Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nature Play: 11 Ways to Play with Leaves!

The leaves are looking gorgeous at our house right now, with the Virginia Creeper's bright red, the Sassafras yellow, the Maple's yellow, orange, and red, and even the Poison Ivy's orange. Yes, I stay away from the latter!

There are many fun ways to connect with the beautiful fall leaves--just stay away from the poison ivy! :-) Here are 11 ways that we have tried. Be sure to click on the links to see our experiences with these options.

Leaf Threading--Skewer brightly colored leaves on a stick or string. These can be used a necklace or garland. We've even done this on sticks during soccer practice while the rest of us sit on the sidelines. This is great fine motor skill practice for little ones!

Leaf Rubbings--There are many options with these, using crayons to go make a "print" of the raised surfaces of the leaves. We explored watercolors with this as an added dimension. It would be great to do a booklet of the common leaves in your area as part of a nature study!

Leaf Prints--I loved the painted leaves as well! Try taking some paint to the leaves!

Leaf Pile Art--It really is fun to make gigantic pile of leaves! Even if my kids protest, they are having fun and jumping in the piles within no time. Why not make some art with it?

Bracelet Walk--Collect your treasures on sticky tape as you take your nature walk. You can have a stylish fashion accessory in all the fall colors!

Color Exploration with Paint Swatches--I love hearing my children yell out, "I found autumn spice!" This is a fun way to explore the colors. I do it with every season.

Nature Faces--These are such a great open-ended art project that naturally recycles. No need find a place to hang it up inside! With the fall colors, these should pop if using leaves!
Leaf Art--Use free form options to create butterflies, bees, and anything else your imagination can muster!
Nature Crowns--It's fun to make a beautiful crown of leaves!


Nature Bouquets--Arrange leaves to make a brilliant nature bouquet!

Natural Weaving--Use leaves as part of natural weaving. We just did this as we talked about spiders. The fall colors really make an impression!

I also recently wrote this article for InMiddlebury magazine which may be of interest for exploring nature through leaf art!

This was also shared with Nature Play Party!

Here are a few other posts that may be of interest:
Natural Treasures--Information on loose parts.
Nature Study, Soccer Mom Style--Following a child's lead in nature exploration.
Trees!--Our nature preschool tree exploration. 
Exploring Trees--Our nature preschool tree exploration take 2! 
Fall at Lieber Nature Preserve--A fall walk with the family. 


  1. These are such great ideas & so simple to implement too! Thank so much for putting it all together! My son is obsessed with leaves right now (of course with fall and all...:-)), so I really need to capitalize on this interest and do some fun projects with him!

  2. We have a beautiful Virginia Creeper in our front yard...what a spectacular array of red we had this year. Love all those leaf activities.

  3. Love all these great ideas & your leaves are such beautiful colours, thanks for supporting the Outdoor Play Party.

  4. Such beautiful colours...absolutely love Autumn. Thank you for linking up to #OutdoorPlayParty