What game to celebrate Frankenstein Friday. Place “mysterious” food items in paper bags and have kids guess which gross item it is. Grapes are good for eyeballs, cottage cheese for vampire vomit and spaghetti for zombie brains. UGH!
Oct. 29: Make a butterfly out of a regular empty coffee can. Wrap can in pretty craft paper; cut heart shaped “wings” from a different craft paper, taping to either side of the can; then tape strips of paper (or sticker strips) around the can; add eyes to the front and a smiley face. Put rocks, jelly beans or candy in the can, adding squiggly pipe cleaners for the antennae!
Oct. 30: Make a jack-o-lantern! Then send us photos!
Oct. 31: Mmm…caramel apples. Melt caramel (either caramel candies or make it from scratch) and dip apples (on a stick) in the caramel. Perfect since it’s National Caramel Apple Day (hey – and Halloween!). You can decorate them too. Or if you don’t have a lot of time, just dip slices of apples in melted caramel for a nice snack.
Nov. 1: Halloween may be over, but the fun doesn’t have to be … kids can dress up like a favorite super hero, doll or character and help mom and dad with chores!
Nov. 2: “Leaf” the candy in the house and get outside! After all those sweets, kids need some exercise. Rake up as many leaves then dive in the pile (you, too, Mom and Dad)! Breathe in the new November air!
Nov. 3: Grab some plain clay pots at a craft store and make simple hand-print decorations on the outside.
Nov. 4: Use tracing paper to trace all the different shapes and sizes of leaves in your own backyard or nearby park.
Nov. 5: Press fall leaves in a heavy book, wait until they’re dry, then make a colorful collage on construction paper.
Nov. 6: Head to a fabrics store to get materials for a “no sew” blanket, just in time for the chilly weather! These are easy to make, but you can find directions on our website!
No-Sew Fleece Blanket
Materials Needed: Fleece blanket, scissors, yardstick, ruler
1. Pick your fleece. You can pick a pattern for the front side and a matching fleece with a solid color for the back side, but any combination that you like will do. You will need 2 ½ feet of fleece material for each side of the blanket (this would make an adult 6 ft. blanket). OR: You will need 1 ½ ft. to 1 ¾ ft. of fleece material for each side of the blanket to make a kid-sized blanket.
2. Lay both pieces of the fleece, with the wrong sides facing each other, on a table, and cut off the rough edges. Cut both pieces of fabric at the same time to the same size. Make sure your edges line up together and handle the fleece gently, since it can stretch out of shape easily.
3. Cut a 4-inch square out of each corner of the fleece.
4. Go down each side of the fabric and make 1-inch cuts all along the borders. It may make it easier if you lay a yardstick across the side at the 4-inch so you know how far to make each cut. You may also use a ruler to mark off the one inch points where you cut. Make sure both sides of the fabric are laying together flat as you cut.
5. Once you have cut the 1-inch strips around all four sides, you are ready to tie the two pieces of fabric together. Taking the two strands together, raise them up and then bring them back through the circle, from the back to the front. Tie a firm, but not tight, knot. Once you have all of the strips tied, your project is done!
Nov. 7: Practice writing skills: start writing those letters to Santa Claus!
Nov. 8: Make a picture frame out of popsicle sticks. Take four popsicle sticks, glue them together to form a square, and color and decorate the sticks as you see fit. Glue a photo behind the frame, and glue a magnet on the back so you can hang on your refrigerator.
Nov. 9: Get that blood sugar up with this Yakima Apple Pie Snack Mix. Combine a couple of cups each of three different favorite cereals — we like Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch — to a big bowl. Melt ¼ butter and add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp apple pie spice to it. Pour over cereal and mix up. Then cook, stirring often, in microwave another 3-4 minutes. Spread on wax paper to cool, then add 2 cups dried apple slices, plus your choice of walnuts, white choc chips, sunflower seeds or raisins. Enjoy in the fall sunshine!
Nov. 10: Choreograph a dance. Perform for friends and family. Involve props, music and costumes.
Nov. 11: Veterans Day. Make a patriotic wand or flag. See direction on Oct. 18, and modify to use red, white and blue colors.
Nov. 12: Make your own Playdough. You’ll need:
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup salt
1 tablespoon alum
2 cups boiling water
5 tablespoon vegetable oil
Mix together the flour, salt and alum. Add boiling water, oil and coloring. Being careful of hot dough, kneed. Cool. Store in a plastic bag. Have fun!
Nov. 13: It’s International Tongue Twister Day. Read Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks. Or Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. No, stick to Fox in Socks.
Nov. 14: Craft a homework helper. Get an empty tin can, sanding the top edge for safety. Let kids cut out comic strips, toys from Sunday’s newspaper ads or tissue paper. Use Mod Podge to glue the paper on, adding a top layer to seal. If you want, add ribbon and tie a small favorite toy around the holder too. Now they have a great spot for pencils on their desks!
Nov. 15: …Or a chore money jar. Rinse out and dry an empty baby formula container. Decorate with fun papers and Mod Podge, similar to above. Cut a small slot in the top of the container to drop change through
Nov. 16: Help them organize their lockers, too, with a magnetic locker organizer. Use metal or plastic band-aid boxes, cover with craft paper and decorations (or just keep plain). Then add sheet magnets to cover the whole backside of the container. Just attach to the inside of locker.
Nov. 17: Another oldie but goodie…using any type of pretty paper, make paper snowflakes and put them in a bedroom window. Use lots of colors. You can find patterns on the Internet.
Nov. 18: It’s Mickey Mouse Day … make Mickey Mouse pancakes. Easy and delicious!
Nov. 19: Make your own Sidewalk Chalk. Coat the inside of an old ice cube tray with petroleum jelly. Mix up 1 cup plaster of paris and 1/2 cup of water in a disposable plastic container for about a minute. Quickly add a couple tablespoons of liquid tempera paint and mix. Scoop it into ice cube tray, and tap to make sure it packs in firm. Dry overnight before using.
Nov. 20: Go on a pinecone hunt! Get a few big ones for upcoming crafts. See what other cool things you can find (unusual leaves, colorful rocks, funny looking sticks, etc.).
Nov. 21: Make a pinecone bird feeder. Take a giant pine cone you found on the pinecone hunt on Nov. 20, and saturate it bird seed mixed with peanut butter. Take a string or ribbon and tie it around the top of the coated pinecone to hang on a tree branch, and watch the birds rejoice! (Just be sure to hang it high enough so it’s out of reach of the dog or the kids!)
Nov. 22: Make a pinecone turkey. After finding the pinecone of your choice, use either colored craft feathers, cut-out construction paper, or colorful pipe cleaners to create the tail feathers. For the turkey’s head, you have a few options: glue an acorn, add some googley eyes, cut out a piece of felt for the beak and gobbler (or use construction paper). There are plenty of other ways to decorate your turkey, so be as creative as you can!
Nov. 23: Make a clay turkey using your kids’ hands! Sculpey Clay works well, but use your own preference of baking or hardening clay. Squish the imprint of your child’s hand on a rolled-out piece of clay, and then use an Exacto knife and cut around the outside of the print. Cut out shapes for the turkey beak and gobbler and add to the thumb of the handprint. Bake clay according to what type of clay you have (follow directions with specific product you use). Let your kids paint the cooked product!
Nov. 24: Thanksgiving. Eat turkey! … and think about everything you’re grateful for. Practice your best gobbling imitation – without food in your mouth, of course!
Thank you to the many readers who contributed to this list: Jennifer Wolman, a stay-at-home mom and arts/crafts expert; Meagan Paullin, local mom and owner and creative director of Sunshine and Sippy Cups (sunshineandsippycups.com), Doug Johnson, director of Cave Moon Press and local teacher; Ryan Miller, Alex Mitchell, Kimberly Klepach and Yakima Herald-Republic staff members.
Filed under Crafts, Featured Stories, From the Mag, Projects and Crafts