Orchard Origins

If you’re staring down the days of summer wondering what to do with your kids to keep them off of screens, yet entertained, the answer may already be in your kitchen. It might seem to be an unconventional choice, but walnuts and their shells make the perfect craft supply! That’s because walnuts are versatile, easy to hold and use at any age, and kids can snack on them along the way. Snacktime and playtime all in one! Some of these projects are easy enough for the kids to work on independently, which can help develop critical thinking skills and individual creativity.

Educational Crafts: Teach Counting and Shapes

No need to let summer vacation stop the learning process. Reinforce everything your kids learned the previous school year with educational crafts using walnuts. You can practice basic counting skills for small children, or work on multiplication and division with older kids. Tracing state shapes is a fun way to teach geography. Then, have them recreate the state’s using walnuts as the building blocks! You can even challenge young learners to solve riddles using walnuts in or out of the shell. Bonus: The solutions are edible and make for a delicious reward!

Games Galore: Substituting for your Favorite Pieces

Set up a tic-tac-toe or checkers board on a sheet of paper and use the shells as pieces for any game. If you want to make it even more interactive, have the kids uniquely decorate their shells and walnut pieces before starting the game. This will act as both another fun craft and an addition to the games. Is your favorite board game missing some pieces? Walnuts can be substituted for the tokens in any game – the possibilities are endless!

Summer Creatures

Walnut shells themselves can also make for a great canvas. Your kids can transform their favorite nut into their favorite animal with a little paint and simple craft supplies! Use the outdoors to spark their curiosity about the world around them. The rounded shape of a walnut’s shell is perfect for making cute critters like hedgehogs, ladybugs, turtles, bumble bees, and more. Your little learners will end up with a toy they can keep with them all summer long!

Edible Crafts: Healthy Snack Board

Make an exception to the “no playing with your food” rule with an interactive snack board! Load up the table with healthy snack of all shapes and sizes like walnuts, cucumbers, baby carrots and berries. Let them play around with making different shapes or scenes out of the food as they snack. They’ll have so much fun they won’t even notice they’re eating vegetables! The edible canvas will keep them entertained, activate their imagination, and instill smart food choices all at once. How’s that for a win-win-win?

Fairy Garden: Something More Intricate for Older Kids

For older kids, work together to create a whole new world using walnut shells to build a fairy garden. Browse sites like Pinterest for inspiration or forge a village from your own imagination! Using walnut shells, simple craft supplies, and scraps from around the garden, the options are endless for designing your miniature paradise. The final result will be a unique outdoor decoration to display in up your yard!

Walnut Boats: A Craft You Can Play With

Set sail this summer with a delightful walnut boat craft. Using a few simple and on-hand supplies like toothpicks and leaves, it’s easy to transform a simple walnut shell into an entire adventure. Teach kids about buoyancy while having fun and test them out with a walnut boat race in the bathtub! Winner gets a handful of walnuts, of course. If you make any of these fun and simple summer crafts, post about them on social media and tag @cawalnuts so we can see your creations!
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