One of the core principles of Montessori methodology is the idea that children want to learn about the world around them, and they want to do this not by being told about it but by discovering things for themselves. Our role, as directresses and parents, is to guide our respective pupils and children; allowing them be the explorers they were born to be.
As well as remembering that children love to experiment (to touch, feel and get messy) when thinking about the craft activities that take place in our school on a daily basis, we also nurture an attitude of adventure and discovery at St Andrew’s Montessori. We’d love for you, as parents, to be able to share in what we teach by being able to do things at home with your children as well, and so here are some wonderful craft ideas that are sure to be fun family activities this autumn season:
Leaf People – Autumn is a magical time of year, full of colour and variety. Spend time in your garden, or go for a walk in the park or your neighborhood, gathering colourful leaves of all shapes and sizes to create some ‘leaf people.’ All you need is some leaves, glue and a piece of paper – simply select appropriate leaves to represent body parts and stick them down on a piece of paper, creating whole families if you like.
Handprint Tree Craft – Start by drawing an outline of a tree trunk with a brown crayon. Then have the children paint their own hand yellow and stamp it above the trunk. Repeat using the orange and red paints as well to make a beautiful fall tree! When the top is done, take a paintbrush and fill in the tree trunk with brown paint.
Conker Crafts – In the UK, autumn is all about conkers; children love to scavenge them from parks and pavements, hoarding them in your handbag and every other available pocket and orifice. The good news is that there are many creative ways to use the hoards of conkers that will undoubtedly take over your home this season. A simple ‘paint and decorate’ session with conkers is always fun. You could create conker animals (pipe cleaners and ‘googly eyes’ are great for this) or immerse yourself in the design of an entire conker village (with some glue and a little ingenuity).
Food Stamping – Fruit and veg that are in season in autumn in the UK include apples, carrots, potatoes, pumpkins, sweetcorn and beetroot is another good one. All of these are great for an exercise in ‘food stamping’ (as well as teaching your little one about fruit and veg of the season), which entails cutting a fruit or vegetable in half and smearing it with paint, and then stamping it onto a piece of paper. Children can create free-flow designs (sweetcorn is fun for this because the kernels create some wonderful marks) or perhaps dream up flowers, people or animals with their food stamps.
Stick Towers – Building stick towers is an excellent outdoor activity that requires nothing but (you guessed it!) sticks. Simply collect as many sticks as you can and see how high you can build a stick tower by layering sticks on top of one another. If this game gets old, why not build a stick house or play a sorting game; categorising sticks by length, width, shape, colour or texture.
There are so many ways to inspire children’s natural curiosity this autumn; no doubt you have some lovely ideas of your own but we hope that you enjoy these just as much.