Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Buckeye Zoo (and Other Fall Seed Creations)

I just love this time of year! One of my favorite things to do since I was a kid and now with my own kids is collecting the Fall leaves, nuts, and seeds. L says she likes to be a "thing finder" like Pippi Longstocking on our nature walks. This year, as we've been foraging, we've also begun gluing some of our buckeyes and other nuts and seeds together into animals. 

Materials needed:
-helicopter seeds
-whatever other nuts and seeds you can find
-glue (I used a hot glue gun, but let L use wood glue.)
-acrylic paint

Before you start gluing, it's important to make sure that all your findings are bug-free and that they're dry. Put a layer of tinfoil on a baking sheet or pan and spread your nuts and seeds out on top. With your oven set to 200 degrees, bake your acorns, walnuts and buckeyes for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Turn the seeds over about every half an hour to prevent burning. With some of the spiky or more delicate seeds, bake them at a lower temperature...around 180 degrees...for an hour or so.

After the seeds are baked and cooled, you can start gluing together your creatures. I prefer using a hot glue's quick and holds the buckeyes and other seeds together nicely. I let L glue some of her own with some standard "wood glue" though. It takes longer to dry, but it's much safer for a 2 year old to use on her own! 

The elephant was the first member of our Buckeye Zoo...definitely L's idea! She looooves elephants!

Here's a little bunny rabbit...I think tomorrow I'll make some flop-eared bunnies for a dear friend of mine. So simple, but so cute!

I thought this one was gonna be a porcupine or hedgehog, but L said it looked most like a sheep. I agree!

And I just love this bird. We'll be making him/her a nest by gluing together twigs later this week. 

While most of our creatures were complete after gluing, we chose to paint L's caterpillar and the turtle and dragonfly we made together. 

What Buckeye creatures will you and your kids make this year? We'd love to see your creations shared here in the comment section...there are so many possibilities! Have fun collecting and creating!!! 

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