I'm always picking up nature's treasures on my walks with the boys (i.e. hubby and dogs), and right now I've got my eye on chestnuts. They're everywhere!
They remind me of taking walks in the Netherlands with my grandfather, who would encourage us to pick up as many chestnuts (kastanjes) as we could fit in our pockets. When we got back home, he'd bring out a box of matches and we'd spend hours creating little critters and people by pushing the match sticks into the chestnuts and assembling bodies, heads, hands, and feet.
When I asked Todd whether he made chestnut critters, he had no idea what the heck I was talking about. Apparently, this is not an American (or even English?) tradition since I didn't find much when Googling it. Once I put in the Dutch keywords, there were pages upon pages of references and instructions.
Here are some photos I came across that give you the idea:
As you can see, these days matches have been replaced by tooth picks. For the source of the photos above and more like it, click here.
Another favorite was to create a spider web: push long skewers all around the diameter of the chestnut, then use wool to weave around the sticks (alternating going above and below the sticks). Fun projects for the kids!