I adore teaching this lesson with my kids because they are always amazed by the magic that happens when you put leaves together to create a picture.
Start by collecting many leaves with your kiddos. Give each student scissors, a bag and gloves. The bag is to put the leaves in and the gloves to avoid any allergic reactions when handling leaves–trust me on this one!
Go for a nature walk and visit the trees around your school and with the scissors show the kids how to carefully cut a leaf off the branch. I live in Bahrain so we don’t have many trees to choose from and you just don’t see leaves lying on the ground. This is why we need to cut fresh leaves. Make sure kids collect different sized leaves especially small ones because these become ‘details’ such as scales, dots, etc.
Go back to class and have everyone sort their leaves. Give each child an old magazine with their name on it. Have the kids place their leaves between the pages. let each child take their gloves home and tell them to collect more leaves especially smaller ones for one whole week. Each time they bring in leaves they go into their magazine.
There are some great books out there with leaf art to show your kids for inspiration. My favorite has to be “Look What I did With a Leaf” by Morteza E Sohi.
Have the students take out all their leaves and do a practice run by making a picture with their leaves. This will help them ORGANIZE their thoughts and make any changes. The rules are NO CUTTING allowed and you must use the entire leaf. Give out glue bottles when everyone is ready, a large piece of 12×18 white construction paper and be amazed at the wonderful pictures the kids will come up with. Stick to making animals with the younger grades.
Didn’t these turn out so lovely?
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This project is so cool! I did a leaf creature project with my 1st grade students last fall where they just traced around the leaves and colored it in to create a picture, using the actual leaves is a lot cooler!
I have used this in connection with the Lois Ehlert book, “Leaf Man”. I like making literature connections to elementary art.
What a great idea!!
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I’ve made my own story around this idea, and got the kids to create their own ‘Leaf Man.’ I’ve done this lesson in 2 different schools (both Grade 3 classes), and the kiddies LOVED it!! Must be one of my favourite lessons.