Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leaf Projects

We've been busy working on some leaf crafts around here the past few weeks. Just in case you have any leaves left...or any more tolerance for leaves, here are some ideas : )
The first activity was to take a leaf walk. In Snoqualmie we would have walked around the downtown area and local parks to gather leaves. Here we aren't close enough to town to do that without driving. But we do have a brilliant collection of leaves in the yard. So, we took a leaf walk together all around the yard and collected our leaves.

The next day we did a simple sorting activity. All the leaves were dumped into a pile on the table and we talked about different sorting attributes (size, shape, color, etc.). Ezra chose to sort by color first and next by shape. This is the simplest of activities and takes minimal effort.

Next we did some leaf rubbings. Of course, their favorite part of this project was peeling the crayons. They had trouble only using the side of the crayons to rub the paper with--always wanting to use the pointed end of the crayon...someday this will work better.
The ones that turned out would make cute cards...if I can ever get around to it.

Leaf stamping was what we moved onto the following week.

For leaf stamping you need supple leaves--not crisp or crunchy. We had to go gather some new leaves for this project. Often, still green leaves work the best. Turn the leaf over to the venous side and apply a heavy layer of paint in fall colors. I didn't put enough paint on my leaf and so only parts of the leaf showed up. After you've applied all the paint, turn your leaf over carefully and press down on your choice of paper. It worked best to put a paper towel over the top of the leaf and then vigorously rub on the whole leaf.

This is what the back of Ezra's leaf looked like--he was the only one to put on enough paint--it looked like too much, but turned out to be just right.
And this is the finished product. Again, cute for a fall greeting card.

This last project is not one that I've done with the kids in the past. My first year teaching I told my students how I had walked down the aisle on a path of leaves on my wedding day. They gathered me scads of leaves and brought them to class every morning for weeks after that. Hard put for what to do besides leaf stamping, I decided to use the leaves for a bulletin board aid. An incredibly artistic and energetic parent volunteer drew and cut out the most intricate brown butcher paper tree you've ever seen (life size). We stapled it to the wall and glued real live leaves all over it and on the ground around it.
I thought that my own kids and I could do a mini-version of this project together.
You'll need more materials for this project.
Gather up:
a roll of brown craft paper OR packaging paper OR plain brown wrapping paper. I used to buy the "kids craft paper" at Michael's. Last time I was there I realized that the UPS or FED EX packaging paper is the same exact thing, only cheaper.
a pencil
a permanant marker
tempera paints
Elmer's glue
real leaves from the yard OR cut out leaves from construction paper

First, cut out a length of craft paper.
Next, draw a tree with many branches with pencil

Then have the kids paint the tree and any other background you want--sun, clouds, rain, etc.
Let the paint dry for as long as it takes

After the paint has dried, go back with a permanent marker and trace the original pencil lines--it makes the picture "pop".
Next, have the kids use the Elmer's glue to glue the real leaves to the branches on the tree and the ground all around the tree, as if they have fallen there.

And, voila! Beautiful fall art to decorate the house with. These projects are hanging on the bedroom doors for the kids to admire for a good long while. This project does take a little more time because of all the steps. But don't be deterred, overall time and effort really is not that great. And the finished product is so fun!
Happy Crafting...
This is a seriously un-edited and un-thought out post...I apologize!

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