The other day I mentioned how my children are embracing fall fever; and while I can stall them from carving pumpkins (for now anyway) I haven't managed to stop the endless natural treasures that get picked up every day. So the other afternoon we put the leaves to good use and created foil leaf prints.
I loved these because other than being super pretty to look at they also gave the kids a great opportunity to really examine the leaf. They raised questions from my first grader on symmetry, we examined the veins and discussed how a plant moves water from the soil to the tips of its leaves. We were able to compare different plants and trees leaves and after learning the names of the trees from which their leaves had fallen they were then able to go out on a woodland walk and identify the tress we walked under. Yes, more leaves came home!
You will need:
Cardboard (we used an old cereal packet)
Place one or two leaves upside down on a piece of cardboard. Placing the leaves upside down gives a better imprint of the leaf veins in the foil paper than if you had done it right side up.
Gently cover the leaf with the aluminum foil and flip the cardboard over to fold the foil over around the edges on the back. You can secure it in place with tape if you like.
Flip the cardboard right side up again and slowly rub with your fingers over the foil. Pressing gently you can smooth out the foil and the leaf print should begin to show through. If you have a young child doing this they may need help with smoothing out the creases to get a decent imprint without ripping the foil.
Choose one color sharpie to color the background, this helps the leaf shape really pop out. My girls did this by themselves (it helps to be in a well lit area so that you can see the outline clearly). The boys on the other hand being a bit younger needed help putting in an outline before they began coloring.
As you begin coloring you will also realize that some leaf shapes are far easier than others. For instance the Maple leaf was easier than the fern. Something to keep in mind if you have a little one doing this project.
The end result, beautiful don't you agree?