15 Fabulous Green Fall Family Crafts
Fall is the most wonderful time of the year with its crisp cool mornings, haunting sunsets and Mother Nature feeding our senses with gorgeous scenery and a bountiful harvest. It’s time to savor every last little minute of outdoor enjoyment, but also to settle indoors when its too dark for fun and make use of all that the autumn has to offer for family fun. The more you think about what it has to offer – the more you find to enjoy!
Here is a list of family crafts that you can do together to make the most of your cosy indoor time, without hurting the environment or your pocket.
Fantastical Hot Chocolate
The first rule of any perfect cool night in is hot chocolate, right? Then make it fantastic! There are plenty of recipes on the internet, but the one we like is Hot Chocolate on a Stick. You can make the treats up as a family activity, then sit back and enjoy them – or wrap them in cellophane and give them as a gift!
Hot Chocolate on a Stick
- 1/2 cup free range heavy cream
- One 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 cups semisweet or bittersweet fairtrade chocolate, chopped or in chips (or 1 cup 60% organic cacao chips, 1 cup organic semi-sweet chips, and 1 cup organic milk chocolate chips)
- One 4-oz bar unsweetened fairtrade chocolate (broken or chopped into smaller pieces)
- Wooden or cardboard cookie/lollipop sticks
- Marshmallows (optional – but we like them!)
- 8″x8″ pan, lined with parchment paper
Heat the cream and sweetened condensed milk over medium-low heat until it starts steaming, stirring periodically. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes, then put back on medium-low heat and stir with a whisk until chocolate is completely melted and shiny. (At this point you could add some flavoring…vanilla, hazelnut, peppermint, whatever fits your fancy!)
Pour chocolate into prepared pan and spread chocolate as level as you possibly can. Let sit overnight (12 hours or so).
Remove chocolate from pan and cut, top side face down, into squares. Divide the block into sixths each direction, so your squares will be a bit larger than 1″ x 1″. Use a long, thin knife. Heat the knife under hot water, wipe dry with a towel or paper towel, make a few cuts, then repeat the knife-heating procedure. Makes 36 squares, although those corner squares are shaped a little funny…you might just want to eat those straight up while you’re cooking. You need the energy for all this hard work.
To make it the perfect hot chocolate, put a marshmallow on a stick, then insert the choc block onto the skewer to finish it up. For both the marshmallows and the chocolate squares, feel free to get creative with flavorings and/or rolling them in peppermint pieces, cocoa, etc. I just used a little vanilla in the chocolate and kept it simple. And they are still mighty delicious! One stick is good for about 4 – 8 ounces of hot milk…depending on how chocolatey you like it.
Natural Nautical Adventures
Remember when you were a child and you made boats out of walnut shells and a sail? Why not start a tradition with your family and do that same? Forage in the garden or local park for a few small sticks, nut shells that can be used as a boat and leaves for a sail. Let your children choose what they want to try for the boat piece, just make the accent on ‘natural’, something they can pick up from nature. If you don’t have anything, buy some local walnuts in shells. Carefully crack open a walnut shell so it falls in half, then attach a small, straight stick from the garden with anything you may have at hand. Melted wax is good but not for children of any age to handle, or home made play dough, then make a hole in the top and bottom of a leaf and attach the stick mast. You are now ready to sail your armada!
You can go to the local stream and race your boats, or you can sail them in a bowl just as easily. Either way, it’s a lot of fun for the whole family!
Fall is bountiful and beautiful, why not try and bottle it up in a jar? Get the largest jar you can and go on an adventure to find mementos to fill it with. You don’t have to go far, you just have to look. Pretty stones or pebbles look great at the bottom, as well as interesting leaves, pine cones and seeds or nuts, then seal them with a lid. Adding a photo of your family is a great idea or even a list of things you like to do in the fall to make the memories more personal.
Now is the time to dig through the recycle bin and look for old books or magazines. They can be made into a beautiful bunting to decorate your home. Use natural string as the hanging line and cut out triangles of paper as the bunting. Decorate it with different leaves from the garden and hang around your home.
Recycled Stained Glass
School age children will love making stained glass fall pictures. Get a piece of used paper and cover with cut up old magazines and photos in a mosaic of fall colours. Whilst the glue dries, get a piece of black paper that fits perfectly over the mosaic piece and cut out fall shapes. Do not change the size of the black paper as to finish the piece you glue the black outlines over the fall mosaic. This gives the impression of a stained glass window. The look complements any fall centrepiece.
Wine Cork Animals
Wine corks are great for making little animals. Mice are fantastic, elephants, giraffes, dogs – almost any animal you can imagine. They also make great people too! Get out all your old wine corks, pens, scraps of material, glue and leave your children to supply the rest. You’ll have some fun creating your own animals to add the zoo as well!
If you are looking for something you can add to your fall décor, cut out large letters from recycled card and cover with fall foliage. You can use the letters to spell words, or highlight an initial or just to look fantastic around the house.
Salt Dough Leaf Art
Salt dough is easy to make at home and there are plenty of leaves around to make natural ornaments to grace your home for fall. Make the salt dough and cut into rounds, wet the back of the leaves and press into each round so it sticks. Leave in the sunlight to dry. This may take several days depending on the thickness of the dough. Glaze with love VOC varnish, or leave matte.
Here is a great recipe for salt dough:
Tools & Materials
- Measuring cup
- Cling wrap
- Rolling Pin
- 500 g flour
- 250 g salt
- 250 ml warm water
- Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
- Make a hole in the center and pour in warm water a little bit.
- Mix the flour, salt and water, add water as necessary until it’s not crumbly.
- Knead the dough about 5 minutes until its smooth.
- Wrap unused dough with cling wrap and store in a fridge.
Tin Can Bird Feeder
As the winter draws in the birds find it harder and harder to find food. A great way to help them through the winter is to make a tin can bird feeder. File the sharp edges of an old tin can, paint, secure natural twine round the middle of the can to hang it up. Glue an old stick or used tomato cane down the inside of the can using non-toxic glue, and lay on its side to dry. Paint the can with Low VOC weatherproof paint that is left over from another project, leave to dry, and voila! A comfy bird feeder ready to keep the wildlife alive during the winter.
Make Organic Bird Seed
If you’ve made the feeder, why not make organic bird seed? Suet, shortening or lard is the perfect bird feed for the winter months when birds’ food sources dwindle. Suet is loved by nuthatches, woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, cardinals, and most insect-eating birds.
- You can use almost any seed or grain, mixed with bacon fat, lard, or peanut butter. A basic suet combines equal parts of bacon fat and assorted birdseed.
- For a fancier suet, add peanut butter to the mix. You can also bind cornmeal or oatmeal with straight peanut butter.
- Birds also like dried fruits, so consider adding raisins, currants, apricots, or citron.
Suet Bird Cake
- 2 parts melted fat (bacon fat, suet, or lard)
- 2 parts yellow cornmeal
- 1 part peanut butter
Mix all ingredients together and cook for a few minutes. Pour into your tin can bird feeder, and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Mixture can also be stuffed into 1-inch holes drilled in small logs to hang from trees. The recipe can be made all year long as long as you accumulate fat. Fasten containers securely to trees or feeders.
Every child has an imaginary friend at some point in their lives so why not let them fashion one out of an acorn as a gift from Mother Nature? Acorns make a great base for many creatures, bats, owls, elephants – you name it, they can make it. And why stop at one? Why not make a whole diorama of all your family members out of natural items scavenged from the garden and old boxes destined for the recycling? All you need is acorns, scraps of material, sticks, pebbles or anything else you can find in your garden.
Hand Print Autumn Leaves
Make a lovely addition to your decor, or a great grandparent present, by getting your children to make a hand print tree canvas. All you need is a canvas, a sheet of brown paper, glue, wax crayons, an iron and a pencil sharpener. On the brown paper let the children draw round their hand and arm, then let them cut it out. Sharpen the crayons over the canvas, getting the children to look at the colour of the trees around them and choosing matching crayons. Cover with a sheet of paper, then iron over the crayons shavings until they melt onto the canvas. Leave it to cool, then let the children write a message on it. The perfect gift!
Tissue Paper Indian Corn
Save up your toilet tissue rolls and make some Indian corn. You can stick on pieces of old magazines in fall colours, or paint the bubbles on old bubble wrap to look like corn. Wrap these in yellow paper to represent the husks and you have some great, long lasting corn husks.
Gather sticks and wrap them together to form the base of the mobile. Hang pine cones, leaves, skeleton lanterns or anything else by natural string from the sticks, then hang from the ceiling.
When you next make yourself a spaghetti meal, save some dry spaghetti and the box and make coloured spaghetti feathers. Cut out feather shapes then stick on the spaghetti and colour you want to. Use natural dyes and you can compost them after you have finished with them. You could also hang the feathers from an autumn mobile, or group them together and make a picture.
There are lots of great ideas for family fall crafts that enable you to spend an evening in with the family and appreciate the beauty of nature, and teach your children about how much fun being green can be.