With October in full swing, the leaves are starting to show their last colors while the peaks are already snow capped. If you want to hold on to fall a little longer and need an idea what to do with all the leaves on the ground, this project is for you! Go on nature walks, observe the changing seasons and pick the last leaves! Our toddlers loved collecting and arranging their leaves on the sticky paper, and mommies and daddies will love hanging these suncatchers in their windows!
- Sticky paper roll
- Transparency sketch paper roll
- Leaves and sticks (we also used some colored leaves from our Spin Art Mixed Media Wall Hangings)
- Tissue paper shapes
- Collage materials (Scrap paper, scrap felt shapes, paper craft punches, feathers, glitter in shakers etc.)
- Hot glue
Step 1: Set up
Prepare your craft table or trays ahead of time. Tape down a contact paper for each child. Place sticky side up, tape down the corners and carefully remove foil to reveal the sticky side. Let the children sort the leaves into different shapes and colors (simply set out containers with a pile of leaves and I bet some of the children come over and start to sort the leaves). Place the leaves on the table. On another table set out scrap papers, paper craft punches, scissors and the other collage materials.
Step 2: Arrange leaves
Invite the children to join you at the table. Show how to place a leaf on the contact paper by simply sticking it down on it.
Step 3: Collage
Invite the children to use the other collage materials for their suncatchers as well. Hand out small bowls or containers with which the children can collect the materials of their choice. Show how they can use the paper craft punches or cut scrap paper or shake glitter etc. to add to their suncatchers.
Working and learning with different age groups
Children learn at their own pace and search what interests them within each project which often differs for the different ages. Open ended art projects like this lend themselves perfectly for working with different age groups and leave room for further exploration guided by the children’s interests. E.g. the younger children liked cutting papers and simply enjoyed the sensory feedback of sticking the leaves and other various materials on the contact paper (“I can crumble my tissue paper and it still sticks to the paper!”) which we extended with more contact paper collages on the window:
While the younger children seemed most intrigued by the sticky contact paper surface, most of the 4 year old children were more interested in arranging their leaves in lines, creating patterns with their materials and embellished their sun catchers with pens and symmetrical designs. Picking up on their interest, we continued exploring patterns throughout the day… making ‘AB’ and ‘ABC’ and ‘AABB’ patterns with our leaves, different colored markers and wood shapes (taking turns with: “Let’s see if you can figure out what pattern I make/continue the pattern I make!)”. We also had fun clapping listening patterns and learned that patterns are things arranged following a rule and repeating themselves:
Another nice thing about working with mixed age groups is that the children are learning to care, help and cooperate with each other. Older children grow more patient and tolerant and get a chance to practice being responsible leaders who get to help the younger children while the younger children get to be more independent from adults and learn social behaviors through watching the older children.
Step 4: Cover and attach a hanger
When the children are done with their collage, cover the contact paper with a sheet of transparency paper. Hot glue a hanger to it (we used sticks) and knot a thread on both ends to hang the suncatchers in the window.