Time for Art: Leaf Rubbing

Our leaves started falling already… I swear I am surprised every year by how early I start to see the color change and leaves falling! I can’t say I mind I’m always eager for the cooler weather, the coming holidays and special times, and also the nostalgia of being the season that I fell in love with my husband and then had my first baby…

…Sorry, I didn’t mean to get so sappy…

If you love fall like me, or even if you don’t, take this chance to go on a nature walk or scavenger hunt of sorts, to search for falling leaves to use for an art rubbing. I like nature walks in the changing seasons- spring and fall- because there is soooo000 much to talk about! Weather changes, leaves changing and falling, and the animals are even busier- probably storing up food for the winter. Be on the look out for Mr. Squirrel in your backyard!

You could go on a walk in a park or at a nearby lake, or even just in your neighborhood! We just walked around our house and collected interesting leaves and talked about the changes we saw and collected some good leaves. We’ll definitely go on more nature walks this time of year to see how things have changed since the last one.

Once we were done exploring and ready for some art, I taped all of the leaves on the back to keep it easier to handle. Even though we did something similar a few weeks ago in the summer plan, I still reminded my son the best way to hold the crayon to see the imprint of the leaves coming through.

If your child is younger this is completely about experimentation. Experimenting with the crayon and what happens when they try to go over the paper. They might have some of the leaf imprint come through. The older your child is, the more they will grasp what is happening and what they can do to see the leaf shape. No matter their age make sure you are active along side them describing what you see happening, what leaves you see, and I even turned the page over occasionally to remind my son what the original leaf looked like.


Let’s talk more specifically about what is going on in this activity:

Art: There isn’t a ton of variation and creative expression to go on in this activity, like we look for in other art activities. But, this activity offers new experimentation with art materials, and it’s exciting because as each leaf is revealed it’s almost like a magical mystery is being unveiled to your child! I would recommend demonstrating how to do it, but then letting your child have freedom to explore.


Fine motor: This is a great way to change up the typical crayon or pencil hold to work those fine motor muscles. Try holding a pen how you usually would, and then turn it on it’s side like you would hold the crayon to do a rubbing. Do you feel the difference? It’s slight to us, but I believe it is beneficial to your little one’s developing muscles. Plus, it’s always fun to change things up and be a little different!


Communication: With toddlers and preschoolers no matter what the activity is communication is such a huge part. I don’t always talk about it because, well, you’d get sick of me talking about communication all of the times it could come up! But really capitalize on talking about what you see coming through as your child colors over the paper. Describe the leaves using descriptive language and connect it back to your child and his/her experiences, “That leaf is the narrow one we found in the front yard! Do you see the long stem and all of the veins in the leaf?” or “Now, the little red maple leaf is coming through on your paper. That is from the tree in the backyard by your swingset, the one that is losing all of it’s leaves.” Also, describe the process, “I see you are using the tip of your blue crayon to color. Try turning it back on it’s side so that we can see all of the leaves. See, like this. Oh look, now we are seeing the leaves on the back!” Through communicating what we see happening we are giving more meaning to the activity, increasing your child’s word bank (it will be growing in time, even if they aren’t using those words), and making the activity more interesting!


Happy Playing!



Time for Art: Nature Rubbing

Now I know why my kids insist on removing all of the paper from our crayons… they were eagerly awaiting this nature rubbing activity! We literally have a bag full of “skinless” crayons.

Skinless crayons… that term kind of grosses me out, but it gets the idea across!


So we were set on the crayons! And they did seem to genuinely enjoy running around the yard checking out the textures of different objects.

And of course there’s always a little distraction experimentation, right?!


With a 1 0r 2 year old I would demonstrate how to do it. Lead them to some good surfaces to try on their own, and then emphasize seeing the texture on the paper as well as feeling the textures with their fingers. That way they are getting to match what they see on their creation to what they feel with their hand. And, of course help give them the names to label those textures (bumpy, smooth, rough, etc).

With an older 2, 3 & 4 I recommend demonstrating, pointing out how different textures make different marks on the paper, and then really letting them experiment. They will gain the most from the activity if it can be a trial and error experimental experience.


Let’s talk about what’s going on in this activity:

Art Processes: This activity offers a little twist on classic coloring by turning the color on it’s side. Doing this allows your child to just get a little different perspective on ways to use a crayon.


Fine motor: Turning the crayon on it’s side also uses different muscles than the traditional “pencil” hold.

Figuring out how to hold the crayon the new way is kind of tricky!


Sensory: I’ve said this before, but sensory activities aren’t just those that take place in a water table. Sensory is really just using our 5 senses to experience something. In this case, your child can connect the textures they feel to the pattern they see on their paper!


Communication: The sky is the limit… literally if you are outside! Be sure to give your kids new words with lot’s of description of colors, textures, things you see, smell and feel. Ask questions and get them thinking about new concepts.

Give this activity a try this week! For instructions and materials list go to Summer Week 12

Happy Playing!


Time For Art: Fruit and Veggie Stamps

IMG_0243When we think of art it’s easy to think of some of the obvious mediums: painting with a paintbrush, coloring with markers or crayons, finger painting… those are great and fun ways to do art, but I try to keep art activities varied and include things like collages, stamping, printing, doing texture rubbings, and sometimes crafts or seasonal decorations. Today we used our leftover fruit from last weeks sensory fruit and veggie activity to make fruit and veggie stamps.

I cut the veggies up in ways that my kids would be able to pick them up, but also ways that it made sense to stamp with them. Oh! If you are worried about wasting veggies, I recommend just cutting off parts that you wouldn’t necessarily eat for the stamp part (like the bottom and top of an apple, or the ends of a carrot), and use the other parts for a snack later. Here’s what we ended up with.


That apple does not look very delicious to me… but if you wanted to just use part of it for stamping and the other part for eating, I would save the middle sections for eating and the top and bottom for stamping. Cut out the core, and smear on some peanut butter or other nut butter! Yum! Also, we used the tips of the carrots for a small round stamp and cut the middle part up into carrot sticks for a snack for later.

I let my son pick out his colors, I demonstrated a couple of “stamps” with one of the apple sections, and then I let him go for it. He loved it!


Let’s talk about what’s going on here:

Fine motor: Grasping the fruit and veggie stamps will give your child’s forearm and little hand muscles a great little workout!


Colors: I know this one is pretty obvious! But what a great chance to label colors, let your child pick their favorites, and see if any new colors emerge as the paint inevitably mixes together.


Sensory: Not only is your child getting to feel those fruits and veggies from last weeks activity again, but also the texture of the paint on their hands. Some kids really don’t like to be messy, that’s ok. Have a wet cloth nearby at the beginning of the activity to wipe them up if it starts to bother them.


Art: Of course, even with a different medium to paint, this is still an art activity. Their brain is noticing what happens when they use different shapes, what it looks like when they put two shapes together on the paper, and what happens when colors mix.


Have fun and happy playing!