14 Crafts & Activities With Fall Leaves

fall crafts for kids Every day I am awed by the beautiful fall colors around our neighborhood and it’s been inspiring our crafts and activities too. My daughter and I have been re-making many of the crafts I shared originally years ago with my son and I wanted to share them again with you. Here are 14 of our favorite crafts & activities with fall leaves.  I hope you find a project or activity you and your children can share and celebrate these beautiful colors before winter comes.

Falling Leaves Craft
Leaf Rubbing Tree Craft
Toddler Painted Leaves
Letter Match Fall Tree
Fall Leaves Placemats
Leaf Butterfly
Thankful Leaves Garland
Stained Glass Leaf Craft
Alphabet Leaf Match
Yarn Stamped Leaves
Food Coloring Leaves
Tape Resist Fall Leaves
Felt Fall Leaves Color Sorting
Leaf Scrapbook

 

Kid Made Fall Placemats

Fall Placemat crafts for kidsI 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.

  1. 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.fall placemat craft for preschool
  2. 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.fall placemat craft tutorial
  3. 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.fall placemats drawing
  4. 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. fall glitter leaf placemats
  5. Tape the leaves down onto the construction paper. My son added more designs after. fall placemats for kids
  6. 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. fall leaves placemat craft for kids

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Books About Leaves

 

leaf man lois elhert

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.

kids books about fall

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

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!

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Easy Fall Painted Leaves

fall craft 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of some leaves on the paper.
  3. Next using painter’s tape add veins to the leaves.
  4. Paint. She started with the brushes but quickly moved to her hands. She didn’t even use a brush with the 2nd one.
  5. 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.
  6. Next grab some paper towel and blot. See the texture?
  7. Let dry to the touch and peel the tape off.
  8. 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!

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Yarn Stamped Fall Tree Craft

Fall always makes me think of a mix of textures and rich smells and while this yarn stamped fall tree craft isn’t scratch and sniff ( although if it was it would be vanilla and pumpkin spice)  it was a fun exploration of textures. This project was a big reminder to me about not putting your own adult vision on a child’s art work. Even after many years I still at times have to stop myself from saying ” Really are you sure you are done ?”. If you feel like saying that bite your tongue. That doesn’t encourage kids it tells them their art isn’t good enough.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some stamp pads, paper , marker,  bottle caps, yarn / bakers string , sticky back foam and some foam adhesive mounts.
  2. Start by cutting your foam into the shape of leaves. Peel the backing off and wrap the yarn around . I wrapped a few really heavily, and left one sparkly foam leaf without any yarn for contrast. Add the adhesive mounts.Press onto the bottle cap.fall craft
  3. Invite your artists to the table.  Draw a trunk.
  4. He has hit that stage of childhood where he doesn’t just trust me and questions everything. ” Are you sure it will work mom?”
  5. Add yarn stamped leaves.
  6. Try out the different textures .
  7. Let dry. As the ink dries the colors lighten.

Over the years we have reviewed many fall themed books for children but this round up contains our very favorite. For full reviews of the book check out the post from earlier this month.

Stained Glass Leaf Craft

My dear friend and contributing writer Kim sent us this melted crayon art a few weeks ago and it and my son’s desire to melt things with a hair dryer ( how this art was made) inspired this new take on an old stain glass craft. You may remember making crayon stained glass leaves in preschool, I know I do. I have a clear memory of my preschool teacher Fran ironing our crayon shavings.  Since my son wanted to do the melting I switched an iron for a hair dryer. As you will find out there is a reason Fran used the iron… it was not easy making this “kid friendly” and not even all that “kid friendly”. Some days we hit it out of the park, some days we don’t.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a crayon sized pencil sharpener or a zest grater, crayons in various fall colors, wax paper, card stock, scissors and tape. Og and a hair dryer … possibly iron.
  2. Start by peeling the paper off the crayons. This is fantaboulous fine motor skills practice.
  3. Next grate or sharpen the crayons into little bits. Our sharpener broke half way through ( should have been a sign of things to come), so we attached it with pinking sheers, I do not suggest this method. Crayons bits were flying at a high rate of speed all over our playroom. Instead use a zest grater or if you have it one of those parmesan wheel graters would be rad for this. You need the wax to bit thin and small for it to melt.
  4. Put it all on the wax paper .
  5. Sandwich it and either hold it down or tape it to the table. Either way when the blow dryer starts you want a firm grip on it so bits don’t ( yet again if you are us) go flying everywhere.
  6. Even on high my trusty hair dryer from 1989 took a long time to melt the thick bits… I really need to try this again with a parmesan grater , why I didn’t think of that until now after we did it is beyond me.
  7. While the wax cools. Draw a leaf and cut it out of the cardstock so you are left with what looks like a stencil.
  8. Tape the melted wax to the paper ( I tape it all along the wax paper just in case some wax breaks off then it won’t fall into my carpet ) and hang up in a window.

Over all this project was fun , especially for my son who loved every step especially the ones I would call screw ups. That’s the thing when I break it all down we do crafts with kids not to make the prettiest thing but to have fun, make memories and share some time together. Even if some of that time was picking up pieces of crayon that shot ten feet across the room. I should note if you do use an iron make sure the crayon shavings are sandwiched between the wax and still use a towel under it when you pass the iron on low over it. Wax paper is usually great but sometimes the color leaks through.

Leaf Books

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 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.

When Autumn Falls by Kelli Nidey is a stunning book, the illustrations which are painted paper collages, by Susan Swan are so richly colored you will want more after turning the last page. The text is clever as well. Readers will discover that fall is well named not just because of falling leaves, but also pumpkins falling from the vines, temperatures falling, seeds falling from their leaves and even football players falling! The text is the perfect length for toddlers but not too short for preschoolers too.  Cute book for this time of year.