I don’t know about you, but when I think of autumn I always get a warm glow. Something about the cosy jumpers, comfy boots, auburn leaves and crisp days; snug nights in by the fire, red wine and comfort food… aaah. But since our son was born, there’s been too much food (eating at his times as well as our own), not enough wine (I feel like I’ve been breastfeeding since sometime last century!), and I’m too hot jumping up and down to action songs to wear my snuggly jumpers!
On the upside, there are the cool morning walks when we shuffle through leaves and dance in puddles, and there’s the time spent exploring the woods, running along the beach in the rain, getting the park to ourselves on drizzly days. We’re spending more time in the local library, too – which has to be good. And our toddler classes have started up again after the summer holiday, so our week has structure and purpose and we’ve got new things to learn once more!
This autumn, as our son approaches two years old, he and I will start to do crafting. Making our own art will be messier than buying it – I anticipate that both the crafting process and even the end results will not please my inner perfectionist – but it should be fun nonetheless. And of course, when we’re done and need a wind-down activity, we can sit with the laptop and choose our ideal personalised nursery art right here on the Doodlebump site!
For pre-schoolers, the process of making your own anything is going to be messy, but it will give us a purpose on days when it’s too wet or cold to go outside for long – plus if we don’t get started early, the boy will never be a world famous artist who can support his parents through their early retirement 😉
In our immediate future I see window pictures, decorated animal shapes and masks, paintings and collages, glitter art, spoon puppets, paper chains and more…
Window pictures: Your little one tears pretty shapes (or actual designs, if they’re old enough – think animals, flowers, stars) from sheets of coloured tissue paper, then you help them to lay out a design with their shapes on a laminating sheet. When you’re both happy, close the sheet up and (keeping little fingers well away) run it through a laminator (I found one for £10 in the supermarket!) Then tape some thread to the top to hang it from a hook in the window, or simply blu-tack or tape it to the glass.
Collages, glitter art, masks and shapes: Use anything you have to hand – pasta, rice, lentils, strips of newspaper or torn up magazines, ribbon and string, glitter and stickers – or collect materials like twigs, leaves, pebbles and shells when you go for a walk. Use a washable glue and spread out lots of newspaper to minimise the mess, then let them go crazy (with assistance, of course)! To give their design a recognisable outline, you could cut a piece of cardboard into a simple animal shape first or make a mask for them to decorate.
Spoon puppets: Take a wooden spoon and, using felt pens, draw a face on the oval head of the spoon. Draw hair, or add some felt or wool instead. Cut out the outline of a pair of trousers and a top, or a dress. Colour this, and use tape to secure it to the handle of the spoon just below the face. An adult should be in charge of the scissors (and perhaps in charge of drawing the face, too…); children, meanwhile, can go wild colouring and decorating their puppet(s) – and putting on a fabulous puppet show afterwards, of course!
By Vicky Scowcroft.