I remember making many a leaf animal when I was a child!
It is such a simple idea to use leaves as shapes, and this time of year as the air gets colder, the sky is literally raining art material! It’s wonderful!
Art made with ‘things’ that have been collected during a nature walk, or walk on the beach or run in the garden have extra meaning. Children LOVE making things with their treasures, it gives so much meaning to the activity…
This activity is a winner!
I do lots of art and craft with kids and sometimes you get it right and it works and they love it, other times its just ok… THIS Leaf Animal craft is fantastic! I think the combination of found materials, leaves that are around them every day being used for something interesting and the different shapes and patterns on a leaf makes it extra special!
Leaf Animal Material:
Leaves – all shapes and sizes.
Cardstock – we used A4 size (11.7′ x 8.3′)
Eyes – we used round black and white circles, you could also use googly eyes or cut eyes from leaves – or use whole leaves if you find ones small enough!
How to make your Own Leaf Animal!
After we collected the leaves, we pressed them so they would be nice and flat when it came to sticking them. This is optional – but if you have time (two days) I would recommend it – it just helps with the sticking!!
I put mine straight into a telephone book – as I am not worried about messing the book up. Don’t use a book that you love as the leaves will make the pages damp and wrinkly.
If you do not have a spare telephone book or yellow pages lying around, put the leaves between kitchen towel or newspaper and put a heavy book on top of that!
I left my leaves in the book for two days and that was sufficient time to make them flat flat flat!
I set up our art table with a piece of card for each child, glue ready to stick, and the leaves in front of them.
I personally like children to be able to create and imagine without to much interruption during the process or activity. I think it teaches them to think for themselves, and encourages behavior that feels like, “I can do this…” rather than stopping every two minutes to ask, “what now, what next?”
If you are going to let children just get on and do it, you do need to discuss and guide before hand, so they know what is expected of them, so they understand what they have to do, then they go off secure in the knowledge that they are going to get it right! I do this at home with my two and I do this in a classroom full of kids.
Before we started:
- We looked at the leaves, the different shapes and colors
- We spoke about what kind of animals they would like to make
- I showed them an example of a hedgehog that I had made, showing them how using different leaves all stuck together can turn into an animal
- I explained how to use the glue – to cover the whole leaf – so it sticks well
- I showed them the eyes we were going to use and asked them to do the eyes last
- We also discussed that before they stick the leaves onto the paper, they should set them up – without the glue like a puzzle, until they are happy with their animals, and then only stick.
Children often are afraid to commit to something permanent – like a marker or glue – as they are afraid they will get it wrong. Arranging the leaves before you stick them is a great way to boost confidence, they can see exactly what their animal is going to look like before they make it permanent!
They look wonderful!
We got many different animals, hedgehogs, a mouse, a fox, a fish, a squirrel with a thick tail, and many many butterflies!
Butterflies are actually a very nice thing to make with leaves. As the girls were setting up their own butterflies they were looking for ‘two leaves the same,’ so their butterfly could have matching wings – great symmetry and mirror image idea that can be done completely on it’s own! I am definitely going to do this again in spring – with green leaves and flowers!
Make your own leaf animals! You won’t be disappointed!!
Such an easy – effective and fantastically fun thing to do!!
I would love to see your own leaf animals – if you make some please take a photo and put it onto our Facebook Wall! We really like seeing what everyone else does!!
If you are looking for another idea to create and make with your nature walk finds, here is a sensory table with play dough idea that also went down a treat!
Air dry clay autumn leaf bowls are also a wonderful idea to use those big leaves and make a gift for someone you love!