In addition to fruits and berries, autumn also means conkers! When the horse chestnut trees start to drop their prickly green fruits we go out and collect as many as we can. The children love peeling off the skin and finding a shiny brown conker inside.
The Danes do not do conker fighting but use their conker harvest for something a little more hyggeligt. We turn them into magical creatures by adding matchstick legs, drawing faces on them, and decorating them.
This is a great activity for kids but an adult or an older child will need to help with making holes in the conkers.
YOU WILL NEED
In addition to your conkers, you’ll also need a small screwdriver, some matches -for the legs and tail- yarn or twine and some permanent markers for drawing faces. To decorate your animals gather together items like small pinecones, acorns, flowers, glitter and pieces of fabric, or whatever else you can find.
- Select the conkers you need to make your animal: a smaller one for the head, and larger for the body. It’s easier if you use conkers that are not too wonky, otherwise, they’ll fall over when you put legs on them.
- Get your matchsticks, and break/cut the black bit off and discard it. You’ll need 4 matchsticks for legs, one to connect body and head and a few more ready in case they break.
- Holding the conker on a firm surface, like a tabletop, make holes for the legs and tail with your small screwdriver. You also need a hole to connect the body and head – also with a matchstick. Conkers are quite hard, so you’ll need to ‘drill’ into it with the screwdriver. Do not hold the conker in your hand when you are making holes, in case the screwdriver slips and you end up with a hole in your hand instead!
- Make holes for any additional features you would like your animal to have such as ears or horns.
- Carefully insert the matchsticks into the conkers assembling your animal
- Draw the face on using the marker pens and decorate the rest of the animal as you wish. You could add a small ‘scarf’ with some thread, or go all in with the glitter. In some cases, it might be easier to decorate the face before putting it on the body. Just make sure the ink is completely dry otherwise, it will smudge.
- Once you have finished your animals you could make a little woodland landscape for them to live in. They also make ideal gifts.