It’s peak leaf season right now, so it’s the perfect time for kids to head outside and gather the prettiest and most colorful leaves they can find. But then what? We thought the same thing, which is why we put together this quick list of leaf project ideas for you to try this autumn. From art projects to science experiments, there are plenty of ways to use leaves. This is a great way to get kids outside and encourage hands-on learning.
Make biodegradable confetti with colorful leaves.
Most confetti and glitter isn’t very environmentally friendly, so this is a perfect alternative. Use hole punches to create your own nature confetti from freshly picked fall leaves. (Leaves you pick from a tree will punch better and last a bit longer than those off the ground.) You can sprinkle these around a table for decoration or gather them up to toss at an outdoor celebration. Check out this video on how to make it.
Make your own suncatcher with your favorite leaves.
Want a way to show off all your favorite leaves? Turn them into a suncatcher, using contact paper. This project is from Live Well Play Together and is suggested for preschoolers, but it’s really one that a child of any age can do. Gather different colors of leaves in your area, and then create your own art with contact paper. While they won’t last forever, they will make lovely window displays for fall. Get more instructions for this one right here. By the way, here’s another variation of this project: making a leaf suncatcher.
Explore colors and chlorophyll.
Here’s a way to make some of those gorgeous fall colors last even longer. This project from A Little Pinch of Perfection shows how you can use basic rubbing alcohol to capture some of the great colors you find in leaves this time of year. It’s a perfect excuse to head outside and gather up your favorites. Get more details about this experiment here.
Create a nature painting with chlorophyll.
Here’s one more chlorophyll project from teacher Linda Kamp from Around the Kampfire. This one works best with green leaves, fresh from the tree, and you’ll need about 8–10 per child. This is a great lesson when learning about photosynthesis. Get step-by-step instructions for this project along with free resources on her website.
Combine art and science together with leaf rubbings.
There’s a reason this classic art project has been around for decades: It’s fun! KC Edventures has put together a great blog post about how to turn this simple project into a science experiment as well. She has suggested books to read, a project supply list, and more. She truly does a great job of turning this into a hands-on experiment, testing different ways to make the leaf rubbing. Visit her article to learn more.
Make your own leaf lantern.
This project from Thrifty Fun might take a little more time and effort, but it’s worth it. It would also make a really great Let Grow Project for kids because there’s just something cool about using the iron to melt leaves together. (Learn more about the Let Grow Project and our Independence Kit here.) Then get step-by-step instructions for this project here.
Make your own leaf bowl out of clay.
Here’s another challenging one: using clay to make your own leaf bowl. And yes, you do use a real leaf to make this. That’s why it looks so amazing and so real. You’ll want to use leaves fresh from the tree if possible. The step-by-step instructions for this one are best left to an expert. So get all the tips and hints here from the creators at 2 Bees in a Pod. By the way, if you make this, we definitely want to see it! So tag us @LetGrowOrg on social media.