Thursday, September 25, 2014

Favorite Fall Children's Books, Toddler Friendly Activities, and DIY Decor - Ideas and Inspiration

Yesterday I posted my 12 favourite fall recipes, and today's round up is fall books, toddler activities, and easy DIY decor. We have read, done, and made every one of these and love them all.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Favorite Fall Children's Books, Toddler Friendly Activities, and DIY Decor - Ideas and Inspiration
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Books are one of my fave things to get for Aria. These are our absolute favourites from last year. And, we read a ton. I've come to the conclusion that I am kind of picky when it comes to children's books. I looked back on the notes I made for each book we borrowed from the library last October, and most of them were 'hated' 'boring' 'meh' 'kill me now'.

Five Little Pumpkins is definitely Aria's top pick, and mine is The Little Yellow Leaf. I adore the Yellow Leaf book. Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear makes a close second, it has that little extra something and a kitty on almost all of the pages for Aria to find. We've got lots more Autumn books to read this year and I hope we find a bunch more faves.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Favorite Fall Children's Books, Toddler Friendly Activities, and DIY Decor - Ideas and Inspiration
[ spider hand prints / ghost feet / glow stick bath / finger paint painters tape jack-o-lantern ]

I kept our activities pretty low key last year. We made a nice pile of spider hand print cards to send out to friends and family. And, with that one little craft my love for all things hand print and foot print art blossomed. We've got something for almost all of the holidays now.

Glow sticks from the Target dollar section made for a super entertained Aria. She played with these for the longest of times, which is a big bonus with a 9 month old. I stole the painters tape finger paint pumpkin idea from Hello Erin, and it was a big hit. Aria took to her masterpiece with gusto and then admired it for days afterwards until it made its way onto the front porch. We will totally be doing this one again because it was such a fun project.

Sweet Turtle Soup: Favorite Fall Children's Books, Toddler Friendly Activities, and DIY Decor - Ideas and Inspiration
[ ribbon wreath tutorial / burlap mini banner wreath / pumpkin wreath / fall twig wreath with rosettes tutorial ]

I have a slight obsession with wreaths. Aren't they the cutest? The ribbon wreath is my favourite. The link isn't the precise tutorial I used to make it because that blog no longer exists, but this one is similar. Instead of one ribbon loop per pin I put on like 6 and then fluffed them each with my finger. Definitely not the cheapest of wreaths because that ribbon adds up, but oh so cute.

I don't have a tutorial for the burlap wreath, because I just made it up as I went. Super easy though. Wrap a wreath form in a spool of burlap, don't skimp. I used scrapbook paper to cut out pennants and then scrapbook alphabet stickers for my message. I went with "happy fall" and "give thanks". Hole punch, string, and tie it on the the wreath. I purchased fall leaves from the dollar store and pined them to cover the ties from the mini banner. p.s. I had to chop down the mini banner three times to get it small enough to fit, so go small.

The pumpkin wreath is my new wreath this year, the rest are from last year. I saw something similar on pinterest, and just tweaked it with what I already had. The pumpkin wreath inspiration was a yarn wreath, but since I had orange mesh in my craft box I went with that instead. Plus, yarn takes a lot longer to wrap then a few loops with mesh. So, I pinned on the mesh - don't skimp, I think I ended up going around three times to cover up the wreath underneath. Tie a brown ribbon as the hanger and for the pumpkin stem. Tie raffia to the ribbon. I used scrapbook paper and cut out 5 billion tiny leaves, and my hands are still cramped. You could use little foam leaves instead, or better yet buy a leaf shaped stamp cutter punch. Then tie on or hot glue the leaves onto a few raffia pieces. I also hot glued a few leaves to the wreath so they were spread out a bit more.

The rosettes wreath is the first one I made. My rosettes are kind of sad compared to the tutorial's rosettes, so I'd like to redo them sometime. But other than that it is the first to go up each year and it makes me happy to see it on the front door every time I come and go from the house!

Sweet Turtle Soup: Favorite Fall Children's Books, Toddler Friendly Activities, and DIY Decor - Ideas and Inspiration
[ leaf garland / circle garland / pennant banner / candy corn garland tutorial ]

Garlands are my favourite way to decorate for any occasion because they are so gosh darn easy. For the leaf garland I bought foam leaves from joann's and stapled them onto some yarn. That's it. I usually staple this type of garland onto coordinating ribbon, but I was just using what I had on hand.

For the circle garland I purchased 4 different color pieces of scrapbook paper. I went with sparkly purple, black, orange, and green - hard to see in the little picture. I have a round shape cutter punch and I used that to cut as many circles from each piece of paper. I ended up with several extra. Then I took fishing wire and hot glued two circles together with the wire crossing in between. Use a good amount of hot glue to keep the wire from sliding when everything is dry. Let dry, and hang.

For the 'trick or treat' pennant banner I cut Halloween scrapbook paper into pennants. I bought a little booklet of Halloween theme scrapbook paper at Michaels, and it is the same I used for the mini banner wreath above. I used scrapbook alphabet stickers for my message, again the same set from the mini banner wreath. Hole punch, string, and hang.

I thought this candy corn garland was super cute, especially if you have a kid that can paint in particular areas. Plus, it has an added bonus of being a fraction lesson - if you are into that sort of thing. I found orange plates at Target so I just painted the white and yellow. Hole punch, string, and hang.

I hope you are inspired to try your hand at one or two or three of these, and hey if you do let me know!


  1. Love, love, love the wreaths :).

    I was just thinking about getting out our fall books today... I think you have inspired me to do just that.

  2. Love everything about this post! We just borrowed 5 little pumpkins from the library and Hallie smiles every time we read it! We also just got Room on the Broom yesterday! I love holiday books!

  3. Great post, and lots of great ideas! Garlands are my favorite thing to decorate with too, but I only have a few right now. That pumpkin wreath is really cute, but so is everything else! Love the pictures of baby Aria - I can't believe how much she's changed in a year.

  4. You've got some serious skills going on in the crafting department. You do. I mean it. And I have a thing about seasonal books. When letty was first born i was sweating it. Like I need. More. Books. I still look at our minor fall collection and get heart palpitations. Christmas we have got on lockdown. I need scholastic. Need it now.

  5. I was thisclose to buying Five Little Pumpkins the other day, looks like I'll be going back to get it! & I love all of the activities that you did with Aria last year, Cam's 10 months so those will be perfect for us to do with her- thanks for the awesome ideas :)

  6. Get out of town! I am SO doing the glow stick bath! Never would I have thought about that hah. I love Aria's hands & footprints. I want to do the same thing with Maylee. What do you use to paint? Food coloring/water-based paint? Share your secret! Speaking of hand print, I never said anything about it because it's going up in tomorrow's post, but we loved Aria's hand print for Maylee's birthday! Thanks for thinking of her!

  7. Sad confession: Ez is 16 months old and I haven't done a single hand or foot print craft yet :( Definitely gonna try some of these out this year! We checked out 5 Little Pumpkins this year, and Ez loves it. I definitely want to read Hurry, Hurry, Mary Dear - you had me at "a kitty on every page."

  8. Mason and I love books too! Thanks for sharing this awesome list with us. We don’t have any of these. I will have to remember the handprint spider craft! And I am itching to make a burlap wreath. I just have to find a good tutorial first!!! I love your burlap wreath!

  9. We are HUGE fans of the Five Little Pumpkins over here! I pulled it out a few weeks ago and we've been reading it daily since. The Pumpkin Prayer looks like one we need to add to our collection!
    I made my fall wreath, and it's my favorite of the wreaths that adorn our door.
    Your garland is the cutest! I might have to swing by JoAnns and see if I can't find some leaves to staple on some twine.

  10. I am going to pin this so I can reference it when I head to the library next week. Connor would love the books you have listed.

  11. Oh, thank you for the reminder to get books out!! Hopefully I'll be finished cleaning by early next week so I'll get them ready! You're so crafty! I feel like anything I get out or start to do Wyatt starts "helping" and it goes to poop. I need to find some easy crafts for us to do. I may just be sharing what he does at school. ;)

  12. That glow stick bath looks so fun! I bet Mason would go crazy! Is it literally just a regular bath and then you turn off the lights and give them glow sticks?
    Oh and "Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich"… looks so cute! Might have to chef Amazon for that one :)


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