This time of the year my garden is covered in a blanket of leaves. The girls enjoy helping to rake them up but it is a never-ending task. When leaves are plentiful there are many activities that you could take advantage of. Here are a few of our favourites.
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is illustrated with photocopies of leaves that have been arranged to make pictures. We studied the way Ehlert uses coloured paper to create a layered background and leaves and natural materials for the main body of the picture.
We created our own pictures, starting with the background and adding leaves. The leaves work better if they are pressed beforehand using a flower press or a heavy book. Preserve them by laminating before the leaves dry out.
Young children enjoy printing with leaves or painting on larger leaves. You could also try painting with different types of leaves or dipping the stalks into paint to make marks. Dried leaves crumbled into paint could also make an interesting texture.
Leaves are perfect for investigating colour mixing. Give each child a leaf and ask them to try to mix the matching colour. Younger children could paint the colour onto their leaf, print it on paper or paint around the outline, older children may like to try an observational painting of their leaf. Small square canvases or watercolour paper would make them extra special.
Sometimes young children find this difficult so experiment with different colours and materials, like crayon, pencil, chalk, pastels or charcoal to decide which makes the most effective rubbing.
Leaf Mosaics, Patterns and Sculptures
Use leaves to create mosaic patterns and pictures. These could be individual or large group projects.
The girls collected leaves on a camping trip and used them to thread onto sticks to create clothes for their stick people.
Leaves make interesting imprints in clay or they can be used as a template to cut around. Clay leaves make great bowls, tiles or mobiles.
Sensory Play and Loose Parts
Collect leaves and put them in a sensory bin – investigate what happens to them over time. Add interesting objects hidden amongst the leaves or toy woodland animals and bugs for small world play.
If you have leaves outside how do the children use them as loose parts?
My children built a bonfire……
and added them to a potion.
Use them as a Filler
Last Halloween we made spiders to hang on the bushes outside. The bodies were made from black bags stuffed full with leaves. You could also use leaves to stuff scarecrows or guys for bonfire night.
Over a period of time we collected interesting leaves and laminated them. They looked great on the window and I challenged the girls to find out which trees they belonged to. I think they would also make an eye-catching mobile. This year we are using the laminated leaves to see if they can find matching leaves in the neighbourhood. Laminated leaves could be used for all kind of things. We have used them as gift tags, to play matching pairs and they look great on the light table.
If you collect leaves gradually from the same tree or bush as they change colour you can make a leaf rainbow.
Before you decide to rake all the leaves away, take a look at this face, I think it says it all.
11 thoughts on “What Can We Do with All These Leaves? Leaf and play activities for kids.”
what great ideas, will need to try some of these. I adore that ;ast picture, she looks very happy
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We had loads of trees overhanging the garden at our old house and I was constantly taking them up during the autumn. I love these craft ideas and will definitely be giving the leaf painting a go with my eldest #countrykids
It looks liek loads of fun was had. I’ve never laminated leaves before, that is a fab idea. I’ll show my daughters. Mich x
So many lovely ideas – I need to try some of these with my daughter. #countrykids
What a great selection of activities – we use laminated leaves on the light table once they have been pressed 🙂 never thought of using Autumnal ones though. Thanks for sharing #countrykids
There’s some great activities for how to have fun with leaves and make use of them rather than scraping them away. The kids on the farm love it as autumn comes in and we make piles of leaves nothing’s more inviting for a play in than that. Leaf activities are fab for both educational purposes and as a way to get kids interested in nature and recycling. Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids
Lots of lovely, leafy ideas! I think my son’s favourite is to grab a handful and throw them up into the air! Love the leaf rainbow. #CountryKids
Thanks so much for sharing.