Leaf Placemats

Your Child will Learn:
• Colors
• Shapes of leaves
• Fine motor coordination
• About autumn

Mommy's Materials:
• Autumn leaves
• Construction paper
• Photograph of child
• Tape and glue
• Crayons
• Acrylic paint (optional)
• Clear contact paper

Nature provides an abundance of arts and crafts supplies, and leaves are some of the easiest to find. From leaf pressing and collages to colorful leaf rubbings, there are a variety of fall art activities that are not only fun, but also help teach about different kinds of trees. Before you get started on your leaf art, you'll need to collect some leaves. Pick a nice, brisk day and go out in the backyard or off to the park. Show your child all the lovely colors the leaves have turned. Have him point out the wonderful oranges, reds, yellows, browns, and greens. Pick the leaves together and try to gather a collection that varies in size, texture, smell, color, and shape.

1. Press leaves under newspaper and heavy books for several days.
2. When dry, glue to construction paper, leaving a blank border.
3. In the center you can add a photograph of your child jumping in a pile of leaves.
4. Decorate the border with drawings or leaf prints (lightly paint the back of a leaf with acrylic paint, then press onto the paper).
5. When finished, cover with clear contact paper or laminate it at a copy shop.

Leaf Scrapbook: Put fresh leaves on absorbent paper towels and press them in a heavy book, drying them for a day or two. When you take them out, tape them onto blank pages in your own nature scrapbook. Try to identify the different varieties of leaves.

Autumn Window Decoration: Using a low setting, iron a pretty leaf between two pieces of waxed paper (adults only, please). Use a sheet of plain paper or cloth on top. After the leaf is secured between the waxed paper, hang in a sunny window for decoration.

Lovely Leaf Rubbings: Glue various leaves on a piece of drawing paper. Cover the leaves with another piece of thin drawing paper or tissue paper. Be sure to tape the edges so the paper will not move. Choose crayons and chalk and then them gently across the paper until you see the shape of the leaves showing through. The rubbing should reveal the leaf's outlines, stem, and veins.

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