Hands-On Crafts: Fall Flutter-bys
It is the time of year for nature’s magic show: when the leaves on trees change from vibrant green to every shade of yellow, orange, brown and red. As the leaves swirl in the wind on their way to the ground, they sometimes resemble beautiful butterflies fluttering by. Fall is also the time when the brilliantly colored Monarch butterflies migrate south to warmer roosting grounds for the winter. Parents and their curious kids can celebrate both the beauty of the fall season and the flight of the Monarchs by making these easy ‘fall flutter-bys’ out of gathered leaves and simple items from around the house. This colorful creation will be a fun reminder of warmer days when snowflakes falling from the sky soon replace butterflies fluttering by.

Ages: 2 - 10

Time: one hour

Skills Required: painting, gluing

Materials: brown paper lunch bag, scissors, stapler, clothes pin, washable paint or watercolors, paint brush, glue, Ziploc plastic sandwich bag, leaves, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, thread

Start by heading out on a leaf hunt
A good assortment of colorful fall leaves is needed for this project. Before heading out to gather the leaves, make a quick bag to hold the specimens that you pick up. All you need to do is cut about 2 inches from the top of a brown paper lunch sack. The loop that is cut from the top of the bag can be used as a handle for the bag. Just cut apart the loop so that you have one long piece of the bag and staple or glue the ends to the edges of the bag. Decorate the bag if desired. Then, head out on a walk through the backyard or neighborhood park in search of pretty fall leaves. Gather leaves in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.

Make a colorful butterfly

Sit down with the assortment of leaves to make some butterflies. Begin by simply placing about a dozen (maybe more or less depending on their size) leaves in a Ziploc sandwich bag. Place the leaves in the bag carefully, so that there is one layer of leaves that fills the bag from the seam to the top. Gently press out any air and seal the bag tightly. Next, pinch the bag together in the middle and slide it into a clothespin. The clothespin can be painted with washable paint or watercolors if desired. Add some antennae by folding a pipe cleaner in half and attaching it to the clothespin. Last, glue googly eyes to the clothespin and give your creature a smiling face.

By attaching a thread to the clothespin, the butterfly can be hung from a hook and will appear to flutter in the breeze. Or, glue a magnet to the back of the clothespin and use flutter-bys to decorate the refrigerator or a school locker.

Jill Jolton is associate editor of Colorado Parent and the mother of two energetic and artistic sons.  Click here for a complete list of Jill's Hands-On Crafts.

If butterflies are your thing, check out the activities in The Butterfly: Teach Your Child About Nature and Transformation.