I love these placemats and how into the activity my kids were. It’s a simple craft and very kid directed. Give them the materials and see what happens. My daughter wanted glitter so we found a way to do it without having to wait for the final product or make a huge mess. Notice I didn’t say no mess. I can’t decide if my favorite thing about these fall placemats is that they make setting the table ( a kid chore at our house ) even more fun or that they get the kids outside exploring the changing seasons hands on.
- Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, crayons, leaves, and contact paper. If you want to get fancy and add glitter to the leaves like my daughter did you will also need some glitter, double stick tape and Ziploc bags.
- Start by having your child gather the leaves they want to use for the placemat. If they are wet you will want to let them dry before creating.
- Next choose a color of construction paper and start drawing. My son was into this step. My daughter did it as fast as she could to get to the good stuff also known as glitter.
- If you are glittering the leaves start by adding double stick tape to the leaves. I can’t stress enough how they must be dry. Next pop some glitter in a bag and add the leaf. Shake! This extra step for her made it so she and her brother were done at the same time since he took so much time and care with his design.
- Tape the leaves down onto the construction paper. My son added more designs after.
- Sandwich the paper with leaves between two sheets of contact paper. I find it easier to lay the contact paper sticky side up and flip the placemats face down to avoid bubbles. I also suggest not having a 3 year old try to help you with this step unless you want a lot of wasted contact paper covered in grass. Trust me on that one.
Books About Leaves
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert was the inspiration for this craft and will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All the illustrations are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.
Lucky Leaf by Kevin O’Malley is a funny book about a boy kicked outside and off his video game by a parent and his quest for a lucky leaf. He waits and waits for the last leaf from a tree to fall, even after his friends give up and go home. The story is cute and my son thought it was funny. I liked the comic book format of the illustrations and the little boy’s dog has some pretty funny facial expressions throughout.
Leaves by David Ezra Stein is such a sweet book about a young bear who doesn’t understand what is happening when he sees leaves falling from the trees. He even tries to put them back on but it doesn’t work. Eventually he lays down for a nap and hibernates until Spring when he happily notices that there are new tiny leaves budding on the trees. Both my kids loved this book. I got it out of the library for my toddler who loved it and while reading it to her I had to start over so her almost 6 year old brother could listen from the start. We each took our own things from it, my daughter has been noticing the changes of Fall for the first time just like the bear in the story. My son took the chance to tell me all about hibernation and everything he knows about it . I thought it was bittersweet, and related to how quickly the years seem to pass and how quickly my little bears are changing too. A really lovely book!This post contains affiliate links.
I get a lot of questions about what I do with my children’s art work and my answer is usually that I take photos and recycle much of it. When I say I recycle art work I normally mean it gets popped into the recycling bin never to be seen again. This recycled art project for kids uses the art work and turns a finished piece into material for another art project. These fall trees are cute and simple enough for kids of various abilities to participate.
- Gather your materials. You will need some brown and white construction paper, glue stick, scissors, and finished artwork.
- Cut out a tree outline – I free handed this ( I can cut much better than I can draw) but you could draw it out first too.
- Glue the tree down on the white construction paper and if you have kids still learning to cut like mine cutting them into smaller pieces will help.
- Go for it. This is a simple project and there is no wrong way to do it. My son was specific about which colors he wanted where and took time to cut leaf like shapes. My daughter refused any and all offers of help and did this completely independently.
Our first Read & Make post was so crazy popular that I knew I needed to keep this theme going. I see all of you pinning fall ideas on Pinterest and searching for them here on the blog. I thought I would help you out by sharing this easy cheat sheet of 23 fall books with crafts to match.For the full craft tutorials click the craft title under each pair. The book title is an affiliate link and will take you to Amazon.com
- Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka and Shape Scarecrow Craft .
- A Friend for All Seasons by Julia Hubery and Falling Leaves Craft.
- Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington and Lacing Apple.
- Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara and Puffy Paint Ghost.
- A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Handprint Turkey Craft
- School Bus by Donald Crews and Cut & Paste School Bus Craft.
- Leaves by David Ezra Stein and Uppercase Lowercase Letter Sorting Tree.
- Dot & Jabber and the Great Acorn Mystery by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Torn Paper Acorn.
- When Autumn Falls by Kelli Nidey and Tape Resist Fall Tree.
- The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn and Kissing Hand Necklaces.
- Inside a House That Is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Haunted House Math Activity.
- Patty’s Pumpkin Patch by Teri Sloat and Pumpkin Printing.
- Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming and Dry Erase Jack-O-Lantern.
- Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert and Leaf Butterfly Craft.
- I Know It’s Autumn by Eileen Spinelli and Simple Autumn Sensory Tub.
- Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and Pin and Pound Pumpkins.
- Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson and Peel and Pick Apple Tree.
- Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Letter O Owl Craft.
- This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed and Candy Corn Math.
- T is for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet by Brad Herzog and Simple Football Craft.
- Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown and Paper Plate Scarecrow.
- Dem Bones by Bob Barner and X-ray X letter Craft.
- Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber and Tape Resist Leaves.
Want more Read & Make ? Check out the first post in this series with 25 popular children’s books and matching crafts. Click the image to jump to that post.As stated above this post contains affiliate links.
My daughter loves to paint and this fun easy fall leaf craft gave her ample time to explore and glop on as much paint as she wanted and use both her brushes and fingers to create. The painter’s tape relief effect is really optional but the effect is so cool and my daughter who is two was amazed by it while I peeled it off. Even though she couldn’t do it herself it was still a fun step for her. Do not miss the paper towel step though, it adds texture and cuts drying time in half which for a 2 year old makes a world of difference.
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper( my favorite!), pencil, paint in your choice of colors, some gold glitter glue, brushes, painter’s tape, paper towel and scissors.
- Start by drawing the outline of some leaves on the paper.
- Next using painter’s tape add veins to the leaves.
- Paint. She started with the brushes but quickly moved to her hands. She didn’t even use a brush with the 2nd one.
- Wash hands. We use the “Hands up!” and freeze with her when her hands are covered. Then I whisked her to the sink to wash up.
- Next grab some paper towel and blot. See the texture?
- Let dry to the touch and peel the tape off.
- Cut and Display- kids love seeing their art all over the house. I added hers to our fall mantle.
Fall Board Book
Leaves by David Ezra Stein is such a sweet book about a young bear who doesn’t understand what is happening when he sees leaves falling from the trees. He even tries to put them back on but it doesn’t work. Eventually he lays down for a nap and hibernates until Spring when he happily notices that there are new tiny leaves budding on the trees. Both my kids loved this book. I got it out of the library for my toddler who loved it and while reading it to her I had to start over so her almost 6 year old brother could listen from the start. We each took our own things from it, my daughter has been noticing the changes of Fall for the first time just like the bear in the story. My son took the chance to tell me all about hibernation and everything he knows about it . I thought it was bittersweet, and related to how quickly the years seem to pass and how quickly my little bears are changing too. A really lovely book!This post contains an affiliate link
Toddlers are exploring their world with all their senses and doing activities that incorporate different textures is a great way to explore while creating. When I asked my daughter what she wanted to make she very confidently said a scarecrow. We’ve been zooming past them at the store and I told her we’d make one , obviously she remembered. I didn’t just want to make a cut and paste scarecrow so I gathered materials with various textures and a plain old paper plate and this is what we made.
- Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, crayons, glue, scissors, yarn, buttons, some textured paper , felt and yellow construction paper. I had popsicle sticks for hair but as you will see they didn’t work out.
- Let your child explore all the materials. Ask them how they feel and introduce new words to them by labeling the items as they are exploring.
- While your child colors the scarecrow with crayons cut out a nose from the textured paper, hair from the construction paper , yarn for the mouth, a felt hat and strip for the hat.
- Hand them the glue start with the eyes.
- Pop them on.
- Add the nose and the mouth.
- If your child is up for the challenge hand them smaller pieces of yarn to make a stitched mouth. I decided to test the waters and see if my daughter could do this. She has been doing a lot of self directed fine motor tasks so I thought why not try. She did so well and was very proud of herself.
- Add the hair. We started with popscicle sticks but they were too heavy so we switched to paper hair.
- Add the felt hat.
- Let dry.