Painting with leaves is a creative way for toddlers and preschoolers to learn about fall leaves and fall colours through an open-ended, gross-motor art activity.
Leaf painting is a wonderful art activity for toddlers and preschoolers to do as a group at daycare or preschool or to do solo at home.
Great art activity for toddlers and preschoolers
An open-ended art activity like this provides lots of fun and learning for younger children.
It allows kids to:
- stand and move their bodies while creating their art
- utilize large motor skills (hands and arms) rather than fine motor skills
- learn about leaf shapes and fall colours
- make observations about colour blending
- observe the different tracks their leaves make as they’re swished and tapped on the paper
Recently, the preschoolers in my daycare made fall leaf prints, which involved painting ON leaves, but for today’s leaf painting activity, we’re painting WITH leaves, using bunches of artificial fall leaves as our paintbrushes.
It’s fun to paint with unusual items
Kids love to experiment with different “tools” when they’re making art.
We often use items from around the house to make prints and paintings with, and we love making art with items found in nature. It’s a great way for kids to examine these items up close, and to exercise their creativity with them.
I want to thank Kirsten from The Willow Tree Home Daycare for this preschool art idea. She recently shared this terrific activity in my private Childcare Providers Facebook group, and gave me permission to share it with you here on my blog.
Kirsten’s daycare kids did their leaf painting as a follow-up activity after reading a book about fall leaves. If you’d like to do the same, here are few fall books that you can pair with your leaf painting activity.
Fall books to pair with a preschool fall leaf activity:
Ok! Let’s paint with leaves!
Supplies needed for this fall leaf art activity
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How to do your leaf painting activity:
Start by covering your work surface with a large piece of paper for the kids to paint on. If you don’t have a large sheet of paper, a dollar store table cloth or shower curtain will work for a large art activity like this.
Next, ask the kids what colours of paint they think they’ll need to create a fall coloured painting.
Drizzle your paint all over the piece of paper and hand out the bunches of artificial leaves.
Now, let the kids go to town swishing and swiping the paint all over the paper.
As the children swish the leaves through the paint, have them observe the changes in the colours as they blend together.
They may notice that the paint turns orange when red and yellow are blended together, or brown as the red and green paints mix.
Suggest that they experiment with different movements, for example, scrubbing and tapping, to see what kinds of marks will result.
Encourage them to observe what happens if they scrub fast, or tap hard or trail their leaves lightly through the paint. This will encourage them to get creative with their mark-making and to pay attention to how the marks change when make different movements.
When they’re finished and the paint has dried, you’ll have a lovely piece of fall art to hang on the wall or to use as a piece of kid-made, custom gift-wrap.
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.