Again I say: Good Morning, Autumn.
Let me just say Fall in Oregon is beautiful. I remember my mom always pointing out the few changing trees in our neighborhood back in Los Angeles. I thought the leaves changing in California were pretty, but to see all the leaves change around you in Oregon, that is something else. Again, Autumn here is beautiful.
Noël and I go on walks almost everyday, so of course we see a ton of fallen autumn leaves on the ground. This toddler art project is simple with (in my opinion) beautiful results.
FIRST STEP - gather leaves!
Go on an exploration walk with your toddler. Pick up any (preferably whole) leaves. Pick leaves with stems, without stems, small, big, red, yellow, green, brown, red and yellow… (you get the picture). The more variety you have the better.
Next, lay your leaves out on a flat surface and place a few books on top to help flatten your leaves. I would wait a few days. We actually waited an entire week before using our leaves.
After you leaves are nicely flatten, set up a simple workspace. I decided to op out of my regular table cloth and use an old cardboard box instead. I figured the table cloth might damage the leaves and cardboard would provide a more sturdy surface to work on.
BEGINNERS PLEASE- Supervise Sharpies
Okay, I am so glad you are trying this out! I know, Sharpies?! Yes, Sharpies. Try it. Have your toddler wear a dark or old shirt if you’re afraid of stains. But as long as your your little one is being supervised, you will live. Give your toddler one color at a time. I even showed my daughter how to hold the leaf with her other hand so that the leaf would stay in place as she decorated. Let your little one use 2-5 colors on each leaf.
PAINTING ADVENTURES- color pop
I decided I wanted to participate in the project as well. I love painting and honestly the color contrast is much more pleasing. If you have let your little one use a brush before, I would really encourage you to have them paint their leaves as well. I would pick 2-3 colors, preferably on the lighter side. I had Noël use off white, gold and light blue acrylic paint. Another alternative to paint and paint brushes for this particular project would be paint pens. You can use them like markers and they might give you more peace as you watch your child get excited over their masterpiece.
CHALLENGE ME- draw a picture, make a face
If you want to do this project with an older child, have them draw a picture or face or make a pattern on their leaf. I painted a few with patterns and made a cat head and little creature on a few of my leaves.
After you finish decorating your leaves (if it is painted let it dry first), glue your leaves to your choice of paper. I also decided to round the edges and cut my paper to frame the size of each leaf better.
Flatten your leaves one last time to ready them for display.
Then enjoy! Tape these masterpieces to your wall, hang them in a frame, add them to the refrigerator, make an autumn flag, turn them into cards.. Just make sure they are being enjoyed by your little one and others!