Bonkers about Conkers

It’s that time of year when the ripe seeds from the Horse Chestnut tree fall to the ground.  The conkers are encased inside a green spiked capsule, which are attached to the branches of the tree. When the spiky capsule begins to turn brownish in colour they fall to the ground. It’s a sign that Autumn is on it’s way.

My youngest has never really been that into conkers, that is until this year and he has absolutely gone bonkers for conkers! Collecting well over 400 of them; with the help of friends.

Wherever we go: on the way to school, to the park, to football practice or walking to the shops, he is always on the lookout for a conker. When we get home he empties his school bag, trouser pockets and even his lunch bag and places them into his growing collection.

With so many conkers I asked him what he wanted to do with them. His reply was just that he wanted to collect them and see how many he could find.

I know conkers are, apparently, good for keeping spiders away if placed in the corner of the room. So I think we will be safe for a while from our eight legged friends.

Apart from the obvious of playing conkers we decided to get our craft heads on and do something a little different with what we had. We made conkers paintings and snail conkers.

Conkers paintings are really simple but can get quite messy.

You will need :

  • Conkers
  • A tray
  • Paper
  • Selection of paint

Place the paper into the tray. Then add in the paper and squirt some poster paint around the paper. Place some conkers on to the paper and now the fun and messy part. Start to shake the tray so that the conkers roll around in the paint leaving a coloured trail behind them.

About to roll
Finished picture

Conker snails were so much fun

You will need:

  • Conkers
  • Paint pens or acrylic paints
  • playdough

First we made up our playdough. We added in chocolate powder to give it that earthy colour. My son loved making the playdough as he likes to get messy and it’s really good for the children to practice their measuring and motor skills.

Then, we decorated the conkers with the paint pens, we used my posca pens but you can get cheaper versions which are just as good. Once the conkers were dry we moulded the playdough for the snails body and placed the conker on top for the shell.

Aren’t they just so cute!

You could even hide the snails around your local park for other children to find or even just the decorated conkers ( just like the rock decorating craze)

As a child, I used to love playing conkers with my friends and big brother. It was something that my parents had taught me. Who had the strongest conker? There were even methods that you could use to strengthen your conker; keeping a conker for a year, baking, soaking, boiling in vinegar, or painting with clear varnish. Nowadays, children don’t seem to want to play the simple, but fun games that we played when we were younger.

Conkers is a game that could dates back as far as 1821. To score in Conkers you must break the opponent’s conker to gain points – you can score when you are attacking or defending. If strings become entangled the first player to shout ‘strings’ gets an extra turn.

I have not given up on introducing the boys to the game, as I know they will just love it as much as I did.

All ready for a game of conkers

But, this activity is for another day 🙂

 

 

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Three things to do in Autumn

We love Autumn! The crispness of the leaves under our feet, the Autumn sun beaming down on through the undraped trees. Nothing is better than a walk in a country park or a forest on a cool crisp afternoon.

We have teamed up with 9 other bloggers and Forest Holidays to bring you our top three things to do in Autumn, 30 Days of Autumn project. There are lots of fun things to do in Autumn, take a read of our 30 days of Autumn checklist  you may find something new and exciting to do yourselves.

Here are three of our top ideas on what to do in Autumn:

1. Leaf fun

Why not take a walk in a country park and search for the biggest pile of leaves for some leaf crunching fun.

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My boys love to jump in the leaves and listen to the crunching sound that they make, even better is to have an Autumn leaf fight

Just watching the boys run around, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying some outside fun is priceless, although be careful as to where you are picking up the leaves as some animals like to mark their territory!

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leaf fight

Why not collect some of the leaves and take them home to recreate an Autumn picture.

2. Leaf rubbing

This activity is ideal if the weather is slightly wet outside, my boys love to do leaf rubbing/etching.

All you will need is some leaves that you have collected, try and select a different range of sizes and shapes and some crayons/colouring pencils and of coarse some paper.

rubbing 2

Leaves with texture and features are best.
We like to pick a similar colour to the leaf to use for the rubbing. Place the leaf under the paper (veins upwards) and holing the crayon at an angle (close to the paper) using a little pressure rub the crayon over the paper. You will see the leaf print start to appear, just like a drawing.

rubbing 1

rubbingTry not to use a leaf that is crunchy/old as it will make it more difficult to do the leaf rubbing as you will need the leaf to lay flat under the paper.
Why not do a leaf rubbing with autumn colours, red orange and yellow.

3. Autumn Art – Pine Cone Frame

Children love to hunt and what better way to do it is to visit the park and search for some Autumn items.

After a lovely day playing in the park the boys went off in search of some sticks and some pine cones to take home with them so we could make some Autumn art. We had seen a picture somewhere on the internet of a frame made out of sticks. The boys thought that this would be a great Autumn craft to make.

You will need:

  • Some sticks of similar sizes
  • string
  • pine cones of different sizes
  • Strong glue
  • nylon clear invisible sewing thread
  • scissors

Instructions:

Gather the sticks together, cut down any to make similar sizes

pine 4

Tie the corners together with the string and reinforce  with some glue. Trim down any string that is hanging loose.

Tie corners with string
Tie corners with string
corner close up
corner close up

Leave to dry for about an hour.

Carefully tie some of the invisible string around the top of the pine cones, once secure measure how long you want the pine cone to hang and then tie the other end of the thread on to the top sticks

attaching the pine cones
attaching the pine cones

Once finished hang up on the wall for everyone to see

pine 5 finish
finished frame

Why not try and do a frame with different artefacts found from your autumn walk, like leaves or helicopters from Maple trees. You could also spray your frame or paint it a different colour but we like it the natural way.

Take a look at Forest Holidays 30 Days of Autumn project web page, where you will find all of the fun ideas and suggestions that other bloggers have shared about what you can get up to in Autumn.

Thank you for reading. This post is our entry into the 30 days of autumn competition

N.B please excuse our photos of the leaf rubbing we have done this activity whilst abroad on holiday

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30 days of Autumn checklist

Do you like Autumn?

We’re just over halfway through our third season of the year, Autumn. The weather is changing, turning cooler and becoming wet and windy. Mornings are often misty and the days are becoming shorter. The trees are losing their leaves and falling to the ground.

There are many reasons to love Autumn, without the obvious of snuggling under a duvet on wet days and drinking hot chocolate but we get to wear our wooly jumpers and warm boots. In fact i have just bought a lovely pair of Ugg shoes that are lined with fur, perfect for Autumn. The children love to put on their rain coats and Wellington boots and go out into the rain to splash in puddles, Autumn rain is ideal for this as it’s not too cold and they enjoy all the splashing.

Here is our 30 days of Autumn checklist

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As you can see we have already managed to tick a few off all ready. Last week we went hunting for caches locally, you can read about it here and the other weekend we went on a bicycle ride along the seafront with the boys and they climbed a tree.

 

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If you want to join in with us on our Autumn bucket list, download your checklist here autumn checklist

Forest Holidays want to compile a list for there customers 30 different forest experiences to enjoy at this time of year. To make the list as fun and diverse as possible they have asked ten bloggers from different specialisms to provide three different autumnal ideas of things to do in the forest and outdoors that relate to their niche. We have been invites along to share our three top froest ideas. They will be compiling our suggestions into a ‘30 Days of Autumn’ inspiration list that will be hosted on the Forest Holidays blog Forestipedia,

Keep an eye out next week when we will be sharing our 3 ideas 🙂

 

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Autumn Reindeer Craft

Whilst out walking through the park the other day the boys collected a variety of leaves, read about our leaf hunt here.
Joseph noticed that one of the leaves looked like Reindeer Antlers and that he wanted to make a picture with them.

When we got home we emptied out our bag of leaves onto the floor and took a good look at all of the different shapes and colours of them. We had found big ones, small ones, long ones, star shaped ones, red, orange, brown, green and yellow ones. The boys were soon sticking them down onto paper making their autumn pictures.

Joseph made a Reindeer

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He added a bit of glitter and stars to his picture as he says it makes it look all Christmassy 🙂

Jak made a Devil

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These pictures make a good gift ideas which they have had lots of fun doing.
We turned an outdoor activity into an indoor one!

Thank you for reading

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We’re going on a leaf hunt!

The boys went leaf hunting today, in search for different colours, sizes and shapes and to see how many they could find.
On our walk through the park there were lots of leaves laying on the floor so they starting collecting as many as they could.
Joseph found one leaf and said that they looked like Reindeer Antlers which gave Jak the idea of making an Autumn picture made of leaves but to look like a Reindeer, so off they went searching and rummaging for other leaves that could be part of a Reindeer.

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Jak found a humongous leaf that was bigger than his head, which he said he is going to paint lots of colours.

The boys had lots of fun out in the park and have come home with a fabulous selection of leaves ready to go some autumn crafting with. They found big ones, small ones, long ones, fat ones, spiky ones, round ones, brown, red, yellow, orange and green ones! And now we have a little bit of Autumn in our living room ready to be stuck onto paper 🙂

Thank you for reading

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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258/366 Autumn Leaves

Rustling
Crinkling
Crunchy
Stomping
Kicking
Falling
Playtime
Fun
Old and Dry
Crispy

These are some of the words that the boys described the autumn leaves that were on the ground this afternoon went we went out for a walk.
They enjoyed running through them and kicking them up into the air and listening to all the sounds that they made when they stamped on them.

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