Make: A DIY Fall Leaf-Matching Flipbook

With fall in full swing, we’re exploring new uses for our free printable leaf activity kit this week! we thought we’d try an upcycled leaf learning activity. So we turned a scrap of cardboard and one page of our leaf activity kit into a fall leaf flipbook matching game – perfect for shape recognition practice and fall fine motor skill building!

In addition to being a fab way to recycle the side of a cardboard box, this graphic visual comprehension-builder is a way for little ones to explore positive and negative space.

For more fall projects for little ones visit our collection of leaf-themed loose parts play activities. Get more fine motor skill practice with mouse mail, or squeeze in counting and color-learning with this DIY super-soft felt tree and rainbow leaves.

For your own DIY leaf-matching flipbook you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*



  • Watercolors or other coloring supplies

DIY Fall Leaf Flipbook Instructions:

  1. Print our free leaf-match templates or draw your own leaves

    Download our free leaf activity kit, and print the leaf-halves template page. Cut the mini pages apart, then you can color as we did (and let them dry if necessary) or use them as is.
    Cut apart and color your leaf match pieces bright fall colors
    We used watercolors to create pretty washed leaves in bright fall colors, but you can color yours any way you’d like. Using black in the negative space would be a great variation!

    Tip: Don’t have a printer handy? Draw or trace leaves onto watercolor paper and follow the same steps!

  2. Cut out your leaf templates and begin building faces

    Use a hole punch to make holes at the top of each leaf half-page.
    Use a hole punch to make at hole at the top/middle of each leaf match page
    Center your holes in the middle of the pages, about a half-inch from the top.

  3. Use a glue gun to affix to 2 thin strips of cardstock to the cardboard

    We used a one-eighths-inch hole punch, so our paper strips were just a little thinner in width than that.
    Use a glue gun to glue two small half-rings to a large square of cardboard
    For proper placement, lay a matching set of your hole-punched leaf pages onto the cardboard – centered and lined up next to each other. Make small dots on the cardboard with a pencil, in the middle of each hole punch. Glue one end of each paper strip onto the corresponding pencil marks.

  4. Thread your leaf pages on the thin strips and glue the open ends down

    Thread your leaf pages onto the strips. You can thread them so they stack in order, or mix up the half pages. Just make sure all the silhouetted halves are on one side, and the dotted outlines are on the other. Thread your leaf pages onto the rings and glue down the ends.
    Once all your half pages have been threaded onto the strips, use a glue gun to glue down the open ends to the cardboard. This creates rings that will allow you to flip your pages again and again.

Et voila! A clever little flipbook your kiddos can use at home or at school for some matching halves practice!

This is a great indoor tabletop fall activity that you can pair with a practically zero-prep leaf scavenger hunt (using the same free printable!) for a complimentary outdoor experience.

Our cardboard flip book leaf matching activity for kids sitting on a white background

Down to try a little leaf art? You can use this same free printable to make For a few leaf-themed art projects try our autumn magic paper leaf wands and funny face paper leaf puppets.

Love this download? Try 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.

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

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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