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When I was little, one of our classic autumn family activities was gathering up leaves during hikes or walks to collect and admire. Sometimes our leaf finds were part of an outdoor scavenger hunt, sometimes we collected them for rubbings or tracings, and most of the time my sister and I would just grab up an extra colorful bunch as my parents were raking – just to keep and show-off.
To this day, whenever I go for an autumn walk, I think of my dad pointing out specific trees and showing us how they could be identified by their leaves. Now that I’ve started teaching my own classes, I wanted to share that lesson in a way that would be just as fun for young artists as it would be for budding botanists or little leaf collectors – so I turned it into a “kit” of printables I thought I’d share with all of you!
Our free printable leaf activity kit can be used to collect found leaves, color, decorate or embellish, use for games, or so much more! Your imagination is the limit with this one!
For your own fall leaf activity kit you’ll need:
- A few sheets of paper, heavy cardstock or watercolor paper
- Our (UPDATED!) Free Printable Leaf Activity Kit
- Crayons or other coloring supplies (finger paint, pastels or markers for coloring, etc.)
- A glue stick
- Binding supplies (we used a hole punch + brass fasteners or a binder ring to make ID books)
- Ribbon or string (we used grosgrain ribbon + a glue gun to make a garland)
Five Ways to use your leaf activity kit
There are no hard and fast rules or important instructions for this printable leaf kit – you can just print and go – but here are a few examples of ways WE used our pages…
1. Use as a seasonal coloring sheet
Fall kids entertainment doesn’t get easier than printing this out to use as a coloring page. Paired with a stack of colorful crayons, this makes for some quality autumn quiet time.
You can stick with the classic color-makers, or explore your artistic side with watercolors, oil pastels, or chalks. The best part? When your little ones are done, you can turn this color page into an on-the-go leaf ID booklet!
2. Create a mini leaf identification book
We cut our labeled leaf sheet apart, used a hole punch to make a hole in the corner of each, then put a brass fastener through. Voila – a lovely little book of leaves we plan on taking on nature walks and to the park!
3. Make an artistic fall leaf garland
We also used pastels on our sheet of large leaves to make a leaf art garland. I saved our chalk pastel garland to use as some lovely, kid-made Thanksgiving decor!
You can color directly on the leaves, but we turned our sheet over and covered the back in autumn colors.
Once we finished coloring the back, we sprayed it with an art fixative (you can use hairspray if you don’t have any – it keeps the pastels from smudging and getting all over) let dry for a minute, then flipped over and cut around the outlines.
Once we had cut out all of our leaves, we used a glue gun to attach our leaves to a piece of grosgrain ribbon and tacked it up – how cute is that!
4. Make a leaf-themed DIY memory game
Print two pages of the same sheet, cut into equal-sized cards, and use for a memory game as we did!
5. Use transparent leaves on a light table
Print them on transparency sheets, cut them out, and use them on a light table
Even more ideas for your printable leaf kit…
There are tons of ways you can use this kit and kids often think of the most creative things to do with them – but here are a few more ideas for you:
- Print out, decorate, and use as place cards, name-tags or autumn wall decorations at school.
- Print and frame in one big frame or 9 individual ones! This is an adorably easy bedroom or playroom decor idea for the little naturalist in your life. 😉
- Experiment with different painting and printmaking techniques, once you’re done, you can make a tree out of washi tape and decorate it with your artistic leaves (we decorated one whole kids room wall this way!).
For more fun kids fall activities try making a simple and colorful DIY felt fall tree. Create a stunning fall leaf collage using a totally unique and unexpected process. Or turn your collection of found leaves into a beautifully simple gradient leaf banner!
And if you love this download, you’ll adore our Nature Explorer Printable Pack! Filled with pages of outdoor observation and exploration prompts, it’s perfect for hours of self-led nature learning and play.