Easy fall craft for children
by Kathy Ross
for Real Families, Real Fun
his year, give fall gourds a new look! Turn them into Gourd Birds for a delightful autumn decoration. The kids will have lots of fun selecting the gourds and then letting their imaginations "see" a bird in each one. And turning the gourds into feathered friends is a cinch; an easy project that will appeal to all ages!
The LaClair family thought these birds "were a great way to start getting into the spirit of fall."
"We hit the local pumpkin festival," reported one Midwestern family. "We selected our pumpkins from the patch on the hayride and picked up the gourds, mums and Indian corn at their outdoor market. Definitely a fun day!"
Here is what you'll need:
- Long (eggplant-type) gourds with a neck and stem
- Colored pushpins (found where office supplies are sold)
- Crafts feathers
- Felt scraps
- Crafts glue
Here's what you do:
- Choose two pushpins of the same color for the eyes. Turn the gourd to one side so that the stem forms the beak of the bird. For the bird's eyes, push the pins all the way into the gourd on the topside close to the stem.
- Choose two more pushpins for the legs. Decide how you want your bird to pose. Push the pins only partway into the middle bottom of the tipped gourd. The legs will stabilize the gourd and allow the bird to stand.
- Choose two crafts feathers to use for wings. Glue a feather on each side of the bird.
That's all there is to it. So easy you can make a whole flock of them in no time!
As always, some of our creative test families embellished their work with additional creative touches. The Kjesbo children (ages 9 and 10) "glued things to the top of the pushpins for bigger eyes, such as colored, easy-to-cut crafts foam." Another family added tail feathers.
The Hannans were purists with this project. "We went for the pure Kathy Ross idea and didn't embellish this one. It was great by itself! We thought the extra detail would detract from the interesting colors and shapes of the gourds." Lynda (Mom) added, "I went for white eyes for a wide-awake looking bird."
The Kjesbos had another great idea: "The kids used the pushpins to make small holes in the gourd and then they put the 'stem' part of the feather in the hole with a drop of glue. This allowed the feathers to stand upright." Wild!
- If the stem of the gourd has broken off, cut a triangle beak from a scrap of felt and glue it to the end of the gourd.
- If your child is not ready to do a craft with pins, create the bird using glued-on collage materials for the eyes. You might want to leave the pin legs off and settle the bird in some fall leaves or a nest from crafts store.
- The Kjesbo children had no trouble putting the pins in the gourds. Peggy LaClair said that while Ryan (12) and Rachel (9) did this part of the project on their own, she inserted the pins for her youngest child, Christine (4).
- Rachel was one of several children who said "ew!" when the gourds oozed a drop of moisture from the pinhole. You might want to keep a tissue handy!
"Rachel made her bird as a gift for her grandmother who is ill, then fell in love with it and didn't want to give it away. We settled with my taking a picture of it so she would still have it and could give it away, too," said Peggy (Mom) LaClair. What a nice way to handle Rachel's very human reaction to parting with her bird.
TAKE IT FROM ME:
"We used turkey feathers we found at the crafts store, and they came in beautiful fall colors of terracotta, beiges, whites, and deep browns. They looked great on the gourds."
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