Art Meets Nature: Leaf Painting

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This post is sponsored by Oak Meadow! Check them out for nature centered, fun curriculum!

We are finally getting settled into our new home, which means school is back in session at the Aliano house! We tend to homeschool year-around — in a very loose sense. We work harder in quiet seasons and take breaks when we need to (like when Mama has surgery or we need to move across the country). The ebb and flow works for us most of the time. We’ve had quite a few breaks this spring and summer, so I am ready to get into the routine of working with the kids.

Using Oak Meadow for so many years has taught me the power of a daily routine with the kids. When I start the day with our routine, with some music and chores, then some “circle time” together, things go so much more smoothly. I am hoping that the familiar routine will help all of the kids feel more at home here, and we can all feel more grounded.

So, this school week, we kicked off with a special breakfast of Blueberry muffins (my favorite!), some kitchen dancing, and then, we packed up to explore our new neighborhood.

One of the things I need the most in a home is a green space near by. There is something healing about being able to breathe in fresh air, and feel the breeze and play in a nice green space. We moved to suburbia – I am telling you, I am not sure the midwest has realized that online shopping is a thing because there is nothing here but houses and every single store you could ever dream of. But, despite the fact that they’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot, we do have a small green oasis just around the corner.

Today, the goal was to gather small samples of as many different leaves as we could find. We wandered around the path (and off the path a bit) and gathered leaves, and some flowers too. We stopped by the playground to meet some of the neighborhood kids, and then we hauled our leaves home. We’ve never been to this part of the country before, so we really enjoyed examining our leaf samples. We pulled out our nature guide to try and identify the trees from the leaves.

We’ve never been to this part of the country before, so we didn’t recognize all the trees in our part. We really enjoyed examining our leaf samples to see if we could guess what they were. Luckily, we have a wonderful nature guide that has many of the leaves illustrated.

Once Bug had finished identifying all of the leaf samples, we set up some trays with paint, and opened up our Oak Meadow Crafts for the Early Grades for a little project. Creating art with the leaves was incredibly simple (whoo hoo for that!). I cut up a few inexpensive kitchen sponges and then showed the kids how to use them to sponge around the outside of the leaves to create a stencil of the leaf.

All of the kids got really into the project, layering the different leaves and creating beautiful patterns on their papers. Little Miss was so careful and deliberate to stamp carefully (it does take a certain level of fitness to hold the leaf still while sponging around it). It’s fun to see how much she has matured just over the summer.

This project was the perfect nature-centered activity for our new school year. Now, I have to admit, it’s not always easy for me to say “yes” to hands-on, messy projects like this one. One thing that helps is having a variety of materials on hand, organized and ready to go.

Luckily, Oak Meadow understands parents like me, and they have craft kits for each grade level — and, they’re giving away one craft kit to a lucky OPC reader. I hope this kit encourages the winner to get their hands a little bit dirty this year in the name of art and exploration with their children!

Enter to win using the widget below!

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90 Comments

  1. This is awesome! We used Oak Meadow last year and are signed up again for this year. They are so supportive and their curriculum is so wholesome.

  2. Hello!
    My daughter and I craft everyday! There are little piles of craft supplies all over the house! My husband often has glitter in his beard, literally!
    Thx:)

  3. My toddlers will love this. They enjoy finding treasures on our walks in the forest. Next time we’ll use them in a craft!

  4. My oldest son invents crafts to do himself… He is definitely my little artist! His little brother doesn’t show as much interest, but he still enjoys arts and crafts.

  5. I love this idea! We love nature, crafting and art, and learning about nature. So this is a great activity that combines all three interests and can be taken more in depth in future weeks! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Heather,

    You mentioned that “One thing that helps is having a variety of materials on hand, organized and ready to go.” I have been having a difficult time keeping my “Junk Drawers” organized and easy to access for projects. A lot of the times, I am thinking to myself “Yes! I have [sponges]” and then it takes me forever to find where that craft supply is!

    How do you keep it all organized?

    1. Crystie- Boxes and Bags. If I have planned ahead and purchased supplies for a specific project (for example, if I know we are going to make cell models next week, or within the month) I’ll place all the supplies for that project in a gallon (or two gallon) ziplock and that bag gets stored in our “upcoming crafts” box (which also includes basic supplies). I also have stockpiles of other supplies in zip locks in labeled bins in a cabinet (sponges are kept with the paint, scissors and glue in a box, extra crayons, markers and pencils in another box . . . sequins and beads in another box). I restock when things are on sale and just work out of those boxes.

  7. My children are not very crafty nor am I, so I find it very hard to encourage the boys and do crafts and projects consistently. We’d love to try of program or kit that would allow us to incorporate more crafts into our homeschool program.

  8. Crafting is my kids favorite part of our homeschool day. Somedays I could definitely do without the mess!

  9. My oldest has loved art since the first time she picked up a crayon. Always creating something out decorating something.

  10. Our boys do like crafting. They love to get out my bin of beads, buttons, brads, string, feathers, etc and glue together some crazy creations. They also like to use color pencils and stencils a lot.

  11. My three boys have always loved crafts. My oldest is very detail oriented and takes his time, my middle son is quicker and tends to make more abstract things. My youngest LOVES tape, paint and creating! One day I’d love a space dedicated to just messes um…. I mean crafts and art.

  12. What a wonderful offer!! I would choose the 7th grade and especially include the girls up the street. they are homeschooled too but do not have resources that would enrich their lives. I include them when I am able but don’t have enough either. What a blessing this would be for us or anyone who wins this. Thanks again!

  13. I love to craft but my 9 year old son..not so much! I keep trying and kits seem to work well since he does not get overwhelmed by too many options.

  14. My children love to craft. I need to work at being more deliberate about making time to craft with them. They enjoy art, sewing, and coming up with their own fun projects to do. My refrigerator is generally covered with their artwork.

  15. My kids are constantly making something! From vending machines out of boxes to painting scraps of wood they tied together lol there’s always crafting going on here!

  16. My kids love crafting. They love using all kinds of different things to make their creations. I think if I let them they would do crafts all day.

  17. My kids love crafting. I try to incorporate a craft for the topics I know may not be so interesting, to try to capture their interest in it.

  18. My kids are super creative , craft and artsie! We have been using Oak Meadow now for years and love the creative approach! Thanks for the opportunity to win such an amazing prize!

  19. Yes, they love all kinds of art and crafts. Would love to try these Oak Meadow kits. They look great!

  20. My daughter loves crafting, today we had her half of her girl scout troop over for a sleepover and completing quite a few crafts for each other as presents for Christmas. Was very exciting to see how much they loved getting different styles of crafts made for their troop and using up my supplies.

  21. I have 5 wild kiddos that love to paint and craft but unfortunately this Mama isn’t too creative in the arts department. I can prep the space and love to get our hands dirty but I definitely need some assistance in step-by-step aspect of art! Oak Meadow sounds like the answer for an arts & crafts impaired person like myself!

  22. My kids do all kinds of crafts and art projects—from building things with craft sticks, to art projects with construction paper and paint, to sewing and knitting. It really is a daily thing around here!

  23. I love this leaf art project! My kids love doing art projects and I usually have a lot of fun doing them with them, but I often avoid it because it seems like too much effort. I’m hoping to make it more of a priority in our coming school year.

  24. My kids love painting, coloring, using scissors – if it’s involved with “making” something (even if that something is unidentifiable to me), they love it.

  25. I am moving in a few short weeks and it is great to see another family who just moved and is settling into a new home. I just had to purge a lot of craft supplies to fit in the moving truck but I am looking forward to getting back to crafting with my
    kids soon.

  26. My kids love to paint more than anything. Acrylic or water color. But they make such a mess so I tend not to suggest it unless I have a lot of energy. Personally I love nature and I love discovering trees, flowers, and plants and then using them in my rubbings. It would be so fun to win this!

  27. What a wonderful idea! I too, have a hard time letting the kids get messy. This sounds like it could be fun. ?

  28. My kids love crafts. We have a bunch of craft supplies always accessible, and my one daughter especially will be out there creating all kinds of crafts and projects in her free time.

  29. I am looking forward to including art in my homeschool this year, we’ve been a little too focused on other areas. I think this will bring a much-needed relaxation to our day. Thank you for the chance to win!

  30. My children love crafts and at times it can be overwhelming. I need to learn how to organize and provide some they can do without much assistance.

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