Before I actually had kids, I just knew that I would be an awesome, fun, super-crafty mom. And then my kids were born, and I found out that craftiness doesn’t come along as some sort of post-partum bonus.
After years of trial and error, I think I am finally getting some creative juices flowing. I was determined to find some fun and easy (and cheap) ways to help my kids enjoy the fall. So, armed with Pinterest, the kids’ craft supplies, and nature, I went to work. The results were pleasantly surprising.
A little analysis of the favorite craft ideas showed a theme: leaves. I gave each of the big kids a plastic grocery bag and sent them into the great outdoors, on a hunt for leaves of a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Once they were satisfied with their treasures, they came in to see what I had in store.
(Pssst… To throw in a little education for the preschool crowd, you could begin by sorting the leaves by color, size, etc, or talk to the kids about the different types of trees that produce the leaves.)
Project 1: Leaf Rubbings. We took the paper off of some crayons, laid the leaves out flat, covered them with white construction paper, and rubbed the crayons across them.
To add a little extra touch of “specialness,” I took their finished pictures and threaded them with twine to make a fun fall banner. (It’s possible that I dictated the colors for their rubbings with the intention of making a fall banner.)
We started with the rubbings because the next two projects were definitely “final destination” roles for the leaves involved.
Project 2: Leaves in Disguise. I asked my kids, what else can a leaf be? I encouraged my kids to glue some leaves down and then incorporate them into a drawing of something else—something other than a tree.
Yes, they both went right to feathers. It wasn’t quite as far out of the box as I had hoped… but to be honest, they were every bit as creative as I could have been. So I was proud.
We weren’t done yet! Next up: Can we use the leaves as part of the process instead of the finished product?
Project 3: Leaf Stamping I gave them each a paper plate with a mixture of colors that they selected, then let them make leaf prints by dipping the leaves in and “stamping” them on the paper.
The end result was a big gloppy mess, BUT the kids had so much fun experimenting with the leaves and the patterns and mixing colors and dragging the leaves around, I’d still call this a success.
Project 4: Impromptu Finger Painting Session
And once we had the paint out, we decided to put the actual leaves aside and make just one more project about leaves. I painted each child’s hand and forearm brown, then pressed carefully onto white paper to make a tree. Then they dipped their fingers into fall-ish paint colors and used their fingerprints to make leaves.
The older, craftier kiddos (like Lamb) can really go to town on making this their own…