We've changed how we provide Nature Detectives activities for children.

Read our blog to find out more.

Trees are turning gorgeous tones of yellow, orange and red right now. It's a beautiful sight! Once they've fallen to the ground, the colourful leaves become fantastic natural resources that you can use in autumn crafts. 

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 paper, glue or other craft materials home with you to help us protect the natural environment.

1. Leaf animal pictures

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. You can use acorns and conkers for eyes and noses too.

2. Leaf printing

Printing with leaves is a creative way to make an autumn painting. Youngsters can experiment with leaves of different shapes and sizes and make all sorts of interesting patterns. You can even make cards to send to family and friends.

First, head outside and hunt for freshly-fallen leaves. (Flat ones 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.

3. Leaf rubbings

Autumn is the ideal time to make leaf rubbings as there are so many fallen leaves around. They come in many shapes, sizes, colours and textures - encourage your kids to study the leaves they find and compare them with leaves from different trees. Can they spot similarities and differences?

At home, lay your 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 see the shapes and patterns magically emerge! Try to get all the details like the veins and crinkly edges.

4. Autumn wreath

If you like seasonal decorations, have a go making this leafy wreath for your home. Older children will enjoy the challenge of weaving thin, bendy sticks together to make the base of the wreath. They can then get creative and add natural items like colourful leaves, seeds or feathers to make it really unique.

For younger children, a ring of card is easier than weaving twigs together. You can leave the card plain or paint it an autumnal colour, then stick some fallen leaves to it. Keep it simple with just a handful of leaves, or layer lots of leaves on top of each other. When the glue has dried, hang up your wreath with a piece of ribbon.

5. Leaf crowns

I make golden leaf crowns with my daughter every year. It's a lovely activity we enjoy doing together and she adores wearing her crown as she roams the woods.

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!

6. Leaf mobile

This leafy nature mobile makes a fantastic decoration for a 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. Help them tie each item to the stick, then hang the mobile up so your child can enjoy it.

7. Superhero leaf masks

Do your kids love superheroes? If so, they'll really enjoy collecting natural treasures to make their own leafy face masks.

To begin, cut a mask shape from some card and snip out eye holes. Then stick colourful leaves to the card and attach some ribbon so you can fasten it around your child's head. They're perfect for playing superheroes out in the woods!

8. Leaf faces

This craft is another favourite in our family - it makes us all laugh a lot. 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!

9. Leaf fireworks

Bonfire Night may be a bit different this year, but you can still celebrate with this colourful craft. Gather the brightest leaves you can find and arrange them in patterns on the ground so they look like exploding fireworks. You can even build a pretend bonfire out of sticks and poke fiery leaves in it to look like flickering flames. 

10. Giant leaf letters

This activity is lovely for little ones who are learning their letters, and it's a fun way to take literacy outside. 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.

11. Leaf rainbow

Rainbows have become a symbol of hope for all of us this year. So have a go at making one with your kids using autumn leaves.

Can you find vivid reds, bright oranges, sunny yellows, gorgeous greens and deep purples? Once you've gathered your leaves, lay them out in a semi-circle on the ground to make a cheerful rainbow. When you've finished, why not take a photo and send it to friends or family to brighten their day?

Inspire young nature lovers

If you and your kids have enjoyed these seasonal crafts, take a look at our family membership for things to do all year round.

When you join, we’ll send your children activities through the post every season to help them learn more about trees and wildlife. Your family will 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.

Family exploring a wood together

Pass your love of trees onto your children

Discover amazing woods and wildlife when you become family members. We’ll also send you a handy tree ID guide so you can learn more together.

Join as a family