By Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)
I love Autumn! I have lived in many places but where I currently live in Australia the leaves on the trees turn from green to vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red – which can be rare for a country covered in eucalypts and bush.
The leaves gracefully fall from their branches and remind me of dancing as they elegantly swoop, swirl and twirl in the wind onto the ground.
This is my favorite time of year and those simple moments with my children – enjoying the fall colors in nature and the crisp air – are some that I enjoy the most!
So do other dance parents such as Sorina Fant, mother of two dancers who shared with us a few works of art that she completed with her dance kids – I can’t wait to share them with you below!
The First Step…
On your next walk around the neighborhood with your dancers or even on a trip to a local park, make sure to collect the autumn leaves needed for these fun projects.
Encourage your dancer to collect leaves from the ground in a variety of shapes and colors. Remind them not to pull leaves directly off of the trees.
Collect your crafting Materials
Once all of the leaves are collected, gather your craft supplies. Not every project below needs every item, but having them on hand can mean trying more than one at a time.
- card stock
- a black marker or dance images printed out on paper or card
- red and yellow paint
- Trays or plates for the paint
- paint brushes
- a camera or device for taking photos
Your Ballerina Image
To complete this craft you will need a silhouette image of a ballerina or dancer. And there are several ways you can do this:
- Draw one freehand
- Trace an image
- Print one from the internet
- Download the free templates from the Dance Parent 101 Newsletter Member Vault here.
Sorina Traced her ballerina images onto her card and colored the figures in black. But I have found some images you can print off at home in our Dance Parent 101 Newsletter Member Vault to make it easy for you!
1. Ballerina Leaf Stamping and Printing
Leaf stamping is a fun activity for kids, and in this project, kids can create tutus and other costumes for their dancers using their leaves and paint!
1. Set up some trays or paper plates with red and yellow paint on them. You might want to mix the colors to get orange as well.
2. Either use a paintbrush to paint the leaves or lay them into the paint. I usually find the first method is best as you don’t end up with a half-broken leaf left in the paint tray. You will need to paint on a thick coat.
3. Then press the paint side onto the dancer image. One idea is to stamp the leaves around the dancer’s waist to create the tutu.
In the pack of dance silhouettes, I have supplied to the newsletter members I have also added in some hip hop style images with dancers throwing their hands behind them. I thought kids could create a magical trail of leaves appearing out of their hands???
2. Autumn Leaf Ballerina Dress-Up
Using many of the same supplies and techniques from the leaf stamping project, the Autumn Dress-Up craft allows your dancer to use the actual leaf to dress their silhouette.
Get your dancer to have a look through all the leaves you have collected and choose their favorites based on their colors and shapes.
Then have your dancer add the leaves around the waist of the dancer like a tutu.
Finally glue them in place and make sure you allow time to dry them.
To stop them from curling, you might want to place something heavy on top of the final image in the final stages of drying.
The finished product will add great autumn decor to your home.
3. Ballerina Fall Photography Art Project
Photography projects are always a ton of fun for kids and these silhouette projects have become popular over the years. I have been seen in classrooms, in home art activities, and in animations for commercials.
This project will require your dance image to be printed onto a thin piece of sturdy card stock.
Then you need to cut out the image leaving the surrounding paper intact.
The figure will need to be cut from the inside by pinching the middle of the paper. Do not cut from the edge of the paper as this will not maintain the sturdy frame around the figure that is necessary for this project to work. You might want to use a sharp exacto knife instead of scissors to get a really neat cut out.
Older children, should be able to cut the silhouettes independently, however, the younger dancers will need this step done for them.
Once the figure has been removed, it is time to take pictures! Head to a local park or go for another walk around the neighborhood. Find trees and bushes with vibrant leaves, hold the silhouette cut out over the leaves, and take the picture.
The final product will be really interesting and will have people talking and asking lots of questions such as what is the background, where did you take the photo and more!!
For a wonderful keepsake or gift idea for grandparents and other relatives, use a silhouette for your child in a dance position and place that cut out over their artwork. This would be a wonderful way to document this stage in your dancer’s life and will be a unique piece of artwork for your home.