Fall leaf spray-painting

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

I feel like the last days of fall are upon us. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to get ready for winter. The Christmas ornaments come out, everyone’s blaring holiday songs, and the snow starts drifting down (well, not at my house). I figured it was our last chance to do a fun fall art activity. Because, starting Monday, it’s all about cooking and cleaning (and not stressing) for turkey day!

Leaves are really beautiful things. Just like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same. They each have different little bumps, curves, colors or lines, which makes fall leaves so wonderful. The wee tot and I headed outdoors for a fall leaf hunt and selected a few to use for our project.

I helped her get started by placing some small bits of rolled tape on the back of the leaves so she could press them onto a paper. Older kids could roll the tape and position the leaves themselves, which encourages fine-motor skills and creativity!

Now, before the babe could pull the leaves off the paper and crumble them to bits, I handed her a spray bottle filled with some water-downed red tempera paint. I showed her how to press the top of the spray bottle and she kept herself quite busy trying to get it to work for several minutes. I helped her out by covering the paper with a couple of good squirts. Your child can keep spraying her paper until it is evenly covered with one color, or fill another spray-bottle with a different water-downed tempera paint color for her to use, too.

Then, the really really fun part. I saturated a paint brush with some yellow watercolor paint and let her splatter the paper. Kids of all ages love to splatter paint, which is great – but super messy. So, make sure you’re working in an area clear of white fabric, carpeting, or, you know, pretty much anything you care about.

Encourage your child to try a different color of watercolor paint to splatter all over her leaves to see how the colors blend. Not only is she having a great time making a colorful mess, she’s learning about color and how color mixing works!

Let the painting dry for a couple of hours and then gently remove the taped leaves from the paper, revealing the leaf shapes surrounded by lots of color!

Help your child find a special place to display her finished project – or make several more to use as place mats for Thanksgiving!

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