Finding inspiration for simple leaf art with kids

Are your old phone books stuffed with leaves just waiting to be loved?  Seems when we’re out crunching through the autumn streets we can’t help but come home carrying leaves destined for some unplanned leaf art project

More often than not, those lovely leaves just sit on our front hall table until brittle and forgotten about.

Look what I did with a leaf and a preschooler doing some leaf art crafting

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But this year, we came across this book:  Look what I did with a leaf!

And, bam!  We were all feeling inspired!

It was time to pull out those beautiful dried leaves, grab some paper and glue and have some fun making leaf art with the kids.

Do you need this book to create art with leaves?

Of course not!  While Look What I Did With a Leaf did help get the creative juices flowing for my preschooler and younger child, there are other ways to find leaf art inspiration.  Just a quick google search for ‘leaf art for kids’   should bring up lots of designs.

In fact, I quickly found this article with some very beautiful art ideas.  Sure, these are outdoor leaf art pieces, but they definitely got our creative juices flowing!

And usually, if you just give kids some freedom to explore with shapes and colors, they’ll come up with interesting designs all on their own.

a preschooler's hands holding up her leaf art scene

How to use Look what I did with a leaf in a leaf unit

1. First you’ll need to get your hands on the book.  We found our copy at the local library.  Click here to go directly to the book on Amazon.

2. Read the book with your preschooler or young kids. 

3. Head outside to find your art materials. Look for leaves with a variety of shapes, textures, and colors. It is okay if they aren’t complete leaves, different shapes and partial leaves can also add variety to their creations.

4. Dry your leaves: After bringing all the leaves home you could rinse and pat the leaves dry.  Or, just press them as is.  We find newspaper or an old phone book work best for the drying and pressing of leaves.

Your leaves will need a few days to fully dry, perhaps more if they were particularly thick or waxy leaves. We tend to give our leaves a good week to dry and press fully.

5. Once the leaves are ready, enjoy some minutes to flip through the Look What I Did With a Leaf book again.

6. Pull out the leaves, gather your supplies, and get crafting!

A preschooler designing a picture with leaves

The basics to simple leaf art for kids

For a simple leaf project, very much in style with the Look what I did with a leaf book, we used sturdy white card stock and tacky glue (this is our absolute favorite craft glue!).

The kids took their time moving the leaves around and experimenting with various shapes and colors.  Quite a few leaves were broken in this process.  Because of this I recommend collecting more leaves than you think will be required;)

Once the kids were happy with their designs, they used paint brushes to apply glue on the backs of the leaves before pressing them into place.

My preschooler was very excited when I pulled out the ‘art basket’ and she found some sequins and googly eyes in there to add to her creations!

Other fun additions to your kid’s leaf art projects could be:

  • pompoms or buttons
  • string
  • stickers
  • glitter (if you’re brave) or glitter glue
  • markers and paint
A kid's leaf art project. It's an owl sitting on a tree with the moon overhead
“An owl sitting on a party tree in the forest with the moon” – my 3 year old’s leaf art

More about Look what I did with a Leaf, by Morteza E. Sohi 

The book is full of animals created only from leaves.  Many of the projects in the book are suited to older crafters than my children.  Some of the designs are intricate enough for adults to enjoy creating.

Throughout Look what I did with a leaf! there are tips on the leaf art process.  You’ll find a section on how to choose your leaves and tips on art theory.  The end of the book has leaf science information leaf identification.

This book would make a lovely addition to a leaf study unit for the classroom or homeschool.

I do hope that after seeing this you and your kids will be inspired to collect up some leaves and play around with them… seeing what sort of leaf art your kids and you can come up with!

Some other posts to check out for leaf crafting inspiration and fall activity ideas:

What should you do now?

a preschooler sitting at a table designing a scene with dried leaves

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