Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Crafts with the Girl Scouts

Hi Knitters,
Last week I hosted The Collector's Girl Scout troop for a fall crafting session. We had three projects to master in about an hour. The main project was to make the turkeys you see above, those are the samples The Collector made. I had done these same turkeys with my older daughter's troop at least five or six years ago. Back then I saw a version of this project either in a Martha Stewart magazine or on her show. I can't remember. I looked on her website but I didn't see anything that resembled this project. So I didn't originate the autumn leaf turkey idea but we definitely made them our own with a bunch of changes from the original.
When teaching or crafting with large groups, I think we had around 10 girls, success is all in the preparation. Ahead of time, I once again, got my trusty glue gun out and glued large cinnamon scented pine cones (the girls loved the scent, bought at JoAnn's) to thin wooden rounds (bought at a local craft shop). Next, I hot glued a tiny pine cone to the large pine cone for the turkey's head. This all had to be done ahead of time.
The preparation photos are at my house but the meeting with the girls was held at a public library where I reserved a big community room. It was perfect with big, long tables, tons of chairs, a bathroom right next door and lots of room for moving about.

Here is a list of what you need to make your own Autumn Leaf Turkeys:
1. fall leaves (we used fake but real leaves would be fantastic only not as lasting)
Note: For the leaves, I found plain leaves but I also found some fantastic leaves that were sprinkled with gold glitter at JoAnn's and the girls loved them!
2. other fall foliage (I bought that long garnish with orange and red strands and tiny berries and I found some red berries that you can see in the first photo)
3. pipe cleaners (red for feet and other fall colors for decoration)
4. small felt squares for the girls to cut on their own (yellow for beak, red for the waddle)
5. google eyes (a crafting must)
6. large pine cones
7. tiny pine cones
8. wood base (purchased at JoAnn's for around 50 cents)
9. craft glue for the girls to use for decorating
10. scissors
11. glue gun for adult set up of pine cones

I set up wax paper bags(love these and you can get them at any grocery), each labeled with their names. In the bags I filled all of the necessary pieces to make their turkey. The leaves and garnishes were spread out on the tables for easy access along with glue and scissors.

Also, in the wax paper bag I put in the makings for Betz's Felt Ball Acorns, one of my favorites. (You can see these acorns and get all links here, plus I did a knitted version here.) This was our next craft after the Autumn Leaf Turkeys.

The Collector had been collecting acorns and acorn tops for a couple of weeks for this project. I had a pretty good supply of felted balls but not a ton. I divvied up 3 felted balls per girl and three acorn tops for gluing. The felted acorns are special in my eyes so they just did a few of those. We had a lot more acorn tops so I bought some fuzzy pom-poms at the craft store and let the girls go to town gluing in the pom-poms in the rest of the tops. They loved it.
Um, just look at that expression and tell me you don't see pride. That's a proud turkey-maker if I've ever seen one. The turkeys took on personalities of their own. Do you see that this turkey has a hair-do? Love it. This girl makes me smile. She helped The Collector gather pine cones and acorns after school one day prior to the meeting.
The Collector helped make all of the samples and prepped and packed all of the materials with me. For a craft meeting you have to bring completed samples, organize the materials, pack the wax paper bags and plan a strategy. She was an all-around joyful crafting helper for the meeting. She is destined to be some kind of teacher or instructor of some sort. She has the knack and she likes doing it.

The best part of the meeting is when the girls are crafting. They have such unguarded conversation. They are looking down and working on their projects and they never stop talking the entire time. It is so fun and funny to listen to them chat. It really is the best part. Crafting brings out personalities in a big way. This troop is full of girls who love to make things. You can just feel the excitement when they walk in the door to a crafting meeting.
This girl is a major maker. She took an art class with The Collector last spring. You can see her acorns, too. Her mom loved the turkeys so much that she wants to use them as place cards at her Thanksgiving table and they are having a large group over. When I saw her a few days later she told me that she had gone out to buy all of the makings for lots more turkeys for her kids to make. It would make for a great table to have a group of these turkeys as a center piece, too.
The girls moved around to different work stations after they completed their turkeys to do the second and third craft projects. It is always good to have a sitting down time and then to allow some movement for the kids.

Another trick I do every time is when we come in to the meeting we all wash hands or use hand-sanitizer, then the girls all sit down to have a snack and a drink. I got an assortment of fresh bagels and strawberry and plain cream cheese. I had the bagel shop slice all of the bagels for me. I gave each bagel a good smear of cream cheese and sandwiched them back together. Next, I quartered each bagel sandwich. This is perfect because then the kids can take a quarter bagel at a time and there isn't as much waste. The bagels were a huge hit, too , and the strawberry cream cheese on the plain bagel was the most popular, fyi.

I use this starting time while they are eating and drinking to give large group instructions on the activities for the day. They are usually quiet and hungry at this time so you can get some good listening time. Plus, when there isn't a lot of extra time you can get two things done at once. The kids eat and I talk and demonstrate. It works really well.
Here is my smart cookie from the knitting meetings last spring. She is even wearing her same hat! She is a good and thorough little crafter and she's very entertaining along the way with a sharp sense of humor. The Collector was in preschool with this one so they go way back.
The third craft we did was to make Icicles. I've done pipe cleaner Icicles with kindergarten classes all the way through 5th graders. I loved the reaction of the girls when I showed them the icicles. There were gasps and oohs and aahs. This is a simple project with hardly any prep work. I found sparkly pipe cleaners and cut them into 4-5 inch pieces. I bent one end to hold the beads on the pipe cleaner. I bought all kinds of clear plastic beads in different shapes and sizes, even star shaped ones.

The girls simply slide the beads on in any order they choose and leave enough of the pipe cleaner exposed at the end to make a hook. We hang these all over our Christmas tree but I like them because they are just winter/snow/ice themed and not a religious holiday theme. We have a good mix of backgrounds in our group and I always strive to be inclusive of everyone with the projects we do. This is a great project and the girls could not get enough of making the icicles. They even took extra pipe cleaners and beads with them to make more at home.
Icicle making in progress. Love how they stand so close to each other.
Cute as a button. Can't you just feel her joy in her crafting? She is a sweet soul through and through. Check out the pipe cleaner swirl on that turkey.
Aren't they cute? I can't get over it. Chat and chuckle.
This one loves crafting, lots of excitement from her.
We had some smaller pine cones that The Collector gathered from a park up the street and some girls made some pine cone art with those as well. The pine cone on the left looked like a fall bouquet from the top view. This sweetheart completed a knitted hat last spring that was donated to charity. She is a good little knitter.
Here's the whole group. I made them whisper "turkey" when I took the photo. They thought that was funny. There are two girls missing from the group, one left early and one couldn't make it, she is coming over today after school for a private turkey/acorn/icicle session. Should be fun.

There are several girls I didn't get good individual photos of and I apologize for that if they are looking at this post. Next time I will!

There you have it! Maybe some of you can use these ideas for some fun fall crafting with your kids or scout troops this fall.

Have a good weekend, Knitters.
best, susie


Anonymous said...

Fun ideas! I'm still looking forward to pictures of your remodel.

Susan B. Anderson said...

The kitchen is still not complete, I am waiting on my stone backsplash to come in and to be installed. THen I will post some photos!!

Betz White said...

Love all of these crafts! Yay! I needed some kid ideas, thaks for sharing!

Rachel said...

Feelin' some turkey love all the way over here!

Ertman-Trowbridge Family said...

I am definitely printing this post and sticking it in a safe place, so I can pull it out in a few years and use these ideas with my girls. (And, believe it or not, I will too!)

Alison said...

Adorable. I bet your daughters' friends love coming to her house to do crafts with her mom.

S.Hare said...

Love those turkeys! My daughter would have so much fun making a couple. Pinecone crafts are so fun. Thanks for sharing.
- Shannon in Belvidere, IL

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing. It looked like your troop had a fun time, And that's what it's all about, right? :)

Troop leader of 27 girls, 10 Br & 17 Jr.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Need to do this w/ some of Julia's little friends. Thanks for the idea!

Patonslake said...

Thanks for these ideas with your girl scout troop.
For our crafts club, the baby hats were a real hit as a first knitting project, and now they're asking for more!! Yikes, I thought we were going to crochet, so I guess that will wait. In the meantime, I'm on my way to Joanns to get the supplies for the turkeys and candy canes.
Thanks for these ideas, it helps especially when I have stacks of papers to correct as well!!

Kar said...

Those are the cutest little projects! Thanks for sharing all the ideas Susan. You are so kind. Have fun with the next meeting!


Unknown said...

Susie, thanks for the great craft ideas!! I am always looking for rainy day projects (we live in SEATTLE, we need lots of them!) with my 4-year old, and those icicles will be perfect! I'll save the turkeys for a few years from now.

VerĂ³nica said...

Susan te felicito por tus originales trabajos...muy bello tu blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO much for posting the pictures and supplies for those darling turkeys! I teach 2nd grade and I know the kids would LOVE to make these! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

Kate (KnitsInClass) said...

Love seeing all those crafty girls! I might be able to get the boys to make something out of Legos, but that's about as crafty as we get around here.

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Oh my gosh, so much fun! I'm totally loving the turkeys. I may have to snatch that idea and have my boys make some.

You can see the happiness and pride in these girls' faces.

Stefanie said...

Very cool; may try to make these w/my two girls for Thanksgiving. If I was still teaching, I'd definitely do this w/my class.

TopChamp said...

ooh - they look great. I will store them in the Brownie memory banks.. the pipe cleaner icicles particularly look like a great filler for a few minutes.

Now - what ideas do you have on a clown theme??

Jill said...

I hope you don't mind, but I totally stole your ideas here for my Juniors Meeting yesterday.
We made the Turkey's and the Pipe Cleaner Icicles. We had 16 girls and they all made two Icicles so we can give one away when we go Christmas Caroling in December at at Nursing Home.
The Girls had the best time. I am not all that crafty, but with the preparation over the weekend we made out fine.
You are a lifesaver!

Betsie said...

I wanted to thank you for this great idea! I just did this craft with my Daisy troop this afternoon and they LOVED it! All the parents thought it was a great project and I think there will be 7 very awesomely dressed Thanksgiving tables this year in my town! Thanks so much!

Mercedes said...

Thank you for this well thought out craft! Trying it with my brownies tomorrow:)