Tips and Solutions Detail
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Take advantage of nature’s free craft supply and spark your child’s creativity with some simple leafy projects!
Fall is here and colorful autumn leaves are abundant. But falling leaves create more than just a chore, take advantage of nature’s free craft supply and spark your child’s creativity with some simple leafy projects! After you’ve finished raking the leaves in your yard, give your child a bucket or box to collect moist leaves of different shapes, colors, and sizes. If you don’t have many trees in your own backyard, take a stroll through the neighborhood or your local park.
While enjoying quality time with your child outdoors, take the opportunity to make your walk educational. Collecting fall leaves with younger children is a wonderful occasion to teach colors and counting. With older children, try teaching the proper tree names (use our list of useful links below).
- Lifetime 4-foot adjustable folding table OR Lifetime card table
- Lifetime folding chairs
- Leaf Painting: Moist leaves (not dry crunchy leaves), cardboard or cardstock, glue, tempera paints in yellow, red, orange, and brown, paper plate, small paint roller or paint brush, and construction paper.
- Leaf Placemat or Bookmark: Moist leaves, white poster board, glue, Markers, clear contact paper, and scissors (plain, pinking shears or fancy-edged)
- Leaf Rubbings: Moist leaves, 2 pieces of white paper, and Crayons.
- Leaf Wreaths: Moist leaves, pinecones, cardboard or paper plate, glue, and some string or yarn.
- Leaf Trees: Moist leaves (not dry crunchy leaves), large piece of paper, pencil, crayons, and glue.
- Once you’ve collected the leaves, it’s time to let your child branch out and explore their creativity. Before you begin, make sure your child has a comfortable working place where you won’t mind if things get a little messy! Setting up a separate craft table for your child also will allow your child to complete the project at her own pace without having to clean up supplies for mealtime etc.
- Now that the workspace is set, pick a craft below, grab some supplies, and let the fun begin…you won’t “be-leave” what your kids can make!
- Leaf Painting Glue moist leaves in different shapes and varieties onto a sheet of cardboard or heavy cardstock paper. Let dry completely. Pour a small amount of paint onto a paper plate. Dip a small paint roller into the paint and then roll it over the leaves or use a paintbrush and paint the leaves different colors. Once the leaves are painted and while the paint is still wet, lay a piece of construction paper over the painted leaves and rub it to get a good print. Lift the paper to see the print and let your masterpiece dry.
- Leaf Placemat or Bookmark Cut a piece of poster board the size you want to make either your placemat or bookmark. Glue your leaves onto the poster board. Use markers to add extra decorations such as borders or personalize it with your name. Cut two pieces of Con-Tact paper twice the size of your placemat or bookmark. Peel off the back of one piece of contact paper and place your poster board in the middle of it. Peel off the back of the second piece of Con-Tact and carefully place it on top of your poster board trying not to leave any bubbles. Use scissors to trim away excess Con-Tact, leaving a slight Con-Tact border all the way around (pinking shears or fancy-edged scissors make fun shapes for your border).This is a great gift for kids to make for friends and relatives!
- Leaf Rubbings Place leaves (vein side up) on a piece of paper. Place another piece of white paper on top of the leaves. Peel the paper wrapper off of your crayon, and using the long side, gently rub the crayon over the leaves and watch the shapes magically appear!
- Leaf Wreaths Cut a piece of cardboard into a circle and then cut the middle out to make a wreath shape. Or, use a paper plate and cut a circle out of the middle. Glue leaves and pinecones all over the cardboard or paper plate so it is completely covered. Tie a piece of yarn around the wreath to hang it from your door!
- Leaf Trees Place your child’s hand and forearm on the piece of paper and trace it all the way to the elbow (the arm will be a tree trunk and the fingers will be tree branches). Color the tree trunk and branches. Glue leaves onto the “branches” and don’t forget to add some falling to the ground!
- Tree identification links: Curious to know what type of leaf you found? Check out some of these handy guides and interactive sites to help you easily identify your leaf! www.arborday.org, www.uwsp.edu, www.mastgeneralstore.com, www.msu.edu.
- If only one child is making the craft, a Lifetime 4-Foot Adjustable Height Table is the perfect-sized craft table to hold all of the supplies and still have room to work. You can raise and lower the table to best fit your child’s level so she can sit comfortably, and the stain-resistant plastic top makes it easy for you to wash off any paint, markers, or glue that may miss the paper!
- If more than one child will be working on the craft, set up a card table and place all of the supplies in the middle of the table so the children can easily share supplies while still having plenty of space to create their own masterpiece!
- For crafts that involve painting, you might want to place some newspaper on the floor under the table and chairs to protect your floors from accidental splatters.