October 24, 2022
Recently, my children and I created a simple, cute fall craft that I would like to share with you today. What I love about this craft is that it is adjustable for any age, making it a perfect “family” craft that any child can enjoy. I don’t know about you, but the thought of setting up multiple craft stations with individual crafts for each age is daunting and overwhelming to me. Simple and flexible sounds good to me!
Before I delve into the actual craft, I would like to share a few thoughts about doing crafts with your children.
Set up before letting the kids get into the art supplies.
If you are anything like our family, I can barely set the table up fast enough before the kids dig into the art supplies. I try to have the children stay out of the kitchen until I am ready for them to create.
Let my child create his artwork in a way that pleases his eye. Give him the freedom to design his art as he chooses.
My two-year-old’s art looked a bit more like Picasso while my kindergartner took her time and was very detail-oriented. Each piece of art is unique to the child’s individual personality, age, and ability.
Though “fixing” a child’s art project is unbelievably tempting, I have to remind myself to refrain from adjusting my child’s artwork to make it appear “proper” or “correct”.
Before I had children I taught in a preschool, and I was amazed at how picture perfect the K2 art projects in the hall looked. Initially, I thought, “These must be some amazing kids to produce such artwork!” Then after working in the various classrooms during afternoon duties, I realized what was really happening behind the scenes. During the actual student art time, the teacher told the student exactly what to do, and then after the child’s part was complete (very minimal), the teacher’s assistant finished the project.
In my humble opinion, that type of “art” is not the children’s actual artwork. Children need the freedom to explore materials and the freedom to choose what they do with those materials (within reason, of course). For these reasons, I am a fan of what is known as process art which focuses much more on the child learning through the process of making art instead of the end product.
Each child’s art is special and worthy of display.
What I love about homeschooling is that I have the wonderful privilege of praising each child for his unique abilities. Everybody’s best art goes on the fridge; there is no “picking and choosing” which child’s art will be displayed.
When I was in elementary school, only the very best artwork was showcased on the hallway bulletin boards. Needless to say, my artwork never made it to the hallway bulletin boards, and I remember even as a child feeling somewhat sad that my art was never “special” enough to display. Not so with homeschooling! Everybody is an artist, and everybody can showcase his own best work.
Now let’s delve into this easy craft!
Contact paper (the sticky clear stuff in a roll found in the aisle with shelf paper at Walmart)
Construction paper or tissue paper (we used construction paper)
1. Cut out two large rectangles of contact paper for each child.
2. For younger children, precut tree trunk and branch pieces and leaves. For older children, they will enjoy cutting their own tree parts and leaves. For my kindergartner, I traced some leaves for her to cut out.
3. Lay a rectangle of contact paper down on the table and use painter’s tape to secure the corners.
4. Let kids create their own fall tree using the construction pieces! It’s okay if younger children do not position the tree trunk and branches in the “right” place. Younger children’s minds do not classify and organize material in their brains the same way that older children do. Don’t worry!
My daughter opted for a more minimal approach to her tree. I tried to encourage her to add more leaves, but she liked the simple, neat look.
5. Once a child feels a sense of completion, place the top piece of contact paper on the project and smooth out any wrinkles. Let him know that once the top contact paper goes on, he can’t change anything.
6. Trim around the edges.