Celebrate autumn by learning a little about oak trees and acorns, and then making these cutie pie little acorn necklaces!
Oak trees are huge! They can be up to 70 feet tall and 9 feet wide. They are sturdy deciduous trees. They reproduce by making acorns, which are their seeds. But they don’t start making acorns until they are at least 20 years old. Each fall, mature oak trees can make several thousand acorns.
“Away from the clutter and tangle of forest, they grow massive, their trunks thick,
their branches spreading with a vast graciousness above the golden grasses. They
are old, quiet trees, laden with tough, curled leaves and clusters of honey-brown
nuts, and it is to them we went to learn about harvesting acorns.”
-Nell, Into the Forest
Acorns have long been part of peoples’ diets too. They are easy to collect and are plentiful. They aren’t all super tasty, but they have often been used in times of famine or during other need. There are over 450 different varieties of acorn, and they have different flavors, some sweet and some bitter. They grow on every continent except Antarctica.
- The ancient Greeks wrote that they were a staple of the Golden Age.
- Oak trees were sacred to the ancient Celts.
- Many Native American tribes relied on them as their primary source of food.
- During the Civil War they were used as a substitute for coffee.
- In 1945 school children in Japan gathered acorns to replace the rice and wheat shortages. They collected over a million tons!
- Today they are used to fatten up hogs.
- Lots of wild animals rely on them as a food source as well.
When the acorns are ripe, they fall right off the trees on their own. They should have their little caps in tact on them and be free from holes. Holes and missing caps indicate that bugs have found their way inside. The acorns themselves aren’t heavy enough to lose their caps unless there is a worm or other invader inside weighing them down. Traditionally they weren’t eaten plain, but were instead ground into a type of acorn meal, like flour, that could be put into a variety of foods.
Oak trees are beautiful to see in the fall because of their autumn colors and falling leaves. You can collect their leaves and also their acorns. Now it’s time to make our little acorn necklaces.
- a glue gun
- acorns and their ‘hats’
- white out
- fine line sharpie
Start by making the whites of the acorn’s eyes using white out. It will only take a minute or two for the eyes to dry entirely. Once they’re dry, use a fine line sharpie marker to add on the rest of the eye details, the nose, and the little mouth. Cut a piece of yarn to the proper length for your child’s necklace.
Once you’ve finished making your acorn’s face and have the yarn prepared, use the hot glue gun to attach his “hat” while threading the piece of yarn in between the acorn and it’s hat.
Tie off the yarn ends and you’ve got your finished acorn necklace.