Autumn is a great season for crafts! Treasures found outside in Autumn, such as leaves, pincecones, and twigs, can easily be used for a wide variety of crafts. I love exploring outdoors with children and watching them discover the wonders of nature.
This Leaf Art activity is an annual favourite of both teachers and children and can be done with a wide variety of ages.
This activity is a great conclusion to a science study on Leaves and seasonal changes. There is a plethora of amazing books about Autumn, but for this activity, I usually start by reading the books, Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert and Look What I Did with a Leaf!, by Mortiza E. Sohi. Both books are packed full with ideas of animals and scenes to make with leaves. The pictures provide great inspiration for the children to create their own Leaf Art pictures.
Left: Fox — Right: Scorpion
This activity is best done in early Autumn, when the leaves are still freshly fallen. Leaves need to be fresh and pliable, with bright colours, not dried or brittle at all. Collecting in different areas, and from different trees, bushes and plants will ensure a wide variety of different sizes, colours, and shapes of leaves. We collected leaves over a week or two, so I had time to place them in newspaper in small bunches and leave under a pile of books to flatten slightly. I didn’t need them fully pressed and preserved, just flat, so a night or two under books was enough to be sufficient.
If older, drier leaves are used, it still makes for a great fun craft activity — but it won’t last as long as if it had been done with fresh, flat leaves. My son made this Leaf Man in his Kindergarten class. He had fun, and was pleased with it, but unfortunately the leaves continued to break and it was not something that we could keep in his school memory files.
Children arrange their selection of leaves on a piece of construction paper and use white glue to secure. They can overlap, layer, and cut the leaves if needed. Extra details can be added to the paper with crayons or markers if desired. If possible, these pictures are best preserved by laminating.
Left: Butterfly — Right: Turtle
Left: Mouse — Right: Cat
Spider and Web
Parrot in Tree