Fall leaf hunt/leaf rubbings

I’ve read several articles recently on how important it is for children to spend time outdoors and connect with nature.  It seems obvious, but it is easy to get so wrapped up in activities that you spend your days in the car rather than out in the fresh air.  Playing outside is not only invaluable for your children’s physical and mental health, it’s absolutely free. 

This afternoon, we took a “leaf walk”.  We just walked around the block, but it would be a great excuse to take your kids to the arboretum, to a nature reserve, or just out in the country.  A paper bag was a perfect receptacle for the leaves we found.  I asked the kids to find as many different kinds of leaves as they could.  We picked up the ones that were not too dried out, so they’d be pliable for rubbing or pressing.  I was amazed how many types of trees we found in a small area.

Tracing paper works the best for doing leaf rubbings.  I found some at Walgreens that was not expensive.  We peeled the paper off of some crayons and went to work.  Place the leaves under the paper, one at a time, and rub the flat side of a crayon against the paper that covers the leaf.  It helps to hold the stem through the paper and rub in one direction.  My two-year old had a hard time with it, so I helped her.  She loved picking up leaves!

You can also have your children dry beautiful leaves by putting them between sheets of waxed paper in a heavy book.  If you don’t care about the book, you can skip the waxed paper.  They’ll be dry in a week or two.

Leaf rubbings and dried leaves are a great addition to any science notebook.  There are several websites that will help your children identify what kind of tree each leaf comes from, if they are interested.  One I found was www.oplin.org/tree.  Your child might enjoy checking out a book on trees from the library too.  As my wise Grandma would always say, “Get those kids outside!”

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