When the leaves start falling from the trees, school is officially underway. This easy-to-make leaf collage offers a great way to teach children about different trees, foliage, and the alphabet. In fact, as stylist Helen Quinn explains, it may even encourage them to do some raking in the backyard. For her collage, Helen used a variety of leaves, including larkspur, wild geranium, aspen, dogwood, maidenhair fern, maple, oak, Japanese maple, and sumac. If you live in a part of the country where autumnal leaves aren't available, you can try Nature's Pressed, a company that sells all kinds of pressed leaves at affordable prices.
Keep in mind that you can use this basic technique to create decorative bulletin boards, flashcards, thank-you cards, or classroom trees. In addition, you can laminate them to make place mats or color-copy them to make alphabet books. To preserve your collages, frame them or keep them in cardboard portfolios. Although they fragile, if treated with care, they should last for several years.
To begin, collect a variety of leaves, then press them using a flower press. Alternately, you can simply place the leaves in a telephone book between two sheets of newspaper or acid-free paper for one to two weeks. Once pressed, carefully arrange the leaves to form the desired pattern. Using a glue stick (for children under 12) or rubber cement, put a little glue on the back of a leaf, then place it, face up, on the page. Using a clean sheet of paper as a blotter, rub the leaf gently through the paper to make sure it sticks. Continue in this manner to create your desired pattern.