October 9, 2011

Kid Tracks: Leaves preserve memories of fall outings

By Wendy Almeida walmeida@mainetoday.com
Assistant News Editor/Features

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Crayon rubbings of leaves, like this one of a hornbeam leaf, can be part of a tree identification project.

Wendy Almeida photo

A friend of mine encouraged her kids to press down on the leaf with a paper plate. The kids reported much better impressions of their leaves that way than using hands-only pressure.

Another way to make a leaf impression is to put fabric dye in a spray bottle, place leaves on fabric and spray the dye over the leaves.

Let the dye dry for at least 10 to 15 minutes before removing the leaves to ensure you don't blur the edges.

It's a great variation on tie-dyeing, but it's messy, so dress the kids accordingly.

Collecting two thick sticks and affixing the fabric to them like a scroll offers a festive, natural fall display.

Leaf ID notebook: Encouraging kids to start a leaf-collecting notebook not only helps them organize their collections each season, it minimizes the space needed to display them in your house.

My kids made their own collection notebooks by folding pieces of white paper and sewing the left edge with embroidery floss to make a simple binding.

They put each collected leaf on its own page. They can choose to use the wax paper method to preserve the leaf, make a rubbing or just glue it in as it is.

The key to using an untreated leaf is to make sure the notebook is placed under a heavy book overnight to keep the leaf from curling while it's drying.

As my kids got older, I encouraged them to write in the type of tree the leaf came from, using our tree identification book, as well as the place they found the leaf. It has been a great way to practice their tree ID skills and reminisce about our hikes together.

No matter the method you use to collect and display fall leaves, this time of year offers plenty of creativity and learning. Leaf collection is a simple and wonderful way to help your child explore the natural environment.

Staff Writer Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 791-6334 or at:

Twitter: RaisingMaine


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