Fall, according to the old North American Indian legends is the time of year when the “blood of the Great Bear” falls to the earth and turns the leaves all red and orange. The leaves are unhappy and so they fall off the trees and plants. During the fall, there are a lot of brightly colored leaves and bare branches, as well as vines. These can all be used by kids to make fall foliage crafts.
The leaves are easy to collect and usually available in large quantities. Leaves are basically nature’s paper. They can be placed under blocks and books and flattened, then allowed to dry. Once dry, they can be used for paper mache! Create pinatas by using glue to place them around a balloon. After they dry, remove the balloon and fill with candy. If you do it quickly and before the leaves lose their color, you can coat it with polyurethane.
You can also coat a plastic bowl with the leaves on the bottom and make several layers so it gets thick. After the leaves dry and harden, remove the plastic bowl, add another layer or two of leaves and then again finish with a preservation. You now have a fruit bowl for the coffee table. You can make platters the same way. Each item will be unique, because no two leaves are alike.
Vines can be useful, especially if they are grape vines (avoid ground vines as some can be poison ivy). Take long vines and entwine them in large loops to make wreaths for the door. You can buy flowers to put in them or just use leaves. If you want additional challenge, take string and have the children make dream-catchers by weaving “spider webs”! Small dream-catchers make lovely Christmas ornaments. Small vines can also be entwined and then painted to make bracelets.