Leaf Art Activity for Kids [Leaves and Glue]

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.

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    There are two things I adore about today’s process leaf art activity:

    1. It’s low-cost
    2. It helps us connect to nature.
    3. 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
    Creative Table with Leaves and Glue

    Supplies: Leaves and Glue

    1. Leaves
    2. Chip board or card board
    3. A sturdy paintbrush
    4. Shallow bowl or plate filled with glue

    leaves and glue on paper

    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.

    leaves and glue painting

    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

    TinkerLab Schoolhouse Online Art Club for Kids

    Engaging kids art classes - from the comfort of home!

    You set up the supplies & we'll offer the instruction.


    1. Yes! This is fabulous! I think I’m going to plan on doing this with all the leaves we’ve collected lately.

      • Hi Terri! It doesn’t get much easier than this. Thanks for your comment 🙂

    2. Gotta make sure to press them down well on the glue so the parts that aren’t glued don’t crumple

      • HI Faigie…Thanks for sharing this idea. Since this is all about exploring the process, with less focus on the final product, I wouldn’t worry too much about pressing the entire leaf down. One thought: when you set this up, pressing the leaf down could be presented as one of many options. ~Rachelle

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