contributed by Leanne Guenther
This cute little squirrel has a crafty tail made from leaves. You can use real leaves that you collect at any time of year or you can use the paper template leaves that I've provided.
The photo here shows an example made with real autumn leaves from our cotoneaster bushes and weeping birch tree. Bushes can be a great source of leaves as they tend to have more colorful leaves and they're a little smaller so you can have fun being creative -- our poplar tree leaves are so big that one or two would cover the whole page!
My favorite time to make this craft is during the autumn as the squirrels are so busy in the yard. Unlike many mammals in cold climates, squirrels don't hibernate (sleep) or migrate (move someplace warmer) during the winter. They do eat like crazy in the autumn to fatten themselves up -- this layer of fat helps keep them warm through the cold winter and helps make sure they don't starve when it's hard to find food in the snow.
- something to color with,
- Optional: real leaves that you collect outside
Instructions for making the squirrel craft:
- Print out the template of choice.
- I've given you a choice of a squirrel with an acorn and a squirrel with a crab apple -- in our part of the world there are no acorns but the squirrels sure are busy collecting crab apples!
- I've also provided an option with some light grey lines where the leaves should be glued (just in case you're working with children who like a bit more instruction in their crafting).
- Optional: Go for a nature walk and collect leaves. You can collect them from small shrubs and bushes, not just trees!
- If using the black and white template, color in the squirrel using your favorite coloring tools (I love pencil crayons!) You can extend this project over two days with the first day for coloring and the second day for collecting and gluing your leaves.
- Optional: You can cut out the squirrel template piece and glue it onto a construction paper background if you like. It can be fun to make a big collage on a bulletin board or bedroom wall. Include some leaf animals (leaf turkey, leaf hedgehog, leaf owl) and some handprint and leaf trees.
- If you don't feel like using real leaves, cut some free hand from construction paper or use the leaf template I have provided (see below).
- Glue the leaves behind the squirrel's body to make a tall, bushy tail.
- Let the glue dry.
- Optional: Store your project with a sheet of waxed paper overtop and a heavy book on top (does anyone still have phone books? *laugh*) If you don't have a heavy book, put a
cereal box with a few heavy cans on top instead. This will help press and preserve the leaves a little bit. They'll still get crunchy overtime, but pressing them flat under waxed
paper will help keep them from crumbling somewhat.
Of course, this requires patience which my children don't have a lot of so feel free to hang it up on the fridge without doing this step (that's what we did)!
- Close the template window after printing to return to this screen.
- Set page margins to zero if you have trouble fitting the template on one page (FILE, PAGE SETUP or FILE, PRINTER SETUP in most browsers).
A Child's Calendar - November poem by John Updike