This printmaking process promotes self-discovery, fine motor skill development, and is a great visual example of cause and effect.
Step outside and breathe in the cool fresh air, smell that pumpkin spice, and surround yourself with an array of autumnal colors. The autumn season is sure to inspire creativity with its abundance of natural beauty and treasures from pumpkins and apples to acorns and leaves, and it’s wonderful time to explore a fall leaf theme.
Today we’ll be printing with leaves in a colorful process art activity that is sure to engage and excite young learners. It combines Art with Science and gets children outside exploring nature.
Print and Create: Fall Leaves Art Project for Kids
GET A FULL WEEK OF FALL THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE FALL PRESCHOOL LESSON PLANS.
Materials for this Fall Leaves Art Project:
- Watercolor paint set
- Small container
- Watercolor paper
Process Art and Printing
Process Art focuses on the “making” and the “creating” rather than the finished product. Printing is essentially using art materials to make a copy of something. This activity will enable children to discover the “how” and “why” of the printmaking process.
Each print tells a story and is a visual reminder of what was once present. Results will vary and that’s okay! Each print will be unique and one of a kind!
Some prints will be more distinctive than others depending on a variety of variables including the types of leaves you used, the paint colors chosen, the amount of water used and how secure the leaf stuck to the paper. The printing process can often be rewarding and magical for children while also promoting patience.
Step by Step Directions:
1. Collect the Leaves!
Take a walk outside and collect a variety of leaves. Be sure to choose different sizes, shapes, and colors. Soak the leaves in water.
2. Let’s Paint!
Begin to paint your paper with watercolors. I like to use Crayola Artista II Watercolors.
Note: I do not recommend using washable watercolor paint. This tends to create a less vivid result and weaker prints.
After you paint each area lay a wet leaf onto the paper. The leaf will stick into place. The goal is to have each leaf flat and secure to the paper.
3. Let’s Paint Again!
Now that the leaves are secured to the paper, paint each leaf a contrasting or different color than you used the first time around.
Be certain to paint the edges of each leaf including the area directly around each leaf.
4. The Big Reveal!
Let the leaves and paint dry. Next, peel off each leaf to reveal the leaf print. Some leaves will pop off on their own during the drying process.
Leaves can be saved and used for additional prints.
After this art activity is complete, mix up the leaves that were used in the printing process and have your child identify each one’s print. This can be a fun matching activity and is similar to fitting pieces of a puzzle together.
Art & Science
- Identify the types of leaves you collected.
- Use a magnifying glass to discover the veins in each leaf.
- Sort the leaves into like colors, sizes, and shapes.
- Are the leaves symmetrical?
- Why do the leaves change colors?
- Why did the leaves fall off the tree?
I hope your child finds this printmaking activity exciting! They can make print after print with various results and effects in this printing fall leaves art project!
MORE FALL LEAF ART INSPIRATION: 24 creative fall leaf art project ideas for kids!
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PRINTABLE FALL THEME LESSON PLANS
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
Explore the signs and symbols of fall with hands-on activities and fully developed fall theme lesson plans. Watch this short video to see just a few examples of the types of activities and printables included in this set:
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Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.