Chestnut animals – a simple fall craft


When I was a kid we use to make chestnut animals every fall. It was sort of tradition, so when fall came around this year it was a no brainer for me: Eva (who is now a little over 2 years old) and I were going to make chestnut animals. Unfortunally every other parent in Copenhagen had the same idea, so there were no chestnuts left when we finally got around to collecting them. I was actually quite bumped out about it, but then luckily my parents decided to help out by collecting some for us. And I am so happy they did. Eva absolutely loved making the animals. Much more than I had anticipated. It’s been a few days now, but she still plays with them and asks me to make more with her, even though we are out of chestnuts. I think I might need to start making more crafts with her.


To make chestnut animals you use horse chestnuts. These chestnuts are not edible for humans and fortunally very bitter if a child gets the desire to bite into one.

You’ll need:

  • Horse chestnuts (the non edible kind)
  • Matches or toothpicks
  • A tool for making small holes – I used a screwdriver for computers
  • Optional: scissors to cut the head of the matches or the points of the toothpicks


How to:

  1. Decide what animal you want to make. You can google chestnut animals and look at different animals for inspiration or just use your  imaginations to come up with an animal.
  2. Use the screwdriver – or your choice of tool – to make holes in the chestnuts for the matches. I did this part, but as the child gets older, you can let them do it themselves.
  3. Cut the head of the matches and into the desired length. Same goes for toothpicks. It’s for safety reasons, so if you have no concerns with this, just leave them on. The matches can be legs, horns, eyes an so on.
  4. Stick the matches into the holes on the chestnuts. Make sure the holes are big enough for the matches to go in without to much hassle. Especially if you’re doing this with a toddler. Otherwise you risk them not being able to do it themselves and needing your help.

In the photo below you can see some of the animals which Eva and I made. You can easily make much more advanced animals by adding different building materials to the mix fx things from nature like leaves or acorns or fun stuff from the craft drawer like googly eyes, sharpies, yarn or pibe cleaners. We kept it fairly simple since this was Eva’s first time making chestnut animals, but as she gets older I think it will be fun to add more items to the mix.


We made a giraffe, an ant, a spider, a man, a duck and a porcupine


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