Fall is the time of year when people begin thinking about cooler weather and the changes taking place outdoors. This is a great time to bond with one’s toddler-age children as older children are returning to school and the house is emptier. Toddlers love activities that are colorful and require the use of their hands and their imaginations. No matter what interests a child may have, one of these great fall projects is sure to stimulate them and create a day to remember.
§ Finger painting is a great activity in the fall since it can be done indoors on cold or wet days. The colors of the autumn can be great inspiration here as children mimic the bright colors of leaves. To make an individualized tree for finger painting, the child can dip his hand into brown paint and create a great tree with five finger branches.
§ Crafts with real leaves, pinecones, acorns and more are a perfect way to celebrate the fall. Create a wreath made of pinecones glued to a Styrofoam circular wreath form. Glue leaves onto construction paper or poster board, then laminate both sides for unique autumn placemats.
§ After choosing a pumpkin at a local pumpkin patch, the toddler can use finger paints or large foam paint brushes with washable paint to decorate the pumpkin safely. Finish the pumpkin by gluing on craft eyes and a felt mouth.
§ Picking apples at an orchard is a great way to get into the crisp outdoor air while teaching the child about how apples grow. The apples can be eaten with peanut butter for a snack or can be made into applesauce.
§ Raking leaves is a fun and necessary fall project. Even a toddler can help with a child-sized rake. Make it a vigorous activity by jumping into the pile afterwards, or create a game by hiding a toy or sucker in the pile of leaves and searching for it.
§ Nature walks are easy to do at multiple state parks, in city parks or around the yard. The child can use simple white printer paper and colorful crayons to make leaf and bark rubbings.
§ Baking cookies is a fun way for a child to get involved in the kitchen with mom. The child can mix dry ingredients together, help mom use a measuring cup and shape cookies into balls.
§ Rice crispy treats are fun for a child to shape into fall objects like acorns, pumpkins and turkeys. The treats can then be decorated with sprinkles, frosting or other goodies to make personalized designs.
§ Caramel apples can be made with apples picked at a local orchard. Although children should not be allowed to heat up the caramels, they can help put a stick in each apple, dip the apple and decorate it with sprinkles and other fun baking accessories.
§ Helping create Halloween costumes is a great way for a child to become involved with something created just for him. Creative costumes can be easy and homemade by using leftover material, duct tape, string, fabric paints and other household staples.
§ For Thanksgiving, toddlers can help to make table decorations. Making a tracing of their hands on construction paper and cutting them out can create the feathers of a turkey. Other projects include construction paper pumpkins and paper cornucopias filled with candy pumpkins. Letting the child become involved in each place setting will give him the feeling of involvement and importance.
§ Stuff a scarecrow for the yard with old work clothes, a straw hat, some burlap and hay from a local farm. Toddlers will love to create a decoration for the yard and will enjoy personalizing the scarecrow’s face.
These are just a sampling of some of the fun projects that toddlers will especially enjoy in the fall. Family living websites have other specific arts and crafts projects specifically designed for toddler-age children. One example with numerous ideas is http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Fall-Crafts.html. To find apple orchards, check out http://www.orangepippin.com/orchards. To find pumpkin patches, hayrides and other fun outdoor activities, go to http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/ and click on the specific state. Toddlers love having their imaginations sparked, and any of these fall projects will do just that.