It’s that time of year again. Beautiful natural resources are all around us this Autumn. Get your Welly boots on, wrap up warm, take a nice nature walk with your little ones, and see what you come across.

For my first “Make and Do” article, I thought I’d share a family favourite: Conker Printing

You will need:

  • Conkers, different shapes and sizes
  • A tin, tub, box, or bowl
  • Paper
  • Ready mixed paint
  • Pots or cups for paint
  • Teaspoon
  • A little water
  • This is a really fun activity that everyone enjoys! You can keep it as simple as you like, or go mad experimenting with colours and conkers. You all get outside for some fresh air, and have a great time making some fabulous prints. Please be mindful of things being put near little mouths and as with all outdoor and messy play, be sure to wash your hands afterwards.

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    1. Put your paint in your cup and add a little water to make it thinner and slightly runny, but keeping it thick enough to still coat the back of your teaspoon. We had two different colours but you can have as many as you like.
    2. Put a piece of paper in your tin, we use old sweet tins (Roses, Quality Street etc) and A5 coloured paper. You can reuse old newspapers, junk mail or paper scraps too.
    3. Using your teaspoon, pop a conker in your paint cup and give it a stir around to fully coat the conker. Then scoop it out and drop it into your tin. You can add as many different conkers and colours as you’d like. Or do one colour at a time and layer it up – totally up to you.
    4. Give it a shake! Or a roll! Or a bash! Or a jiggle! If you have the lid, pop it on and go wild. When you are finished, take your paper out and leave it to dry, and try some different colours or combinations.

    You can use the finished prints for simply brightening up your fridge or giving to Granny. But the fun doesn’t end there! You can upcycle them to something else.

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    We turn ours into paper chains and gift tags, but you could use them for anything you like.If you have A3 sized paper you could perhaps take your conkers into the garden and roll them along to make sheets of wrapping paper. Try rolling with acorns and chestnuts or add in some leaf prints to jazz it up a little. Remember to talk about what you see, hear, feel and smell. Count the conkers with your older children. Do they know how to mix colours to make new ones, can they predict which shapes will roll or bounce the best?

    You can make a natural treasure basket with your discoveries too. We added leaves, conkers, acorns, tissue paper and some little plant pots to a basket and kept it outside for a few days to be explored and played with while the weather has been beautiful!

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    My eldest had great fun making a conker caterpillar – piece a hole through the conkers using a metal skewer, thread them onto string or wool and knot the ends. Then just add a pipe cleaner and some glitter glue!

    However you chose to experiment with conkers this week, be sure to let me know how you get on.

    Lauren.