But the most fun for my money is to be had from getting creative with acorns and conkers.
Since they are pretty popular in Germany, it surprised me to find the concept of crafting "little conker men", as we loosely call them, unknown amongst those I've met in Britain. I've lost count of the times other children, mums, even teachers reacted rapturously on seeing them, usually asking to join in. I've held special "workshops" at my children's school and even used it as the main "event" at a birthday party where it also met with an enthusiastic response. Maybe I should start doing it professionally...
Of course, it's not just conkers and acorns you should consider. Anything you've gathered and like can be used. Cones are brilliant, as are beechnuts and their shells. Sycamore seeds or maple keys make lovely wings, for instance. The seeds of lime trees (without the "wing") can become bulging eyes, or antennae, or a tail. I once turned the stalk of a pumpkin into an elephant's trunk. The only limit is your imagination. And while personally I'm a "purist" who doesn't like using any "artificial" materials, many children enjoy adding bobbles or pompoms or those wibbly-wobbly google eyes you can buy in craft shops. If you intend to keep your creations on the windowsill, shelf or mantelpiece for a little longer however, don't use things that rot or go mouldy quickly.
What else do you need? Little. If you have a glue gun, that's great. I only have glue in tubes, such as UHU. For unadulterated fun I'd recommend something like a wax cloth to protect your table or other work surface. Then the sticks: matchsticks, wooden skewers or tooth picks tend to be stronger and easier to use as joints than twigs. Use pruners to pinch off the match heads or to shorten your sticks to size. To drill the holes into conkers and acorns etc., we use a small hand driller, a bit like a screwdriver. Obviously you should be careful when using it and small children should leave it to adults to drill holes for them. Anything else? No - just bring a bit of time and your imagination and you're ready to go. Have fun!