Four Easy Fall Family Crafts
As temperatures are beginning to drop and I have had to turn on the heat in my apartment, it has hit me: fall is finally here.
Growing up in Texas, I was of the belief that it’s summer until—well, until it’s not hot for a few months. But as an adult I’ve come to have a new appreciation of fall for its lower temperatures, family traditions, and the cutest children’s crafts, ever.
I have a background in education and have had the opportunity to teach abroad. My experience in teaching revolves around an army of littles who are thirsting for something to do, and an itch to bring creativity into our English class. But some of my favorite low-effort craft ideas can easily be done at home, with your family. Use these to help nurture gratitude in your kids.
Hand Print Wreaths
I love handprint crafts. They are a beautiful way to show kids how God made us similar and yet different from one another.
For this craft, you will need
- a large piece of paper or poster board
- smaller pieces of white or colored paper
- a pen, plus markers or crayons
Draw a large circle on your poster board. Then trace your family’s hands out on the smaller pieces of paper – you can use white and have the kids color them or use colored paper to start with. (My class liked to make the wreaths look like fall, so we used red, green, brown, yellow, and orange paper.)
Each day, have each child write something they are grateful for on one handprint “leaf.” Cut out the handprint and glue it to the circle on your poster board. As you add new handprint leaves, the leaves will form a thanksgiving “wreath.”
My classes liked to save their wreaths in a closet. When we made a new wreath each year, we could look at the ones from previous years to see whose hands had grown the most, and whether they were still grateful for the same things. Your family might enjoy doing the same as a yearly tradition.
Painted Rocks and Leaves
Your kids can help to decorate the house for the holidays. Even the littlest ones can pitch in to paint rocks and leaves to make a festive display on a table or tray.
- an assortment of small rocks or pebbles and tree leaves (easily collected during a family walk)
- washable craft paint in various colors
- a permanent marker or paint marker
- paper plate or newspaper
Using the paper plate or newspaper to protect your table, have your kids paint the rocks and leaves. When the rocks and leaves are dry, use the permanent or paint marker to write a letter on each rock/leaf. Arrange the rocks to spell out a phrase for the holidays (for example, “Thankful” or “Grateful”). Add anything else that reminds you of the season: pinecones, acorns, and more!
Negative-Space Leaf Paintings
This craft is another easy one for young and old, alike. But you might want an apron and a damp cloth handy if you decide to use paint!
- white or colored paper
- an assortment of leaves
(again, easily gathered during an outdoor walk)
- paint or markers
- newspaper to cover and protect your workspace
Stick the leaves to your paper using a small piece of tape on the back of each leaf. Use paint or markers to color over the edges of the leaves, making a “negative space” outline of each one on the paper. Carefully remove the leaves and allow your paper to dry. If you use gold paint like I did, you can repurpose your “gilded” leaves for more decorating.
You can display this just as it is or have your kids color in the leaves with markers. Another option is to make a negative space leaf painting for each person in the family and have everyone write something they are thankful for in the middle of each leaf.
Turkey Thankfulness Jars
Earlier this year, I stayed with my cousins for two weeks and got to join their “family time” ritual every evening. They have two kids, ages three and four. Each night, the whole family sits down and talks about their favorite part of the day and something they’re grateful for. (We have to remind my nephew that we are talking about gratitude for happy things, not naughty things—but that’s half the fun.) This idea could be a really fun way to help get your family in the mood for Thanksgiving!
For this craft you will need
- a mason or other clean glass jar
- markers, crayons, or a permanent marker
First, you’ll want to decorate your jar to look like a turkey. You can draw a face right on the jar or make eyes and a beak out of paper. If you’re drawing a face directly on the glass, you’ll want to use permanent marker to avoid a mess. Then make some tail feathers out of paper to tape or glue onto the back of the jar.
Next, cut some paper into small strips. Leave the strips next to the jar; each evening, have your kids write one thing they are grateful for on a strip of paper and drop it into the jar. Hopefully, your turkey will be very full by Thanksgiving.
Your family can use these ideas as they are—or go crazy and combine several to start a new family tradition! So many of you have been in close quarters with your kids for a long time. I hope these ideas add some variety to your family's days while helping to nurture a spirit of gratitude as we move into the holiday season.
For more family resources, including weekend service times and online curriculum for different ages, check out our children's ministry page.