Mother Nature releases her inner artiste in the fall as she paints leaves orange, yellow, and red. Not only is fall a beautiful time to get out and take in all the colors, it’s also a great time of year to take a moment and do a little family bonding. You can extend the fall family fun beyond just peeking at the leaves. Here’s seven leaf activities you can do with your kids this fall in Des Moines.
When I was in 7th Grade, one of our science projects for the year was to collect and identify leaves. You can also do this as a fun family project. The Iowa DNR and ISU Extension both have tons of information about forestry, conservation and identifying native trees and leaves. ISU Extension even has an Interactive Tree Identification Key. Another option to help you i.d. trees when you’re out, is to download this PDF Hardwood Trees of Iowa, print it out and take it along with you on your next leaf identification adventure.
Go on a Leaf Scavenger Hunt
Leaf scavenger hunts are lots of fun and can be done as an after school activity, as a family activity on a hike or on a weekend trip to Grandma’s. You can challenge your kiddos to find leaves of different colors, from different trees or even ones that resemble an object. KC Edventures has some great printable leaf cards that you can print out and take along on your next leaf peeping outing.
Find and collect a variety of leaves in your yard or when you’re on a hike or driving around looking at leaves. Place a sheet of paper over each leaf and rub with the long side of a crayon, pastels or a pencil. Your little leaf archaeologist will love seeing the shape and details of each leaf come alive.
Create Some Leaf Art
My daughter loves to collect things and then use them to make all sorts of artwork. Just doing a quick Google search or by taking a quick look at Pinterest you can find tons of great ideas for turning leaves into some great arts and crafts projects. A particularly good list of leaf crafts is 35 Leaf Craft Ideas over on Red Ted Art.
Another fun activity from childhood. You can place found leaves on paper towels or newspaper and then lay books on top of them to press them flat. Some other fun alternatives – older kids can place leaves between sheets of waxed paper and then iron them together. The waxed paper will be hot after pressing, so be sure to let leaves cool before using. Once your pressed leaves are cool you can trim around the edges of the waxed paper. Younger kids can do something similar by using clear contact paper and skipping the iron.
Jump in Them!
What would fall be without a big pile of leaves? Of course, you gotta rake them up in a pile and jump in them and throw them in the air! I’ve also seen some fun ideas where people have raked them into mazes and obstacle courses for the kids to run through.
What’s your family’s favorite fall leaf activities? Share with us in the comments!