Making a scarecrow is such an obvious fall sensory activity for kids, I can’t believe it’s taken me four years to actually try it!
I picked up a cheap bale of hay from a local apple orchard ($3.50!) and set about thinking of fun things to do with it – set up a photo area for our Wizard of Oz party, make a scarecrow sensory bin, use it as an alternative to jumping in leaves (different sensory experience)… so many fun ideas, but making a scarecrow was first on my list!
I grabbed some recently stained clothes that hadn’t quite made their way to the trash yet, and encouraged the kids to get stuffing!
This was a pretty simple activity, but it was a nice change to do some crafting outside, and it was so satisfying for the children to be able to create something so big! Depending on how much hay you buy and the size of clothes you set out, children can create a scarecrow more than twice their size – or even “just their size.” You could even create a family of scarecrows.
The sensory input of being outdoors, feeling the rough, crunchy texture of the hay contrasting with the soft fabric, using our hands to push and pull the hay and clothing around to form the scarecrows body, while listening to the rustling of the hay mixed with the other sounds of fall – all of these wonderful stimuli are amazing for building neural pathways and developing healthy brains in early childhood. (Not to mention the amazing memories you’re creating and health benefits of being outside.)
Materials for Making Your Own Scarecrow
- Old clothes
- Hay (try to find a local farm that will sell you a bale – you could easily spend $30 at Michaels to buy enough hay for the full scarecrow. However, if all you can get is a small bale, try making a doll-sized scarecrow)
- Cheap gloves (for children who need a bit of a buffer between their skin and the hay)
- A burlap or mesh bag (or square of fabric with some twine to tie it)
Once the clothes are full of hay, you can squish the scarecrow into “human shape” Tuck the ends of the shirt into the pants to connect the scarecrow’s body.
We didn’t have a burlap bag on hand and I didn’t want to use one of my nicer linen bags, so our scarecrow was headless. To make a proper scarecrow – you know, the kind with a head – add some hay to a burlap bag (or even a mesh bag from buying onions or potatoes) and tuck it into your scarecrow’s shirt collar. Top with a hat.
Have you ever made a scarecrow before? Would your kids enjoy making one?