Some people are naturals when it comes to crafts. They’re the ones who will grab a couple of pine cones and some acorn caps, and effortlessly transform it into an adorable little wood critter in the amount of time it takes me to locate a bottle of glue. The truth is, before I had kids I NEVER did crafts. But after the girls were born I for some reason felt like it was my parental responsibility to at least TRY. We’ve had some successes (this tree craft from leaves was a huge hit, and so were these wooden Christmas gnomes) as well as some notorious “Pinterest fails” over the years, but regardless the girls always seem to enjoy them.
Last year, I even took it upon myself to be in charge of the Halloween craft at my daughter’s preschool party. (I know, getting waaay out of my comfort zone.) Short on ideas and inspiration I went online and, at the very last minute, found a cute rock craft that ended up being really popular with the kids. This year, I suggested to the girls that we come up with our own Halloween craft instead. We tossed around some ideas and ended up with these colorful leaf ghost puppets. The girls are super proud of their ghosts and I think they came out really well too. What I really like about this Halloween craft (aside from the fact that it’s super easy to make) is that it’s kid-friendly, made of natural materials, and can be used for active play.
Halloween Craft for Kids: Leaf Ghosts
- Thin sticks, approx. 5-7 inches long
- Acrylic paint
- Paint brushes
- Black and gold markers
- Sewing thread
- Go for a nature walk and pick some leaves. We found that sassafras leaves have a perfect ghost shape, but species like maple, tulip tree and oak work well too. Choose leaves with a long stem, since you’ll need that when you secure the leaf to the stick later on.
- Press the leaves by placing them in between a few sheets of newspaper and covering them with books or other flat, heavy objects. Leave for a day or two, until the leaves are flat and crisp.
- Paint both sides of the leaves with colors of your choice, using acrylic paint, and set aside to dry. Note: Lighter colors may require two coats.
- Use the markers to add facial features such as eyes, mouth and nose on one side of the leaf. Vary the facial expressions to give each of the puppets an individual look.
- Tie each leaf to a stick using the sewing thread. Younger children will need a little help with this step.
As always, I highly recommend leaving this craft as open-ended and child-led as possible. Whereas I stuck with a more traditional Halloween-like color scheme, I loved watching my girls experimenting wildly with a wide range of colors and patterns.
Remember that it is the creative process of making a craft that should be in focus, not the end product!
This approach ensures that the kids’ creativity is not hampered, and takes the pressure off the adults to come up with a show piece. After all, the question we should be asking ourselves is not “Is this fit for Pinterest?” but “Did we have fun making it?” If the answer to the latter is yes – success!
Have you made any natural Halloween crafts for kids lately? If so, please share in the comments!