We absolutely love Autumn and the colorful leaves that come with it! Here is a fun craft that you can do with your little ones to celebrate the season. We’ve adapted this activity to various holidays or themes throughout the year – hearts, snowflakes, butterflies, bats, etc. It’s a beautiful craft that also allows you to explore more complex topics, such as absorption and chromatography, with your child!
This activity only requires three basic supplies: coffee filters, markers, and water.
Since we were making leaves, I decided to use leaf cookie cutters as templates, but you can freehand them as well! The pipettes are also optional. We tried both dipping and using the pipettes, which you can read more about below.
First, you will need to cut your coffee filters into leaf shapes. I stacked four filters and traced each leaf, giving us eight leaves total.
Then you can let your child draw “doughnuts” with markers in the center of each leaf. If your child is younger, draw a small oval and have them trace around it until there is a thicker doughnut shape.
Fold each leaf in half, then in half again, and then one more time. It will create a little cone, with the center of each “doughnut” at the tip. At this point you can either add a few drops of water to the tip with a pipette or dip the tip of the cone into a small bowl of water. Our leaves were pretty tiny, so we discovered that dipping them was easiest for this shape. Be sure to only place the tip in the water and remove it after a few seconds.
You can leave them folded to dry or open them up. We have done it both ways. As your leaves begin to dry, the marker will spread to the edges and separate into various colors! This is where the concept of chromatography can be introduced.
Once the leaves were dry, we looked up leaf shapes in our nature books and identified which two trees we had created leaves from.
This a simple activity with very little prep, but little ones love seeing how the colors spread and change. It also makes for beautiful seasonal decorations around your home!
Save it for later!