Fall Craft for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Leaf Sun Catcher

Are you starting to think of fall yet? We are! Since there were just a handful of you reading this blog last year during the fall, I’ll be sharing a few our our fall crafts from last year over the next couple of weeks…in addition to some new fun! This easy leaf suncatcher craft turned out so pretty, and it’s a craft kids of all ages can do together.

Fall Leaf Suncatcher

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Cut out two sheets of clear contact paper per child. Check to make sure the sheets are small enough to fit in the location where the suncatchers will hang. I have definitely made the mistake of making the suncatchers too big for our hanging spot before, so I remembered to check first this time!

Cut squares of fall colored tissue paper. You could also have kids tear their own pieces to incorporate additional fine motor practice. We used red, orange, and yellow, but you could use any mixture of colors.

Peel the back off of one sheet of the contact paper. Tape one sheet sticky side up onto each child’s work surface. This alone is fun for the kids to play with! They all sat happily sticking and releasing their fingers for some time before I gave them the tissue paper.

Pass out the tissue paper and encourage the kids to cover the whole sheet with paper in any way they would like to. Pinching the tissue paper between their fingers and placing it onto the contact paper is great fine motor practice.

Get Started

The big kids eagerly got to work.

Tissue paper sticky table

I helped Tinker get started. She wanted to put the pieces on and then pull them off like she did with her finger, so she was a bit skeptical of the project at first. After a little experimenting she was also ready to go.

Toddler Fall Craft

While they worked, I showed the kids some leaf shapes from the books we have been reading. They chose three different leaf shapes, and I sketched one each on pieces of construction paper folded in half. By folding the paper in half and tracing one whole leaf I could cut out both the front and the back of the suncatcher at once. I saved the outline of each leaf (the paper that would usually be discarded) to use as a tracer later.

Next to make the hole in the middle of each leaf I kept both the front and the back parts together and folded them in half. I cut along the inside of the pattern of the leaf making about a half-inch frame. Cutting both pieces at the same time helps make sure the frames match up nicely.

Once the kids finished adding all of their tissue paper, we removed the backing from the second piece of contact paper and the kids helped smooth it out on top of their tissue paper.

Then we laid the outline that I saved on top of the tissue paper and together we traced the outline of the leaf on the contact paper. This helped make sure the inside of the suncatcher was just the right size.

I also helped the kids cut around that outline and glue it in between the front and back leaf frames. To make our leaves resemble the real leaves we had collected each child chose a pair of decorative edged scissors, and I cut around their leaves for them this time.

Fall Craft

Leaf Suncatcher

Fall Leaf Craft

The explanation may be lengthy because I wanted to describe all of the steps in detail, but the whole project only took about 20 minutes. Well worth it, because our finished leaf suncatchers look beautiful hanging in our windows! You can also check out these pretty suncatchers from Learn Create Love. They inspired our project.

Do you like to make suncatchers with your kids? Do you have any tips to share?

Printable Leaf Theme Lesson Plans

Are you teaching a leaf-inspired theme soon?

Check out our leaf theme lesson plans. This printable pack is full of hands-on learning activities that include reading, math, science, fine motor activities, sensory play, and more. In addition to full-day and half-day lesson plans, the pack also includes book recommendations, idependent center options, and a skills checklist. You also get an I See Fall Leaves printable emergent reader, printable Leaf Numbers 1-30, and a Leaf Observation Recording Sheet to use during your leaf theme.

Leaves Lesson Plans for Preschool at Home


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This post was originally published on October 29, 2012.

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  1. Thanks for the idea. I will give this a try with butterflies and flowers for spring!

  2. Shaunna

    What a great Autumn craft idea to do with little ones, I love how it catches the light and makes the colours really glow. It is such a great idea I have reposted in my list of top 10 Autumn craft activities to do with children.

  3. Melissa Landa says:

    I love these! I’m going to do this with my daughter and niece next week. Where did you get the template for your leaves? I really like them, please share!

  4. Suzanne says:

    The article is great, thank you, but the teacher is me wants to point out that the correct spelling of “Peal the back off ” is “Peel the back off”.

  5. Love sun catchers, we have a big sliding glass door in our playroom and the kids love to decorate it with suncatchers each season. It was so great meeting you today at the #weteach event, Shaunna, hope we can meet again!

    • I love sun catchers too! And window markers on the big windows always seem to brighten our days. So glad we had the chance to meet IRL. Maybe we’ll see each other at some blogging events in the area!

  6. What a fun (and pretty) fall craft! I featured this as one of my favorites from the Hearts for Home Blog Hop. Stop by and grab your “I was featured” button. Congrats! and thanks for linking up! 🙂

  7. Sun catchers is a real favourite activity around here! I love those gorgeous fall colours against the window, the kids must be thrilled with their efforts. I am featuring this post on my Kids Co-Op post this week at Triple T Mum!

  8. Very cute fall craft! Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

  9. Your leaves look so beautiful with the sun shining through them.

    • Thank you, Sandi! Suncatchers always make me smile, and the colors in these ones make the sunlight so pretty.

  10. These leaf catchers are great. I definitely need to get some contact paper to do some activities like this with my little guys.

    • Thanks! Yes, definitely grab some. There are tons of possibilities for shapes and different themes, and it is a project that is easy to do with different age groups.

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