15 Paper Leaf Crafts for Kids (With a Free Printable!)

Our free printable leaf activity kit is a great way for kids to jump into fall! Color, make into a collector’s book or leaf garland, and more!

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!

Helping little ones discover the joy of autumn leaves? Try making one of these creative autumn play trays, make mouse mail for fine motor skill development, or a simple and colorful DIY felt fall tree.

For your own fall leaf collection book, you’ll need:



  • A glue stick
  • Binding supplies (we used a hole punch + brass fasteners and binder rings to make identification books)
  • Ribbon or string (we used grosgrain ribbon + a glue gun to make a garland)

How to Make a Kids Leaf Collection Book – DIY Instructions:

Download and print our free printable kids leaf activity kit.

A preview of our free printable kids leaf activity kit

Download and print the mini leaf booklet pages of our free printable leaf activity kit.

Cut apart the mini pages.

Use scissors to cut apart the mini leaf booklet pages, then use a hole punch to make a small hole in the corner of each page.

Bind with a binder ring or looped ribbon.

Our free printable kids fall leaf activity kit has so many fun uses! From coloring pages, to leaf art, fall leaf puppets, a mini leaf ID book and more! | via barley & birch

Thread a ribbon or binder ring through the leaf collection pages and clasp or tie to form a closed loop.

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!

15 Kids Paper Leaf Crafts to Make With Our 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 printable leaf pages. These 15 paper leaf crafts are ideas that anyone can enjoy – whether you’re celebrating a fall like ours or on the other side of the globe preparing for a tropical spring!

1. Make Funny Face Leaf Stick Puppets

These whimsical leaf stick puppets are the perfect way for kids in other climates to re-create the magic of our colorful northern fall and add a side of silliness! Find the easy directions for these cute leaf stick puppets here.

DIY leaf stick puppets made with paper scraps and nature supplies! | via barley & birch

The large leaf templates from our printable kit are the base of these expressive puppets. All you need to add are the sticks and leaves!

Up for a less common coloring technique? Try bleeding tissue paper! Cut a few sheets of bleeding tissue paper (in a variety of colors) into 1-inch or 2-inch squares. Cover your leaves with the squares and brush with water for a look that’s sure to enthrall your little ones and impress puppet-show goers.

2. Use as Seasonal Leaf Coloring Pages

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.

Our free printable leaf identification sheet sitting on a red background with crayons

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!

3. Use for a Quick Leaf Scavenger Hunt

An incredibly quick and easy leaf DIY that will have your kiddos running around the backyard looking for ALL the leaves, find all the details to help youcreate your own easy leaf scavenger hunt here.

Two paper bags prepared for a leaf scavenger hunt laying on a white background with fall leaves

Not only can you get this easy natureobservation activity put together in a literal SNAP, it’s also a fab way for kids to easily collect leaves they can use later for other activities. Not to mention the benefits of an afternoon outside! How many can your kids find in the backyard or at a park?

Love this idea, but feeling like you won’thave many leaves to spot? No fear, we have included a few ideas for creating a leaf scavenger hunt you can have fun with any time, anywhere – no matter theseason, conditions, or leaves!

4. Make a DIY Leaf Memory Game

A DIY nature memory game made with our free printable leaf activity kit cards setup on a blanket on the grass

5. Make Autumn-Inspired Leaf Wands

Welcome fall with a flick of the wrist and the magical jingling of little bells and acorns! Visit the step-by-step for our DIY leaf wands to make a little magic of your own.

Make magic paper leaf wands with simple art supplies and our free printable leaf activity kit! | via barley & birch

The opportunities for creative art-making are endless with this enchanting nature project. You can lean into the outdoor angle by taking a woodland walk to collect all-natural decorations OR go artsy with it by pulling out a variety of craft supplies and fun mark-making tools.

The magic of these little wands is that they engage the senses through sight, sound, and touch. Add smell by painting a leaf or two with coffee for extra autumnal flair!

As a bonus, these wands come just in time for Halloween – they make a darling eco-friendly accessory to costumes or dress-up!

6. Create a Leaf-Matching Flipbook Game

Little leaf enthusiasts will get a kick out of this matching game. Visit the full tutorial for this upcycled leaf-matching flipbook here.

Our cardboard DIY fall leaf match flip book is a fun way for kids to practice shape recognition while learning about positive and negative space. | via barley & birch

This clever little flipbook couldn’t get any easier. All you need is the 3rd page of our leaf activity kit and a scrap piece of cardboard! Be sure to hop over to the DIY to see the flip function in action.

Visual lessons abound in this simple upcycle. Sight-matching, positive & negative space and so much more!

7. Use Paper Leaves with Nature Items

Find all of our loose-part leaf play ideas here!

paper leaves and loose parts play items sitting on a white background

The tray we set out featured some of my favorite materials for fall play and crafts. Leaves, feathers, bark, sticks, and paper scraps offer a variety of textures. Sea glass and cabochons have great natural transparency (just check to make sure all your glass pieces have smoothed edges first).

8. Make an Artistic Fall Paper Leaf Garland

Our free printable leaf outlines colored with soft pastels and made into a fall paper 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!

Our free printable leaf outline sheet sitting next to soft pastels on an orange background

You can color directly on the leaves, but we turned our sheet over and covered the back in autumn colors.

Our free printable leaf outlines colored with soft pastels

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.

Our free printable leaf outlines colored with soft pastels and made into a simple fall garland

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!

Print two pages of the same sheet, cut them into equal-sized cards, and use them for a memory game as we did!

9. Make Transparent Leaves on a Light Table

Our free printable kids leaf shapes on a light table with photocopied leaves

Print our sheet of leaf outlines onto colored transparency sheets, cut them out, and use them on a light table.

10.Make Paper Leaf Animals

Use our paper leaves to make fall leaf animals like these!

11. Use for an Autumn Kids Party

Print out, decorate, and use our leaf outlines as place cards, name tags, or autumn wall decorations at school.

12. Frame Paper Leaves for Easy DIY Nature Art

Frame our printable leaves 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.

13. Make Tree Wall Art With Washi Tape & Paper Leaves

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!).

So now that you have a brand new stock of leaf-themed project inspiration, go forth and create! I’d love to see how you’ve used our leaf kit to make your own variations – of our ideas or your own! I’m passing my stash of watercolored leaves on to a friend who’ll be hosting a very small (socially distanced) woodland tea party. A long table covered with a fresh bed of bright fall leaves…sounds like an autumn dream!

More Fall Leaf Crafts for Kids

For more fun kids’ fall leaf activities 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!

Our free printable kids leaf collection pages and leaf identification booklet posted on a bulletin board with autumn leaves.

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.

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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