I have a lot of kids. A lot of kids ranging in ages all over the map. Projects that we can all do together are hard to come by. Art projects, history projects, science–you name it–I struggle to find fun things we can all do. Regardless of my personal struggles, the autumn happening outside my windows has been much too stunning to waste on minor details. I wanted to create some leaf projects with my kids that we could all sit down and do together.
It hit me when I was getting ready for this art day that if I paired up my oldest with my youngest, everyone would be happy. He helps her with the hard stuff–using an iron and rolling out thick clay. And she gets messy and is included and happy as a clam. My toddler will normally lose interest in projects after 15 minutes or so. Then my teenager can finish the project and still get some personal art time in.
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Leaf projects for messy, multi-aged kids
Clay leaf dishes were first on the agenda. I gave each kid a chunk of air dry clay and had them roll it out. They grabbed large leaves that they had gathered outside and rolled them into the clay.
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They each grabbed a sharp knife–and advised me not to take pictures of all of them “playing” with knives–and cut around their leaf very carefully so they kept the leaf’s shape and details.
They peeled away the leaf and let it dry inside a bowl wrapped in plastic wrap for several days.
When the leaves were fully dried, it was time to paint. We grabbed several fall colors and painted the leaves. I encouraged them to dip their paintbrushes in a couple of the colors and paint so it would have a marbled look. Mixing the colors gave most of them panic attacks, so they mostly opted for one at a time–and they look fabulous.
Another super simple project was a leaf garland. My girls had gathered a handful of the same type of red leaf and pressed them between the pages of a large book. While I was making dinner one night, I simply gave them a piece of string and some tape. They taped the backs of the leaves to the string to make a pretty, natural garland. Very easy for little hands to do alone.
The last project we did was melted crayon leaves. Sorry for the lack of photos, but crayons, cheese graters, little hands, hot irons–it was a pretty hands-on project for me. We grabbed our container of crayons. and pulled out a bunch of fall-colors. Over a cutting board, they rubbed the crayons on a cheese grater to get a pile of fall-colored crayon shards.
When they had a big enough pile of shredded crayons, I gave them each two pieces of wax paper. They sprinkled the crayon on one piece and laid the second piece on the top–like a shredded crayon sandwich. Carefully, I ran an iron (let to low) over the wax paper. The crayons melted quickly and the papers stuck together. The mixing of colors was really fun to watch.
After the paper was cooled, they each cut several leaves from their papers. We taped them in our front window to let the sun shine through them.
What have you been making this fall? I always have a list of projects I’d like to do and it’s hard to get to them all. This was a great start! Happy fall!!