Autumn leaf crafts - simple ideas and activities for kids
Crunchy. Crackly. Colourful. Beautiful leaves are one of my favourite things about autumn. As soon as they start drifting down from the trees my daughter and I can't wait to grab a handful and get creative with them.
Here are some of our favourite leaf crafts to try with your kids this autumn.
If you try any of these activities in the woods, please remember to take any craft materials home with you to help us protect the natural environment.
Some animals are hard to spot when you're out exploring, but you can make your own forest friends using fallen leaves. Look for leaves shaped like a hedgehog's snout, an owl's feather, a squirrel's bushy tail or a fox's face, then build up a picture. Use acorns and conkers for eyes and noses.
We make golden leaf crowns every year. It's an ideal activity for youngsters who like to pretend they are a prince or princess. You simply gather some fallen leaves, stick them to a strip of card and fasten it around your child's head. You can even add berries, acorn cups or small conkers as jewels.
This craft is an oldie but a goodie. Lay out some leaves on a table with the veins facing up and put a sheet of paper over the top. Using the side of a crayon, colour over the leaves until you can see the shapes and patterns emerge. Try to get all the details like the veins and crinkly edges.
Credit: Danielle Wesley / WTML
This craft is another favourite in our family - it's brilliant fun. Gather natural bits and bobs then use them to make silly faces with leafy hair, helicopter seed moustaches or berry mouths. You could make a happy face, a surprised face, or a sleepy face. Try making a self-portrait or create a whole family of funny faces!
This makes a great autumnal decoration for your child’s room. Choose an interesting stick and gather some colourful leaves. You can also collect pine cones, feathers and other natural objects that catch your child’s eye. Tie each item to the stick, then hang the mobile up so your child can enjoy it.
If your kids love playing superheroes they'll really enjoy collecting natural treasures to make their own leafy masks. Simply cut out mask shapes from card and snip out eye holes. Then stick their leaves to the card and attach some ribbon so they can wear them.
Flash! Bang! As we get closer to Bonfire Night this is a fun activity to do with excited youngsters. Gather the brightest leaves you can find and arrange them in explosive patterns on the ground. You can even build a stick bonfire and poke fiery leaves in it to look like flickering flames.
Printing with leaves is a fun way to make an autumn painting. You can make all sorts of interesting patterns and you can even turn them into cards to give to family and friends.
First, head outside and hunt for freshly-fallen leaves. Look for different shapes and sizes – flat leaves are better as it's tricky to get a clear print from curled up ones. Now you're ready to paint. Choose seasonal colours like yellow, orange and red. Paint the bumpy side of the leaf (look for the raised veins) and press it firmly onto some paper. Gently peel the leaf away to reveal colourful prints.
Credit: Sam Oxford-Dean / WTML
Giant leaf letters
This is a lovely activity to do with little ones who are learning their letters. Grab some sticks and make an outline of the first letter of their name. Then help them gather fallen leaves, sticks, seeds and feathers to fill it in.
Credit: Sam Oxford-Dean / WTML
Leafy autumn wreath
If you like seasonal decorations have a go making this leafy wreath at home. First, help your kids cut out a thick circle of card. You can leave it plain or paint it an autumnal colour - we used orange. Then stick some autumn leaves on the top (we pressed ours between some heavy books for a couple of days to help flatten them out). You can keep it quite simple or layer up lots and lots of leaves. When the glue has dried, hang up your wreath in your home with a piece of ribbon.
Right, we're off to collect some golden leaves to adorn our leaf crowns but I hope these activities have given you some ideas for autumn fun. If you’ve enjoyed these seasonal crafts, take a look at our family membership for things to do all year round. When you become members we’ll send you activities through the post every season to help you and your children learn more about wildlife. You’ll also receive a welcome box to get you started, including a guide to all our woods and a pocket-sized leaf ID book – perfect for identifying trees when you’re out and about.