Art with Leaves

Art with Leaves

Leaf Printing


  • Carpet underlay sponge or dish washing sponge
  • Scissors
  • Real leaves or leaf patterns
  • Paint
  • Meat trays

Using carpet underlay or dish washing sponges, cut out patterns for different leaf shapes. Pour paint into the meat trays. Dip the sponges into the paint and create. When available, you may also use real leaves to paint with by pressing a green leaf into the paint and then pressing it onto the paper.

Leafy Designs


  • A variety of real leaves of varying shape and color

Collect a variety of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors. Willow leaves are great for bug wings. Small colored shrub leaves make excellent heads and legs. Encourage the children to make whatever they would like to create. That makes it art and not a craft. Open-ended art instead of craft projects are encouraged by early childhood educators.

Wooden Frame Pictures


  • Four tongue depressors for each child
  • A variety of materials collected from a walk
  • Glue
  • Picture or drawing
  • Magnets

Glue the tongue depressors together to create a picture frame. Have the children select and glue items they found from a walk in the woods to the picture frame. Attach the magnets to the back of the picture frame. Insert a photo or a picture drawn by the children to place in their frames.

Leaf Print Paper Weights


  • One rock per child measuring at least 3″ across
  • Paints
  • Small leaves

Dip the leaves in the paint and press the design onto the rocks. Let them dry before handling.

Maple Leaf Crowns


  • Large amount of fresh maple leaves
  • Toothpick

Have the children collect maple leaves to make crowns. With adult help, pierce the leaves and thread the stem through the leaf. Continue until the chain of leaves fits the child’s head. Attach the first leaf to the last leaf in the chain to complete the crown.

Activities provided by:

Nature Boxes for Early Childhood Educators
Debbi Williams
Story County Conservation Board
56461 180th St.
Ames, IA 50010
Story County Conservation