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Craft Ideas for Kids | Lantern Walk Gnomes

There are few memories so precious as the lantern walks I have been on with my children. Every year, after the clocks go back and it's getting darker earlier and there's a nip in the air, we wrap up warm and gather again at their school in the late afternoon. We light the lanterns that they have made that week and follow a trail through the school grounds, singing quietly as we go.

This unusual year we are having is providing us with opportunities to find alternative ways to celebrate those moments in the year that we treasure, encouraging us to think about what it is about them that we love. This year the gnomes on our nature table will be doing their own lantern walk, reminding us to light the way for ourselves as we go into the darker days.

You will need: Pieces of felt measuring 12 x 8cm, Measuring tape and pen, Scissors, Embroidery thread and needlesPeg dolls 5cm high (We used ones with armholes but you can try using ones without), Pipe cleaner 5 cm long or strong glue, Very small twigs, Scraps of felting wool in natural colours, Yellow or orange pieces of felt measuring 2 x 3cm.

1. Use your measuring tape to help you copy the lines drawn in this image onto your piece of felt. (This is a great opportunity for older children to exercise their measuring skills).

2. Cut off the corner pieces on the outside of the arc shape.

3. Sew a running stitch around the smaller semi-circular line that you didn't cut.

4. Thread your pipe cleaner through the armholes in the peg doll and bring both sides forward, bending the ends around a small twig to hold it.

If using a peg doll without armholes I would suggest using a strong glue to stick the twig to the side of the body.

5. Put the cloak over the head of the peg doll and pull the embroidery thread so that it tightens around the neck, then knot it.

6. Take a scrap of carded or merino wool and poke it into the folds of the cloak to create a beard, and hair if you wish.

7. Roll up your piece of yellow or orange felt and secure it with a simple stitch, taking the thread up to make a handle.

In truth this requires a lot of guidance for younger children but I couldn't resist making some that looked like the real ones we've used on our walks. We also had a go at gluing some tissue and wool scraps into acorn caps, which is a much easier option.

8. Enjoy creating your nature table.

9. Light a candle for the gnomes, and for yourselves.

“I go with my bright little lantern, my lantern is going with me. In heaven the stars are shining, on earth shines my lantern for me…”