Fall leaf napkin rings

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, your festive holiday table can become even more special with the addition of some colorful fall leaf napkin rings. This is a simple project your child of any age can accomplish – you just might have to offer a bigger helping hand with the wee tots. But, have no fear, this is a no-fail project that requires art materials you probably have around the house!

No one wants bits of dried leaves in their green bean casserole or tasty mashed potatoes, so using colorful tissue paper for the outside of the napkin rings is a great solution. And, before you toss that cardboard paper towel or toilet roll, it can be transformed into a napkin ring! With the addition of some beautifully positioned leaf prints, you’ve got a winner of a fall leaf project and a way for your kids to get in on the fun of decorating for the holidays!

Start by inviting your child to help cut the toilet or paper towel rolls into 2-inch sections. Cutting encourages your child’s fine-motor skills, which are beneficial for his ability to hold small objects or use a pencil to do all that writing.

Head outside and spend some time walking about the yard or neighborhood looking for great fall leaves that are filled with color. Your child can bring a little bag or container to collect his leaves, and you can both enjoy a bit of quality time together in the fresh autumnal air!

Once you get home, spread those fall leaves all around a work space. Get out some tissue paper and encourage your child to select colors that match with the colors of the fall leaves he just collected.

Now he can tear the tissue paper into little bits. Tearing paper is another great way to encourage your child’s fine motor skills, once again building up those wee muscles in his hands!

Mix together equal amounts of water and plain-old glue (about a teaspoon of each) to create a nice wash your child can use to slather all over those bits of tissue paper around the cut piece of toilet paper roll. Encourage him to keep layering, which will create a nice and colorful napkin ring.

Set the covered roll aside and have your child keep working to create a set on tissue paper rings. Let them fully dry overnight, or at least for two to three hours.

Now your child can select a couple of his favorite small leaves to use for embellishing his colorful napkin rings. All he needs to do is paint over his selected leaf with black paint and then press onto the outside of the napkin ring! It’s that simple!

Once the napkin rings are dry, he can help put a napkin through the ring and place them on the table to enjoy during the next holiday dinner!

Happy fall!

Fall leaf project for kids

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

Fall has made its arrival and leaves are changing color and swirling around creating that wonderful crunch and smell of the autumnal season. All those leaves can easily be turned into art projects that kids will enjoy – even the wee tots! The best thing about fall leaf projects is that they are never-ending. There are always more leaves to use!

Before starting your fall leaf project, head outdoors with your child along with a basket or bag to collect some fallen leaves. This is a great opportunity to tie learning into the activity, so start a conversation about the changing season, what colors your child sees in the leaves, how the leaves crunch when stepped on, the scent the leaves emit, or how much a leaf weighs. There are tons of things to talk about! It’s also a chance to connect with your child and share a special moment together!

After you’ve collected some colorful fall leaves, return to your worktable and look at the leaves with your child. Get out a sheet of white 8 by 12-inch construction paper (or a sheet of mat board or piece of tag board) and your trusty set of watercolor paints.

Now, take a look at the colors that your child finds within the leaves. Discuss how most leaves turn shades of yellow, orange, and red during fall. These are the warm colors – a set of colors usually associated with fall, fire, energy, and boldness. Help your child find orange, yellow, and red in his set of watercolors.

To create the background for the fall leaf project, your child will create a wash on his white sheet of paper. This means he’s going to cover it with lots and lots of water! Give him a big brush and a small container filled with water to slather all over. Once he’s finished, he can paint his wet paper with the red, yellow, and orange watercolors. The wet paper will allow the colors to seep together, creating a colorful, fall-like backdrop.

While the paper is drying, he can decide which leaf he would like to use for his finished project.

Place a piece of scrap paper on the worktable and invite your child to paint over the leaf using black or brown watercolor paint. Once the leaf is completely covered, he can place, press, and then lift the leaf on the watercolor backdrop, leaving a leaf print!

Once the leaf print has dried, your child can punch holes at the top of his paper and thread with a length of string or ribbon. After tying the ends, his finished fall leaf project can be hung in the house to enjoy! And, he can make many, many more! They make great fall gifts!

© Sarah Lipoff 2010