Simple Fall Leaf Crafts for Kids
I currently have six very energetic and enthusiastic Cub Scouts in my house for a meeting. Their project tonight is to do a fall craft using leaves they found in their own yards. I was a little skeptical about this idea since I assumed that the Cub Scouts idea of a “leaf craft” would just be to pile the leaves up in my living room and jump in them.
That does not seem to be what’s happening. Yet.
The Scout’s project got me thinking about simple craft ideas for kids using leaves, especially those of the autumnal variety, that specifically do not involve jumping. Here’s what I found.
Step one: Collect the leaves. This may be the hardest part because involves getting your kids to put their shoes on and go outside with you. I know it’s a big ask — after all, the television and all the other screens are inside the house and the leaves are outside — but I promise your kids will enjoy themselves. Especially if you tell them that you’re not going back indoors until everyone has collected enough leaves to make something.
Seriously, you will need a lot of leaves. Give kids a bag or box to hold their leaves. Help them to find leaves of varying sizes, shapes and colors. Steer them away from leaves that are dried out or crunchy unless you’re willing to deal with the mess. Spoiler: I am not willing to deal with the mess.
Make it educational, or maybe competitive. While you’re hunting, you can use your smartphone to research what kinds of leaves you are finding. If your kids are more motivated by competition, make a game of it and see who can find the most different types of leaves. The winner gets a special treat at the end of the hunt.
Easy Leaf Crafts for All Ages
Once you’ve got your leaves, it’s time to head back inside and start crafting. Here are four of my favorite kid-friendly leaf crafts.
1. Leaf bowls. I love the idea of making a leaf bowl — it’s a fairly simple project, it burns lots of daylight, and if it works out right, you can wind up with a nice centerpiece for your Thanksgiving dinner table. This leaf bowl project at Made With Happy is super simple— all you need are leaves, a balloon, and some Mod Podge or glue. If you live in an area where leaves are hard to find, Hello! Lucky has directions for making a leaf bowl out of synthetic leaves. This is a good option also if you just can’t stand the idea of actual plant matter on the dining room table. Follow the instructions and your kid will wind up with a one-of-a-kind bowl. Get him to make 30 more and you’ve got another source of income. Except for those pesky child labor laws.
2. Leaf-based artwork. Younger kids can use their leaves to create some neat art pieces. These images from the Kiddly archives remind me of potato print art, and I can see my kids making some really nice artwork from the leaves in our yard. This craft works best for kids who are good at imagining things: an oak leaf cut in half becomes a hedgehog, for example, or a maple leaf upside down becomes a hula skirt for a drawn hula dancer. You can help your kids identify possibilities and fill in the details.
3. Leaf rubbings. Sometimes we forget how easily kids can be entertained by the most simple projects. I just watched as six very loud Cub Scouts worked in silence for fifteen unbelievable minutes making rubbings of leaves. They laid the leaves on my dining room table, covered them with tracing paper, and carefully colored over them with crayons. Such an easy way to buy some peace and quiet!
4. Leaf projects for littles. Speaking of simple options, Parenting Toddlers has a nice list of leaf craft ideas, including leaf prints and foil leaves, that are appropriate for any age and don’t require any fancy supplies. My favorite idea might be the one where you arrange the leaves between two pieces of wax paper and iron them together to seal it all up. If I remember right, this works best with really brightly colored leaves. You can hang the finished product in a window or use it as a little place mat at the table.
Do you have a favorite fall leaf project? Please share your especially easy ones in the comments.
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Photo source: Depositphoto/t.tomsickova