Whether you’re planning a bountiful harvest celebration or a Halloween party, you may want to consider these craft, games and seasonal snacks.
CROP OF CRAFTS
When doing crafts with kids in a group setting, plan a main craft with a short, second activity – coloring pages or stringing popcorn – for early finishers. Whatever crafts you choose, pick ones that are easy to clean up so you can move on to the next activity.
- Measure and cut an orange rectangle from construction paper to fit around a toilet paper tube.
- Glue in place to create the pumpkin’s center base.
- Measure and cut 11, 1- by 12-inch strips from orange paper.
- Glue one strip to the upper, inside end of the toilet paper tube.
- Let dry.
- Repeat this step with remaining 10 strips.
- Place the detached end of each strip down and glue to the bottom, inside end of the tube. (Strips should bow out to create a rounded pumpkin.)
- Let dry.
- Draw and cut out a large leaf shape from green construction paper.
- Tape leaf to the top, inside section of the tube.
Beau the Scarecrow
- Draw and cut an 8-inch triangle from a paper bag to create the scarecrow’s hat.
- Fold one piece of yellow construction paper accordion style into 1/2-inch folds.
- Open paper flat and cut along the folds to create strips for straw hair.
- Place a paper plate bottom side up.
- Glue hair randomly to one edge of the plate.
- Glue hat over the hay hair, allowing some hay to show around the lower, outer edges of the hat.
- Draw and cut a 1-inch triangle then glue to the center of the plate to create a nose.
- Draw and cut two 1-inch circles from pink paper, then glue onto the face to create the cheeks.
- Use black marker to create eyes, eyebrows and a mouth.
- Draw and cut a 3-inch sunflower shape from yellow paper, then glue to one side of the hat.
- Draw and cut a 1-inch brown circle and glue to the center of the sunflower.
- Cut ribbon into an 18-inch strip.
- Tie into a bow and attach with a glue gun to the lower edge of the paper plate for the bow tie.
Speckled Leaf Suncatcher
- Measure and cut two 6-inch squares from black construction paper.
- Temporarily paper clip the two squares together, then place paper on the table.
- Center a large maple leaf over the top, black square and trace around it with a pencil.
- Use scissors to cut out the leaf pattern you drew, making sure you cut through both sheets of construction paper to form a hollowed-out leaf frame.
- Remove paper clips and set aside.
- Place crayon shavings between two sheets of waxed paper and iron until the shavings melt.
- Measure and cut the waxed paper design to a 5 ½-inch square.
- Place the multicolored design between the two black squares to create a stained-glass leaf picture and frame.
- Glue design in place.
- Punch a hole at the top of the frame, loop yarn through the hole and tie in a knot.
- Hang picture in a sunny window.
GATHERING FOR GAMES
Games are a staple at kids’ gatherings. Choose ones every child can participate in, where no one is eliminated. With a little forethought and creativity, any game can be adapted to fit the fall theme.
- Purchase half-sized brooms for each party guest and two different colors of seasonal garland.
- Decorate half of the brooms with one color of garland and the remaining half with the other garland to specify teams.
- Establish goals at opposite ends of the yard, and divide the children into teams.
- Place a kickball in the center of the yard, then give each child a broom to sweep the ball to their team’s goal.
- The first team to score five goals wins.
Ring around the Pumpkin
- Place three large pumpkins with stems in a line several feet apart.
- Gather four hula hoops.
- To play, children should take turns standing behind the designated tossing line and try to ring the pumpkins with the hula hoop. The child with the most rings wins.
- Separate children into two teams.
- Choose one child from each team to be the scarecrow.
- Place scarecrows at one end of the room, along with hay and oversized scarecrow-type clothing items.
- Teammates line up at the other end of the room.
- To play, teammates take turns running to the scarecrow and dressing her with one clothing item, then tag the next player who does the same.
- When the scarecrow is completely dressed, each teammate returns a second time to stuff straw in her clothing.
- The first team to finish making their scarecrow wins.
Food is more fun when kids are involved in the preparation process. Stick with things children like to eat and add a seasonal twist to them.
- Pop 2 quarts of popcorn. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of light corn syrup, 1/3 cup of water, ¼ cup of butter and ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Reduce heat and cook until the mixture reaches approximately 270 degrees.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and orange food coloring.
- Pour mixture over popcorn and stir until thoroughly coated.
- Grease hands and form popcorn into pumpkin-shaped balls.
- Break a few thin twisted pretzels to form an arch and push them into the top center for the stem.
- Makes approximately 12 pumpkins.
Itsy-Bitsy Caramel Apples
- Cut lollipop sticks in half.
- Use a melon baller to scoop little balls out of medium-sized apples, making sure each ball has a section of the apple peel.
- Push a lollipop stick into the peel of each apple ball.
- Blot apples dry with a paper towel.
- Melt a 14-ounce package of caramel candies with 2 tablespoons of water.
- Have children dip and swirl their apple balls in caramel then roll in crushed Oreo cookies, nuts, sprinkles, nonpareils or mini-chocolate chips.
- Place on waxed paper to cool for 15 minutes.
- Mix dry ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
- Set aside.
- Separate two eggs.
- Mix yolks with ½ cup of plain pumpkin puree, 1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons canola oil.
- Add dry ingredients.
- Beat egg whites until fluffy, then fold into the batter.
- Pour ¼ cup of batter onto a greased griddle; flip when bubbles form on top.
- Kids can make jack-o-lantern faces using raisins, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips and whipped cream.