Fall is such a fun time to get out and explore the changes outside. Fall is full of changing textures, changing colors, and changing temperatures. Children love to see all the changes of the seasons, and this Textured Fall Leaves Craft is a great way for preschoolers to capture and preserve these changes.
There are two parts to this craft from Deborah of Mommy Crusaders and Her Knights and Ladies. The first involves capturing the different textures with clay and shaping the leaves, and the second involves painting the clay. The full project can be done in one day, but she recommends completing the sections on separate days.
Art in Action: Textured Fall Leaves Craft
Objective 1: to capture different textures found outside.
Objective 2: to discuss how textures feel.
Objective 3: to develop fine motor skills.
Materials, part one:
- One batch of baking soda clay (recipe here)
- Wax paper cut in 9 x 9 inch squares, two for each child
- Outside space to go exploring in
- Leaf cookie cutters
Method for fall leaves craft, part one:
First mix the baking soda clay. After cooling, roll the clay out into 1/8” thickness. Each child needs to have a 6 x 6 inch square of clay. After the clay is rolled out, place it between two pieces of wax paper. Baking soda clay starts to dry quickly. Keep it covered until ready to use it.
Next, take the children outside on a nature walk. Explain that they will be hunting for textures as they walk. When they find a texture they really like, they will take an imprint of it with their clay. Talk about the different textures that they can see as the walk continues. Invite them to feel the different textures.
When a child finds a texture that she or he wants to capture, remove the top wax paper, and have the child press the clay against the texture firmly, but not overly hard. Gently lay the top wax paper over the top of the now textured clay. After the clay has been textured, it best for the adult leading the activity to carry the wax – so the texture makes it to the next phase.
After returning from the nature walk, have the children cut fall leaves from the clay using cookie cutters.
Using a toothpick put a small hole in one end of each leaf – for stringing if the children want to string their leaves. Set the leaves on a cookie pan lined with wax paper and leave to dry or bake for about 15 min in an oven heated to 350 degrees and then turned off.
Materials, part two:
- Craft paint
- Butcher paper, newspaper, or other surface protector
Method for fall leaves craft, part two:
Once the leaves are dried, it’s time to paint and decorate them.
Line the area where the children will be painting with the newspaper to keep the paint from getting on the table the children are using.
Give each child a paintbrush, and a small dab of red, yellow, blue, white and black paints.
Now, let the children create. When they’ve finished with a side, help them apply glitter if they want it.
Set the leaves a side to dry. This should only take a few minutes – depending on the thickness of the paint.
Finally, if the children want to, use yarn to string the leaves to a make a necklace, or garland.
This fall leaves craft was a lot of fun to work on with my children. They enjoyed exploring the different textures in the outside world and even wanted to find textures inside as well. The painting was a great way to notice the textures they had found. One of my children imprinted a milkweed leaf on to her clay and was excited that her leaf cutout looked similar to a real leaf with a spine in it.
Get even more Fall Family Fun ideas!
About Deborah: Deborah writes Mommy Crusader and Her Knights and Ladies – a blog that offers preschool activities, parenting advice, STEAM activities for all children, and a few other random bits and topics from her adventures in mommydom. She wants to help parents and children thrive as they journey through their lives.