Fall Fun with Leaves

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By Jennifer Halter

October is here, and that means cooler temperatures and opportunities to enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of the season. Now  is the perfect time to explore the outdoors as much as possible before the cold winter days have us wanting to hibernate. While you’re out on walks at the park or around the neighborhood, collect leaves of various shapes, sizes and colors, and use them for a variety of fun and educational activities. Here are a few you can try.

Leaf Rubbings

Place the leaf on a hard surface with the vein side up and cover with a sheet of paper. Use copy paper or
tracing paper for this activity. Anything thicker will make it more difficult for your rubbings to appear. Grab some crayons (old, broken ones will work great for this!) and remove the wrapper. Lay the crayon flat on its side and rub gently over the paper with the leaf underneath. The leaf shape will appear as you work the crayon around on the paper.

Leaf Journaling

While on your leaf hunt, have children create a journal where they can write or draw about leaves they find.
They can share where and how they found each leaf, what the weather was like the day it was found, and
the texture and color of the leaf. Then have them tape or glue the leaf into their notebook or sketchpad as a
keepsake of the season.

Leaf Pressing

This is an easy way kids can create decorations for your home. Collect a variety of colorful leaves for this project. You will also need waxed paper, an iron, a towel, scissors, and tape or string (optional).

Place your leaves between two pieces of waxed paper and put on an ironing board with a towel on top
(parental supervision is strongly recommended for this project). Use an iron on a medium heat setting to
press over your leaves to seal the waxed paper. This should only take about 4 to 5 seconds, but check your
leaves before you finish ironing to ensure the wax sealed properly. Repeat ironing if necessary. Allow the
leaves to cool completely before handling them. Using scissors, cut around the edge of each leaf, making sure you leave a bit of an edge around the leaf to keep it sealed in the waxed paper. Leaves can be used for
anything from window decorations to a fun mobile created with string.

Leaf Painting

little girl with autumn leaf

This is a great two-for-one craft that children will surely enjoy. Grab some dry leaves of various colors and sizes. You will need paintbrushes, washable paints and paper (construction paper will work best). Kids can paint the leaves, completely covering the surface, and before the leaf dries, have them press it with the paint side down to make colorful prints. Once dried, they can reuse their painted leaves to make a new masterpiece by adding designs or even faces using more paint.

Tree Color Progression

Do you have a favorite tree in your yard or nearby? Take a photo of your tree each day this month or for the rest of the autumn season and observe how the colors of the leaves change. Save all of the photos in a file and create a slideshow to watch the progression of the leaves changing color and eventually falling to the ground. Tip: Be sure to take your photos in the same spot each day and at a similar time if possible.

Enjoy the outdoors and the beautiful sights and sounds this month brings!

Jennifer Halter is the Publisher of Macaroni Kid Woodbridge and Macaroni Kid Gainesville/Manassas,
free online calendars and resources to help you find your family fun all year round.

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