Autumn must surely be the most generous season of all. When we go out for our walks, one thing we make sure to remember is our basket to carry the multitude of treasures we find along the way. Our basket quickly fills up with pine cones, acorns and beautifully colored leaves, along with the customary moss and sticks and pine needles. Indeed, venturing outside is a treasure hunt not to be missed.
The power I hold in my children’s enjoyment never ceases to amaze me. The tiniest interest I show in a black stone, avalanches into a stone collecting adventure and we end up with a pile of gold and crystals and even coal that the gnomes must have left behind. I admit that it would be easier to smile and nod at the stone Teddy holds up to show me. It would be easier to walk on and let him collect stones. But, if I gasp instead and say, ‘Is that a piece of copper from King Solomon’s Mines?’, his whole being lights up and so starts a mining expedition that King Solomon himself would be envious of. All it takes is a tiny spark to ignite an adventure that is so much greater than a mere walk around the park. Being present in his play is a gift I give him. And, would you know, being a part of such fanciful imaginings turns out to be more precious to me than if the stones were in fact the gold Teddy professes them to be. Being present in his imaginings gives me a glimpse of the magic of childhood I too once possessed but has long since slipped through my fingers. As is often the case when we give freely, what we get in return is so much greater than the gift we have given.
I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Roald Dahl (intended more for adults than children, I think) ~
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl.
When we get home from our Autumn walks, we empty our basket onto the floor and sort through the treasures we have found. Some of it goes off to be added to precious collections, some to play baskets. The rest of it inspires a craft project like this Autumn Fairy…
Our favorite crafts are ones that use the materials we have collected on nature walks or can be easily found around the home or at our local craft or hardware store.
Our Autumn Fairy craft requires :
1. Autumn leaves (foraged from the grand old trees in our back yard)
2. A pine cone (stolen from our neighbors yard)
3. A large acorn cap (found under the oak tree down the road)
4. Rusty orange wool roving (found online at Etsy.com)
5. One white felt ball (found on Etsy.com but a 1 inch round wooden ball will work just as well)
6. A little string
7. A hot glue gun
Step 1 – The Head
Prepare your fairies head by adding hair to the round felt ball.
Break off a strip of the rusty orange roving about the length of your hand. Dab a little glue from the hot glue gun onto the ball and stick the rusty orange ‘hair’ onto the ball.
Hold the hair in place until it has stuck fast.
Add a dab of glue into the inside of the acorn cap and stick it onto your fairies rusty orange head.
Again, hold it in place until it has stuck fast.
You might think that crafting with children is just a fun way to pass the time. While it is fun for you and your child, crafting holds a multitude of other extremely important benefits for both of you. For your child, she is exploring her creativity, she is playing with colors and textures. She is opening her artistic portal and exercising the right side of her brain. But, at the same time, she is working with her hands too. She is using her fine motor skills to hold small objects. She is using her hand / eye coordination to put the various parts of the craft together. It takes concentration to put a tiny blob of glue in just the right place and then position a small acorn cap on the glue and hold it until it is stuck. So, she is using the left side of her brain too. Experts tell us that any exercise that gets us to use both sides of our brains at the same time is extremely beneficial. It opens the pathways between the two sides of our brains and strengthens the synapses that connect them, allowing us to utilize both sides efficiently. We all know that critical thinking is important… but how much more beneficial is creative critical thinking?
Step 2 – The Body
The upside-down pine cone will be your Autumn Fairies body. Dab a bit of glue from your hot glue gun onto the base of your pine cone.
Stick your fairies head onto the base of your pine cone.
Step 3 – The Wings
Choose two beautifully colorful Autumn leaves.
Dab a little glue onto the stems of your leaves and stick them onto the back of your Pine Cone Autumn Fairy.
Tie a little strand of string onto the stem of the acorn to hang your Autumn Fairy.
In our home, she hangs in the front window and catches the afternoon sunshine… she glows orange and gold and reminds us daily of Autumns generosity.
But, more gorgeous than our gorgeous Autumn Fairy, is the look I see in my daughter’s eye as she gazes at her beautiful creation. She gathered the materials, she envisioned a fairy and then she made her with her very own hands. She followed an original idea from it’s inception to it’s meaningful completion. What a sense of accomplishment she feels as she holds her creation in her hands. I see her confidence in her own ability has grown through this fun crafting experience… she is the maker of beautiful things. I love her.
Here’s a link to see more of our autumn crafting with natural materials.
Blessings and magic,