The fall season brings leaves changing colors, apples, pumpkins, and scarecrows! A special child scarecrow activity is easy to plan and quick to create! Today’s scarecrows can be built like the traditional “Wizard of Oz” character or a imaginative, artistic one! Kids may want to build their favorite superhero, a cartoon character, rock or movie star, a professional such as a fireman or teacher or spooky Halloween creature!
Begin a child scarecrow activity, with a little history of the scarecrow. The scarecrow is not just an American icon, but is found in all cultures around the world. For thousands of years farmers from countries such as Egypt, Greece, Japan, Germany and England used many types of statues or people to scare birds and other pests away from their garden and crops.
This first recorded history of the scarecrow includes Egyptian farmers setting out traps of netting amongst the crops. The farmers dressed in scarves to scare birds (crows) into the netting and remove the birds from eating their crops. Even the Native Americans used “guards” to scare away birds from their crops. When the English colonists settled in America, they would stand guard over their crops, but when their fields became to large, they built scarecrows from cast-off clothing and large gourds for heads to watch over their crops. Thus, we have the traditional scarecrow as we know him!
The first step in this child scarecrow activity is to have the children bring in items for the building of your scarecrow. The different kinds of materials to use are limitless. Kids can use all sorts of leftovers from other arts and crafts projects. Items such as cardboard tubes, yarn, foam pieces, wire springs or coat hangers, tin pans, etc. Other items needed to build your scarecrow include:
- Tools such as hammer and nails, wire cutters, scissors and stapler.
- Corn stalks, PVC pipe, chicken wire or pieces of wood for the frame.
- For clothing, just about anything will do along with hats, gloves and accessories.
- The head can be made from a burlap bag, pillowcase, large pumpkin or gourd, etc.
- For the face and hair use paint, markers, bits of felt, rag mop, yarn, and straw.
- Stuffing items include newspaper, straw, rags, discarded bags, etc.
- Other items such as string, wire, twine, safety pins, and strong tape.
Next, build your scarecrow by beginning with the frame. A basic t-frame works well and is easy to make. If you use wood, make sure to secure the cross pieces with hammer and nails or tightly secure with heavy twine. Other materials such as PVC pipe or corn stalks work just as well for the scarecrow frame.
Lay the frame down on the ground and slide the clothing onto the frame. Stuff the body of your scarecrow with crumpled newspaper, paper or plastic bags. Stand the scarecrow upright and complete stuffing the legs and arms. If you are using fabric for the head such as burlap or a pillowcase, design the face prior to stuffing the head. Attach to the body at the shoulders using safety pins.
Finally, complete your child scarecrow activity by adding any accessories that go with the style the kids chose to make. Add bits of straw, hay or leaves to give your scarecrow the traditional look. Show off your scarecrow creation proudly by entering it in a scarecrow contest, displaying it your front yard for Halloween or in your child's classroom!
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