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20 Things to do With Conkers - Fun Activities for Kids
What to do With Conkers
Conkers, or Buckeyes for those of you in the US, create such an unusual response in people. What other seed causes children in their droves to run after school to the largest Horse Chestnut Tree in the village and start hurling sticks at it in a desperate hope to win their prize? That perfect conker, that's bigger and shinier than all their friends'. It affects adults too though, causing us to reminisce about our childhood and the autumn days spent running around collecting nature's treasures, playing games, making leaf rubbings and eagerly awaiting the first snow.
What do we do with our Conkers though once the excitement of smashing your friends is over and you still have your collection gathering dust in the Hall? The answer to that of course is so many things! There is more than one game that can be played with Conkers and there are lots of crafting options for them as well as using them around the home.
- Conkers - The Original Game of course deserves a mention for those of you who have managed to avoid it thus far in life. Put a hole in your conker using a skewer, thread some string and tie it in place with a not then take it in turns hitting your friends conker with yours until one of them smashes and falls from the string. Try baking them, soaking them in vinegar and painting with nail polish to see if it really does help make a stronger conker.
- Marbles - Conkers can be used as a slightly misshapen marbles set, you can even paint them if you wish.
- Pretend Play, include them in your child's kitchen as an extra ingredient or make fairy furniture with them using cocktail sticks to display in the garden.
- Plant one out and teach your child about how seeds germinate and grow. Most importantly enjoy getting muddy!
- Counting Games to help your child with their numbers and practice early maths skills.
- Throw them on the fire and see them explode (parental supervision of course)
- Ammunition in a catapult.
- Conker and Spoon Races - Far Less messy than eggs!
- Play Boules. Use paint to mark your own and play on a table rather than in the garden.
What do you do With Conkers?
- Skewer lots of conkers and use them as beads - this helps develop your child's fine motor skills.
- Following on from the above conker necklaces are said to bring luck to the wearer. Don't just leave it at necklaces though, you can make a bracelet and ear-rings too!
- Using pipe cleaners and glue you can make little conker men as demonstrated in the adjacent picture.
- Thread them and decorate them to make Christmas Tree Decorations or thread a large quantity to make a conker garland. They can be painted or covered in glue and rolled in glitter as well.
- Use them to paint with, dip in paint and either block print or roll to create different patterns on the paper.
Around the Home
- Decorating with Conkers can create attractive and seasonal features which work from early Autumn right through Christmas. It can be something as simple as decorating a small basket with ribbon and displaying your conkers in it. Filling vases with conkers either by themselves or mixing a trail of fairy lights through it also looks good especially at Christmas.
- Conkers are good for keeping spiders at bay so throw a few into the corners of your rooms or for a more artistic look use some of your conker men created above to display in room corners and window ledges. Vinegar is also supposed to affect spiders so try soaking your conkers in vinegar as well.
- Conkers are also good for getting rid of clothes moths so put a few in the pockets of clothes or hand them from a clothes hanger either beaded together or in a small cloth bag.
- Traditionally Horse Chestnuts have been used as a treatment for Varicose Veins. See here for details on how to take the gel and remember this is to be applied to the skin only. Horse Chestnuts are not safe to eat.
- Make Soap - Really! Take about two dozen conkers, peel and remove the brown skin. Grate the white innards and place in a piece of cheesecloth in a bowl of water for a few hours. Lift the conker whites out of the water in the cheese cloth and squeeze out excess moisture before placing in a soap mould.
- Washing Clothes - Boil the white chopped up insides of the conkers in a pan of water until the water turns milky and frothy. Strain out the nuts and the remaining water can be used as a detergent.
Photo Source: By Ben Francis
What do you do With Conkers?
Remember, Conkers aren't just for children and if you keep honing your skills you can even take part in the World Conker Championships!!
If there is anything special you use your conkers for then I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.