Leaf Art: Projects To Get Your Students Outdoors

Hello! Happy New Year & Welcome back. I hope your Christmas holidays were as care free as mine were. I was actually so not ready to go back to work, but hey. Don’t we all we feel that way?

To start off the new year, I wanted to get stuck into a lovely nature project. A new year is parallel to new beginnings, fresh starts and reconnecting to myself and my surroundings. So I thought what better than to have all my classes experiment with different types of leaf art. Leaves to me represent fresh life.

Year 2

I took my Year 2’s out on a leaf hunt to collect 6-8 leaves. They were to collect 2-4 pairs of leaves that could be ‘twins’. They absolutely loved going outside and showing me all the leaves they found.

Before we sat down to start making, I supplied them with the motto “New Year, New Me” and then showed them the animated story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Then they arranged them on card stock in the shape of a butterfly. I emphasised that butterflies are symmetrical on both sides. Love sliding in some new vocab!


Year 3

For this particular project. I sent my year 3’s outdoors to collect 3 different types of leaves.


They came back and traced around the leaves onto card stock and cut out the shapes.

They used these shapes as templates to draw random leaf shapes all over the 12″x 18″ page.

I gave them some oil pastels and crayons to draw and colour their leave projects.


Once they were satisfied with their designs they used watercolour paint to finish it off. The wax crayons and oil pastels will resist the watercolour paint, and ensue a load of “oohs” and “ahhs” from the children.

I love how these turned out. Don’t you?

Year 4

Year 4’s got to use chalk to create beautiful leaf silhouettes. They just ran chalk on the outer edge of their card stock cut-outs with chalk and then finger smudged outwardly on the page.

Year 5

I like to test out projects with different age groups, so I approached the year 3 project with my year 5’s but approached this a little differently. Instead we used a lot more crayons and were allowed coloured pencils and felt tip pens. They used acrylic paint to accent their designs instead of watercolour.

Year 6

My year sixes created beautiful leaf reliefs with just foil and acrylic! And leaves of course. I took them out on a leave hunt, they were to pick up a few flat and broad leaves. We glued them flat down onto some card board, covered the entire thing with glue and carefully placed foil over the top. Burnishing with felt patches work great to bring out the textures of the leaves. We sponge painted the foil with black acrylic and let it dry. Once dried, I cut up kitchen sponges, the kind with the green rough part on the bottom and cut them up into little squares. We used that rough patch to gently scrub over the leave imprints. The results were fantastic! Some kids  scrubbed too hard and broke the foil exposing the leaf! So emphasise the word gently. 

What Leaf Art Projects have you tried?


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