I absolutely love this time of year. The break in the summer heat and humidity means that I can actually talk my girls into hiking again.  And the beautiful display of fall colors against crisp, clear skies usually makes for the perfect outdoor reward.  

Here are some of my favorite craft ideas for this time of year that celebrate the season while allowing your child to experience nature at its finest. 

Nature sorting: This cute idea from little eco footprints is not so much a craft as it is an opportunity to play with nature.  No special supplies are needed, although an empty egg carton is helpful for toting nature treasures and for sorting as desired.  It's lightweight enough to carry along on a hike and perfect for protecting crushable natural objects - I can't tell you how many leaves, flower petals, and pinecones have met their demise after being stashed in my pockets!

Cozy fall mobile: Check out this link for instructions to make this gorgeous Yarn Leaf Mobile Craft from two shades of pink.  It looks super easy to make and if you do any sort of knitting or crocheting, it's likely that you already have the perfect stash of loose yarn to use.  If not, ask your favorite knitter for some scrap pieces.  This looks like a lovely way to bring a touch of fall inside.

Nature-filled suncatcher:  I've tried this craft a few times with my kids and with my girl scout troop and it is always a big hit.  The best part is that there is no real structure to it and the only supplies you need are contact paper and stash of natural objects.  This link from Blue Bird Lucy's uses a plate to trace the paper into a round shape and some yarn to hang it up as a suncatcher. You could also make placemats or table decorations of any size and shape. 

Pinecone spider:  Leaves tend to get all the fun when it comes to fall crafts for the kiddos.  But as this spider craft shows, pinecones can be pretty fun to play with too.  This idea, from The Magic Onions, would make a great Halloween decoration. Or you could try this Woodland Fairy idea from Twig and Toadstool.

Painting with sticks and leaves.  This blog post from Feels Like Home walks you through an art project that is more about the experience than the final project.  And I love her ideas for using nature as both art supplies and the canvas.  This looks like a marvelous, messy way to top off a morning hike.

 What are your favorite fall craft ideas?  Let me know in the comments below.

Related posts on MNN:

Fall fun: Nature crafts for kids
Celebrate the season and help your kids explore nature with these easy-going crafts for fall.