Colorful leaf placemats are a great way to get crafting with your kids, while teaching them about the changes that occur during fall. Here’s a simple how to, that’s bound to keep the little ones busy for a while!
Step 1: Go for a nature walk.
Get on a jacket and head outdoors! Have the kids collect some colorful leaves of all shapes and sizes, and place them in a large Ziploc or lunch bag. While on your nature walk, don’t forget to use this opportunity to take advantage of a teaching moment. You could talk about photosynthesis and why the leaves turn colors during the fall, or you could talk about the different habitats and how the animals prepare for the upcoming winter.
Step 2: Assemble your placemat.
Once inside and you’re all toasty and warm, possibly from a cup of cocoa, get ready to assemble the placemat. Unroll the contact paper and secure it to the table sticky side or backing side up with a piece of tape. Carefully remove the backing to the desired length, cut to size, and have your child begin arranging the leaves in a pattern of their choosing. Remember to place things face down as you will be flipping this finished project over. This is a great time to get really creative. You can use photos of them playing in a pile of leaves, school pictures, or any other favorite photos or drawings. For a splash of additional color, add a sheet of construction paper on top of the whole thing, so when it’s flipped over, you can see the color through the leaves.
Step 3: Complete and cut your placemat.
After everything is assembled the way your child wants, carefully place another sheet of contact paper on top of their creation. Gently but firmly press slowly to secure and remove any air bubbles. At this point you can continue to embellish if desired. You would be amazed at what a little hole puncher, some colorful ribbon or yarn, and even beads can do to dress it up. Get creative! Flip it over and enjoy their new placemat! Contact paper is not water submersible, but will wipe clean with a damp cloth. I’m sure your children will love to keep these placemats and use them throughout the season. Who knows, it may even become and autumn tradition in your family as it is in mine!