The exciting colors and interesting silhouettes of autumn can be very inspiring creatively; and arts and crafts projects and musical interludes can provide students with a welcome break from their re-immersion into academics during the back-to-school season. So be sure to take some time to explore the resources and opportunities available to help kids explore the beauties of the season with arts, crafts and music.
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General free art resources
Dick Blick’s free art and craft ideas
Montessori On a Budget’s listing of free Montessori art downloads http://www.montessori-on-a-budget.com/2011/03/friday-free-downloads-montessori-art.html
Miscellaneous autumn-themed arts and crafts
Squigly’s autumn arts and crafts ideas
My Blessed Life links to 12 fall kids’ crafts.
Personalize your classroom with a Friendship Quilt, a project from Dale Gausman at NAMC. http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf
Leaf art and crafts
The contributors to the ProTeacher Collection share many interesting autumn leaf and related autumn projects and lesson plans. http://www.proteacher.org/c/100_autumn_leaves__fall_art_projects.html
Here are 25 crafts using or replicating autumn leaves. http://www.remodelaholic.com/2012/09/25-leaf-crafts
Turn autumn leaves (or prints of them!) into butterflies.
Autumn Colors Tissue Paper Art Project http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf
Here is a very striking, but fairly simple, watercolor technique using actual leaves as templates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwBM11Wmpo0
For more ideas, look at these professional artists’ and photographers’ autumn compositions.
Top 6 Incredible Artworks Made from Autumn Leaves
Dan Bacich’s leaf paintings
Miscellaneous autumn art examples at Fine Art America
Here are some examples of the autumn nature photography of Alexander MacPhail, from a hike on Mt Passaconway and the Sandwich Range, New Hampshire.
Apple art and crafts
Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on drawing a red Delicious apple, with an in-screen “draw while you learn” feature. http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/stepbystepdrawinglessons/2011/10/how-to-draw-realistic-or-cartoon-apples-with-easy-step-by-step-drawing-lesson
This is an interesting time lapse of an artist painting a still life with apples. It contains rather advanced shading, but could still inspire students with new ideas for techniques to try. Students may also get a kick out of comparing the original apples that inspired him with the finished product. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7WtTtaEems
Easy Apple Crafts for Kids
Crafty Crow’s apple crafts
Video: How to Craft Apple Stamps
For some additional apple themed lesson planning, peruse through the unit study Hands-On Autumn Adventures – Autumn Leaves, Pumpkins, and Apple Classification Harvesting Activities and Unit Studies http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf
Need a little more inspiration? Why not bake Oma’s Cake, a German recipe using pears or apples, and let the fruity, cinnamony fragrance stoke your autumn spirit! http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf
Pumpkin art and crafts
Even your youngest students can have fun, with your help, making adorable fingerprint pumpkins. http://www.billybear4kids.com/Learn2Draw/FingerPrints/Pumpkin.shtml
Simple Kids’ Crafts breaks the process of drawing a pumpkin down into very simple steps. http://www.simplekidscrafts.com/?z=summer-drawings-how-to-draw-a-pumpkin
Whether for carving or just on paper, these cute jack-o-lantern face ideas will get kids inspired to expand their own pumpkin caricatures. http://www.how-to-draw-cartoons-online.com/drawing-pumpkin-faces.html
Combine some really fine watercolor art techniques with color theory, art appreciation, literature, and Canadian geography in this well-presented pumpkin art lesson for young children. http://www.scs.sk.ca/van/inventions%20articles/inventions%20articles/Giant%20Pumpkins.pdf
Now that your students are comfortable with their shapes, why not try sculpting some of these traditional autumn motifs in sandable, paintable/stainable home-made wood dough? Richard from The Lord Company shares a recipe and instructions. http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall2.pdf
Music and poetry
Get into the spirit of the season with fun autumn songs and rhymes!
NIEHS’ Kids’ Pages: Songs
Early Years Experience’s Songs and Rhymes Page
Preschool Express’ Music and Rhyme Station
Go more in-depth with Classical Magic’s lesson plans revolving around “Autumn” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf
There are also a number of neat YouTube videos like this one that use Vivaldi’s “Autumn” as the background music for beautiful scenes of grape harvests, mushrooms growing in the woods, autumn foliage, and more seasonal sights your students might enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uaVhKocqPw
For more suggestions of classical pieces children might enjoy, as well as ideas for getting students involved with the music, check this blogpost.
Want to get more hands-on? Anna from Wood, Etc. shares instructions for making a Zebra Stick Craft. http://www.amonco.org/creative08/montessori_fall8.pdf, and Lois from Bountiful Spinweave, shares instructions for making the Broken Rib Scarf with Seed Stitch Border.
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It is a common theme in literature and poetry that autumn is a sad time of year, and although many writers have lauded autumn in their own ways, http://www.livinglifefully.com/fall.html , perhaps Samuel Taylor Coleridge explained the beauty and spirit of autumn the best.
Why is it that so many of us persist in thinking that autumn is a sad season?
Nature has merely fallen asleep, and her dreams must be beautiful
if we are to judge by her countenance.
Help your students see, explore and appreciate the beauty of this magical season through the arts! Refer back to this post during the next few weeks to see how you can infuse some of these creative ideas into your existing curriculum.