As a professional nanny, finding exciting new ways to engage and educate the children you look after is a big part of your role. Leaf rubbing is a fun and educational art activity that can help young children develop their fine motor skills and creativity, while also fostering an appreciation for the natural world.
In this blog post, we will explore how nannies can organise and carry out this activity with young children, supporting them to make their own artwork, and we will also examine the benefits of this activity.
How to Collect Leaves for Leaf Rubbing Artwork
Before you can make leaf rubbing artwork with young children, you will need to collect leaves. This can be made into a part of the activity too, extending the process and building anticipation.
Choose a variety of leaves
When collecting leaves for leaf rubbing artwork, it’s important to choose a variety of leaves with different shapes and sizes. This will allow children to create a range of different designs and patterns.
Collect leaves in the fall
Fall is the best time to collect leaves for leaf rubbing artwork because the leaves are often brightly coloured and have fallen from the trees, making them easier to collect.
Look for leaves in different environments
Encourage children to collect leaves from different environments, such as parks, gardens, and nature trails. This will allow them to see the variety of leaves that can be found in different settings.
Handle leaves gently
When collecting leaves, it’s important to handle them gently to avoid damaging them. Encourage children to pick up leaves by the stem and handle them with care.
Take the opportunity to identify the leaves that you collect with the children. You can use books or online resources to help identify the leaves and learn more about the trees that they come from.
How to Make Leaf Rubbing Artwork
Once you have collected leaves, it’s time to make leaf rubbing artwork. Here are the steps to follow:
To make leaf rubbing artwork, you will need:
- Crayons or coloured pencils
Tape the leaves to the paper
Place the leaves onto a piece of paper, with the veins facing up. Use tape to secure the leaves in place, masking tape is best to use for this as it can be removed easily without tearing the paper later on.
Rub the paper with crayons or coloured pencils
Using a crayon or coloured pencil, rub over the paper to create an imprint of the leaf. Encourage children to experiment with different colours and textures.
Remove the leaves
Once the rubbing is complete, carefully remove the leaves from the paper to reveal the leaf imprint.
Display the artwork
Display the leaf rubbing artwork in a prominent place where children can admire their creations.
Benefits of Leaf Rubbing Artwork for Young Children
Leaf rubbing artwork offers numerous benefits for young children, including:
Develops fine motor skills
Leaf rubbing artwork requires fine motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity, and precision. By practising leaf rubbing, children can develop these skills and improve their overall motor control.
Leaf rubbing allows children to express their creativity and imagination through their designs. By choosing different colours and textures, children can create unique and personalised designs that reflect their personalities and interests.
Fosters an appreciation for nature
Leaf rubbing artwork encourages children to explore and appreciate the natural world. By collecting leaves and creating artwork with them, children can learn about the different types of leaves and the trees that they come from.
Leaf rubbing requires a high level of concentration and focus, which can help children improve their attention span and concentration skills.
Completing a leaf rubbing design can provide children with a sense of accomplishment and boost their self-esteem. Seeing their finished design can give them a sense of pride and satisfaction, which can help build their self-confidence.
Additional Activities to Incorporate with Leaf Rubbing Artwork
Leaf rubbing artwork can be incorporated into a variety of other activities to help promote learning and creativity. Below are some additional activities that can be combined with leaf rubbing:
Take children on a nature walk to collect leaves for leaf rubbing artwork. Encourage them to identify the different types of leaves and learn about the trees that they come from.
Use books or online resources to help identify the leaves that you collect with the children. This can help children learn about the different types of trees and the ecosystems that they support.
Encourage children to create leaf rubbing artwork based on their favourite stories or books. This can help them develop their creativity and imagination while also promoting literacy and reading skills.
Leaf rubbing artwork is a fun and engaging activity that can help young children develop a range of skills, including fine motor skills, creativity, and an appreciation for nature. By collecting leaves and creating artwork with them, nannies can provide children with a fun and rewarding activity that can promote learning and development.
If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of teaching children about nature, or how to do this in a meaningful way, our Alternative Approaches course has a session on the Forest School approach.