This week we discovered a sweet and easy way to turn acorn caps into delicate, glittering jewels.
It all started when we set off on an adventure hunting for mighty oak trees. The Little Explorers used a picture of an oak leaf to identify which tree would have produced acorns. It was fascinating to see how their curious minds processed the fact that all the leaves were shaped differently. It’s always magical to be present when a child realises something fundamental for the very first time.
At the base of this mighty tree, our Little Explorers were excited to discover piles of acorns and their caps. It was fun to think of the squirrels and mice that had nibbled on the acorns or dragged them away to their nests to keep them going over the winter.
We gathered a few handfuls of the caps, careful to leave the acorns behind for hungry badgers and deer, or even to germinate into a mighty oak one day!
At home, we ‘planted’ them in playdough to keep them upright. Our Little Explorers chose felt tip pen colours they thought would be the most effective, then thoroughly saturated the inside of the caps in a rainbow of hues. This was great fine motor skill practice! They then blobbed white PVA glue up to the rim of each cap. The ink began to bleed into the glue instantly.
Patience played its part next as we waited a full 48 hours for the magic to unfold. It was hard to imagine that the glue would sink away, but after two days (and much checking in the interim) we were left with a haul of beautifully ‘glazed’ natural treasures.
We experimented and found that using a permanent marker pen results in a much richer, deeper colour than paint or washable pens. The trick is to layer up lots of ink on the inside of the cap.
We’re using our acorn jewels to practice counting, as fairy money and as Peter Rabbit’s treasure. They’ve been doled out as gifts to enchanted grannies and used for a reward chart. Send us pictures of your acorn jewels – don’t forget to tell us what you’re using them for and where you are!
Expert Explorers: Did you know that oak trees have to be at least 40 years old before they produce acorns? These magnificent trees have been known to grow for hundreds of years. The oldest one in the UK is thought to be the Bowthorpe Oak in Bourne, Lincolnshire. It is more than 1,000 years old! There’s room in its hollow oak for 13 people to sit down for tea, or for 39 people to stand!