All children love scarecrows, and these miniature ones made from leftover pieces of wood, popsicle sticks and acrylic paint are very easy to make and lots of fun, even for very little ones. Like all good craft activities, there is no right or wrong way to make these. Use the following list of materials and my method simply as a guide, and improvise as much as you desire. Children are all natural artists, and yours are certain to have their own unique way of doing things.
To get children into the mood for this activity, point out any scarecrows in your local area and perhaps read some children's books which feature scarecrow characters. The Scarecrow and His Servant and The Lonely Scarecrow are two lovely titles. Maybe you can even make a larger scarecrow together for your own garden.
These Mini Scarecrows are also a great craft activity for a scarecrow-themed birthday party. Why not request the visiting children to come dressed up as scarecrows too, to further enhance the fun?
Remember, very small pieces such as beads can be choking hazards for young children, so be very careful if you use them.
Time: The amount of time you'll need to make this varies on whether you're going to use paint (as drying time will need to be factored in) and the age or ability of the children doing it. A basic version with very young children (and no paint) could take less than an hour, while creative older children may want to take their time.
Age: Any Age
Scrap pieces of wood, at least 25cm long
Two popsicle sticks for each scarecrow's arms - or in other words, twice as many popsicle sticks as scrap pieces of wood. Alternatively, sticks from the garden could be used.
Masking tape, for attaching the scarecrows' arms to their bodies
Child-friendly paper scissors
Acrylic paints in various colours
Wobbly craft eyes (optional)
Coloured felt-tipped pens for drawing faces (optional, as these can also be painted, if desired)
A selection of wool and cotton wool for hair
Fabric, felt and paper scraps for the scarecrows' clothes and hats
Cardboard paper towel roll or toilet paper roll (for a hat)
Bits and pieces for decoration such as pipe cleaners in various colours, feathers, beads, flowers (real or artificial)
Take the wood-scraps and popsicle sticks and attach them firmly with masking tape to form a cross shape. This is the scarecrow's body. Be sure to use lots of masking tape so the scarecrow won't fall to pieces when he or she is being painted and dressed.
Paint the scarecrow with acrylic paints. We usually do a basic coat and leave it to dry before progressing further, but do what works best for you and the children you're working with. As very young children can be impatient and perhaps won't want to wait, maybe you can get them to draw the scarecrow's face directly onto the wood.
If you used paint to cover the scarecrow's body, once this has dried you can start to facial features, either with paint or coloured felt-tipped pens. Either wobbly craft eyes can be used, or you can paint or draw them on.
When the paint on the scarecrows' faces has dried you can attach the hair to them using either clear plastic sticky-tape or craft glue.
Your scarecrows will now need to be dressed. Very young children will probably need help for this part of the activity. If you're a bit short of fabric and felt, even brown paper and newspaper can make very effective scarecrow clothes. While very young children may simply want to stick pieces of paper, felt or fabric directly onto the scarecrow's bodies, older ones may prefer to make more sophisticated clothes. These items can be attached with craft glue, masking tape or sticky tape. Even colourful pipe cleaners can be used to attach the pieces more securely and to add some extra colour. Don't be concerned if the clothing looks a bit crushed or crumpled - after all, scarecrows aren't particularly tidy.
A very important part of a scarecrow's charm is his or her ragged straw hat. A great way to make a straw hat is to cut a cardboard toilet roll down so it's approximately 10 or 12cm long (or any length that's suitable for the size of your scarecrow) and to then cut a ragged fringe along one edge, folding it outwards to create the appearance of a hat. If you like, you can create a top for your hat by sticking masking tape across it, but this isn't essential. If it's too large or small for your scarecrow, cut the back open and restick it together, so it fits around its head - the naturally curving shape of the roll will make this easy. You can then paint the hat, although this isn't necessary. Personally I liked the natural cardboard, as I felt it added to the scarecrow's charm.
Another kind of hat that looks great on scarecrows is a simple fabric bonnet. For this, you just need a round piece of cotton fabric in a suitable size, and after placing it on the scarecrow's head, attach it with an elastic band. Felt can also be used to make very effective hats.
Once the hats have been completed and attached to the scarecrows, you can add the finishing touches: feathers, flowers (real or artificial), beads and stickers will look wonderful. Your scarecrows are now complete.