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Family fun

16th Sep 2021

10 fun (and creative) things to do with all the conkers your kids have picked

Trine Jensen-Burke

things to with with the conkers your kids have picked

It’s one of those things that just scream autumn to me.

We are lucky enough to live right beside the beautiful Marlay Park in Dublin, and every autumn, my children and I – and often a whole collection of their little friends too – will spend hours upon hours collecting conker on our many, many trips to the park every week.

And so for weeks every autumn, the boot of my car is filled with bags of conkers. Every jacket I own has at least one conker in its pocket, and I randomly find conkers in school bags, drawers and on surfaces in our home. And yet somehow, to my kids anyway, it’s the picking of them that is the most fun. They love the collecting part, and then once we have all the conkers, we don’t quite know what to be doing with them – and so they just sit there.

Last year, after weeks of conker picking and scouting everywhere we went, we ended up just taking all our bags of conkers and bringing them back to the park, ‘to return them to the squirrels’ as my little boy said. I mean – it only seemed fair, sure we weren’t using the conkers for anything in particular anyway.

But this year, I am determined to actually put all our conkers to good use with some arts and crafts.

And after a quick Google search, here are 10 things to actually do with all those conkers you have collected this autumn:

1. Turn them into Christmas tree ornaments

Did you know you can actually use conkers as beautiful Christmas tree ornaments?

Paint them, draw on them, sprinkle them with glitter… maybe even add some sequins! All you need to do then is make a little hole, add some string and voila! The most stunning and unique Christmas tree ornaments.

2. Keep spiders away

Conkers release a handy chemical that spiders seem to hate. A few strategically placed bowls should do the trick now that they’re attempting to make their way in for the winter. They’ll just have to try next door!

3. Use them for an autumnal science experiment

If you throw conkers into a bonfire, they’ll explode. This is due to a build-up of steam. If you pierce them, the steam is released more easily.

4. Use them to practise counting

Can you count in 2, 5, 10’s, etc? For little ones, which are the biggest, smallest, shiniest? You could also make patterns, shapes, pictures from them.

5. Play fetch with them

If you are outside, play catch with them. They are good for those catching skills! Maybe a little tricky for very little kids.

6. Make them part of the decor

Fill a vase or glass bowl with them and leave them on a mantelpiece or dinner table for an instant autumn feel.

7. Play boules with them

Mark your boules with acrylic paint, go outside and set up some boundary lines and get bowling. They don’t roll straight, which adds to the fun!

8. DIY a good-luck charm

Wearing a conker on a necklace is said to bring good luck to the wearer. Tip: This is a great idea for some homemade Christmas presents for granny from the kids!

9. Have a conker and spoon race

It could be a simple race, or for older kids, make an obstacle course that they have to tackle as well.

10. Use them to paint with

More arts and crafts! Place a piece of paper inside a tray, dip the conker in paint and roll it around the tray for an interesting paint effect.

Tell us – what do YOU do with all the conkers this time a year?