Super easy leaf art activity for small kids. All you’ll need for this activity are leaves, glue, paper, and a paintbrush.
First, gather a selection of fall leaves, a fun outdoor bonding activity before the art making. Clear a table, set up your materials, and invite your child to attach leaves to a piece of chipboard or cardboard. Your child will explore texture, practice fine motor skills, and exercise independent thinking.
This process leaf art activity for kids is easy to set up and a developmentally appropriate art experience for toddlers and preschoolers. Here at TinkerLab we call these simple process-oriented prompts Art Starters because they’re easy tools for helping kids get started with art. With Art Starters, keep in mind that the journey is the destination.
This is also an example of the weekly prompts our members receive in TinkerLab Schoolhouse. Add your name to our mailing list and we’ll send you a Schoolhouse-style PDF of this activity.
There are two things I adore about today’s process leaf art activity:
- It’s low-cost
- It helps us connect to nature.
- Bonus: collecting leaves with young children adds extra meaning to this project, extending it into a nature walk.
The Benefits of “Leaves and Glue”
This activity will help children…
- develop fine-motor skills
- learn to work independently
- build creative confidence through experimentation
- Encourage creative thinking
- build an eye for aesthetics by developing a composition
- develop a broader understanding of upcycling materials (i.e. leaves) as art supplies
Supplies: Leaves and Glue
- Chip board or card board
- A sturdy paintbrush
- Shallow bowl or plate filled with glue
Step One: Clear Your Table
Remove any distractions that will take your child’s focus away from the creative invitation. Create a set-up that looks something like our photo (above).
Arrange the leaves artfully to make this appeal to your child’s aesthetic sensibility.
Once the table is “set,” ask your child if he or she would like to use/explore/experiment with these supplies.
Challenges and Critical Thinking
One of the exciting challenges in this prompt relates to gluing down bumpy, twisted, and generally non-compliant leaves. If your child is frustrated by the non-flat quality of your leaves, or has difficulty gluing them down, this is an opportunity to tease out solutions. You could say something like, “Hmmm, I see you’re having trouble attaching the leaf to the paper. What could we do to help it stick better?” From that, ideas such as “add more glue” or “turn the leaf over” might emerge.
- Replace leaves with paper cut into leaf shapes, circles, rectangles, etc.
- Tint the glue with a little bit of food coloring or liquid watercolors
- Before you set up the invitation, go on a leaf hunt together to collect your materials