Getting kids to eat their vegetables and fruit--or to get them to stop playing with their food--can be a challenge. Yet, playing with food is not always a bad thing, especially if it involves a craft project. Children learn from their very first Jack O'Lantern that some produce is simply destined to be the star in a craft project. In projects that require knife use, be sure only older children do any knife work, or an adult should use the knife and have children do other aspects of the project.
The potato stamp is a traditional vegetable craft for children. It involves cutting a raw potato in half and carving a shape into the cut end. The stamp, dipped into paint, can decorate greeting cards, pictures or other art projects. Raw potatoes aren't the only type of produce which can be used as a stamp. For example, cutting the bottom off a bunch of celery makes a rosette-shaped stamp. Cut a raw apple in half to make an apple-shaped stamp. Experiment with pieces of raw, firm produce to create stamps which mimic the actual piece of produce or simply make an interesting shape. Dip the shapes into paint and stamp onto paper.
Apple Doll Head Jars
Decorate the lids of recycled glass jars with apple doll heads. Make an apple doll head by carving basic features into a raw, peeled apple and allowing the apple to dry after briefly soaking in a lemon wash. When the apple dries, it shrivels up, making the carved fruit look like an old face. Begin the nose by cutting a U shape in the center of the apple. Carve out around the underside of the U until a nose shape emerges. Cut slits for the eyes and mouth. Insert beads into the slits after the apple dries; one for each eyeball. Glue hair or a fabric hat on top of the head, and then glue the head onto the top of the lid.
For the holiday season, have children create a fragrant pomander ornament by covering an orange with whole cloves. Insert each clove, stem first ,into the orange peel. Children can either make a design with cloves or completely cover the orange peel. Once finished, secure a red ribbon around the pomander to hang as an ornament, or arrange decorated oranges in a bowl to provide fragrance to the room.