Nothing makes me happier than going for a lovely autumnal walk looking for nature’s treasure with my kids. It takes me back to my own childhood kicking leaves around to find conker treasure and then figuring out how to play with them or inevitably we used them as weapons! Now that I have my own children and would prefer them not to throw them around at each other we got our heads together and came up with some ideas on what to do with conkers for kids play.
First up we used some of our homemade play dough recipe to make some conker folk people. You could use shop bought play dough, plasticine or clay to make these. Just make some bodies and hats with the dough and then draw a face on the conker and add them to the bodies. We had all sorts of shapes and sizes and our son Teddy made a wizard conker person.
This time we made some hedgehogs using the dough, spaghetti for the spikes and the conker for the hedgehog face. You could use craft matchsticks for the spikes or like us we used some dry spaghetti. This activity is great for fine motor skills as they are using their little fingers to work the dough and then to poke the pasta in. You could extend play by making a small hedgehog home for your conker animal.
I remember marble painting at school, do you? Well inspired by this I set about to change this to conker painting. We used a tray but you could use plastic Tupperware box or anything else that you can easily wipe and clean up afterwards. Simply place a piece of paper down and then place a drop of autumnal paint colours onto your conkers and then place them into the tray to let your little ones roll teh conkers around to make an interesting pattern.
When our youngest was toddling around we made up an autumn sensory tuff tray for her. My husband drilled a hole through several conkers and then we thread some rope to make a conker hoop. This way it was safer for a toddler to play with as at that age they love putting everything in their mouths. We added in leaves, sticks, wooden toys and schleich animals. You can add in a wooden farm for harvest time, a gruffalo, wooden blocks or anything else seasonal you have to hand at home. Sensory tuff tray play is all about making it an interesting open ended play area that they will get creative themselves with.
I sourced some wooden log slices in bulk cheaply from eBay of making decorations with for halloween. it occurred to me to use some chalkboard paint we had in from another project to paint the wooden sides with. Then using a chalk pen I numbered the wooden slices for some number recognition for my preschooler. You can use conkers for learning place values and for counting with.
Another fun way to use then is to mark them with circles or crosses for a game of noughts and crosses. My kids love having simple things like this out on the dining room table as we’re busy serving the dinner up they can have play and then they don’t get restless at the table.
You can always go old school with this and make hole for your conker and tie the string in it and play conkers with an opponent.
Another outdoor play area for a mud kitchen or a tuff tray is to make conker soup. We used bubbles, paint, conkers, herbs and water to make up our very own pretend conker soup.
I hope that this post has given you with some ideas on what to do with your conkers for kids play inspiration. I would also love to hear what you get up to with your conkers. Please do share your ideas with me in the comments box below or tag me in social media with any photos of your conker craft play.
On a final note if you’re conker collecting in Yorkshire then do head over to my recent posts on the top places for conker collecting in Yorkshire.