Being outside is one of my favourite things to do with my children, because no matter what the season, there are always opportunities for sensory and creative activities. Fall is no exception. The leaves are changing colour and falling and the air is sweet with the smell of sun dried plants, fungi and earth. It’s hard not to pass a deciduous tree with pretty leaves and bend down to pick up a few. Some will be wet and smooth, others dry and crinkly. All can be saved for leaf art projects.
Over the years as my kids have grown, we have enjoyed making art out of the leaves we’ve collected. When they were toddlers I gave them a large piece of blank newsprint and some glue and let them glue the different leaves to the paper. We also did (and still do), leaf rubbings.
Leaf rubbings are best done when the leaf is dry but in its natural crinkly state. Just put your leaves under a sheet of paper, grab your favourite coloured crayon, and rub it on the leaf until you can see its imprint. This craft is great for toddlers (maybe with help from mom or dad) and pre-schoolers, but older kids will like it too.
Other kinds of leaf art are best done with flat* leaves.
Leaf Window Hanging
A window hanging works best with flattened leaves because the wax paper will stick to itself better. Make sure you use the right kind of wax paper though. When we tried this the first time we couldn’t make the paper stick, no matter how hot the iron was. This craft is suitable for toddlers and older children. Make sure a grown up does the ironing!
What you will need:
- Flattened leaves
- wax paper
- ribbon or tape
Luckily I had the tiniest bit of wax paper from another roll and it worked.
Place the leaves on one piece of wax paper and place another sheet on top. Use your iron on a low-warm setting with a cloth underneath to protect your working surface, and press down until the wax has adhered to itself. Cut out your desired shape and place in a window,.
It’s nice when you can use ribbon to hang them up with but beware that wax paper is very fragile and thread or ribbon will often rip right through it. (That’s why I had to use tape).
This the coolest leaf art project we’ve done so far. Probably best done with kids ages 5 and up.
What you will need:
- Many different shapes and sizes of flattened leaves.
- large paper
Decide on an animal. Then, using your leaves – and your imagination – create the animal with the different leaves. Trim the stems for legs or even the eyes, noses and mouths. Cut parts of your leaves for other features like ears or beaks.
*To flatten a leaf, carefully rub any dirt off and dry it. Then place it between the pages of a large book. A phone book works well. Then, place something heavy on top of the book – I used a cutting board – and leave it there for at least two days.
What other kinds of leaf art or crafts have you done? Please share so we can get some new ideas!
Photo credits: Melodie
Melodie is the mom of two girls (ages 3 and 6) and the author of Breastfeeding Moms Unite! where she talks a lot about breastfeeding a pre-schooler, but also provides tips and education about breastfeeding in general. She is also passionate about mom-to-mom support, natural/attachment parenting, real food, and vegetarianism. Melodie is also home schooling her oldest daughter, and has just returned to her mental health career after 6 years of being a SAHM.