Kids' Corner

Leaf Rubbing

Each month we post a new garden-related activity for children. Check back on the third Monday of the month for our next garden play idea.
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This month, let’s have fun making leaf rubbing patterns!

Often when we are looking at leaves we notice them the most during autumn when the leaves of deciduous trees turn beautiful colours before they fall. This is because the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. Deciduous trees conserve their water and energy for the winter in their roots. That’s why leaves turn beautiful oranges, yellows and reds. Now that spring has arrived, we notice that the trees, shrubs and bulbs are sprouting new shoots and there is an abundance of new growth and beautiful, colourful blossoms.  

The veins in leaves work the same way as the arteries and veins in our bodies, they transport food to and from the leaves. See if you can find some leaves with veins in them in your garden or on your walks. If you hold a leaf up to the light you will notice their veins. These veins are more noticeable on the underside of the leaf. Choose different types of leaves for their shapes, big, small, from vegetables, trees and shrubs and try some rubbings.

What you will need: 
Sheet of newspaper
Sticky tape 
Oil pastels or crayons 
Thin photocopy paper
Watercolour paints, if you have them
Glue stick

Some great leaves to use include gum leaves, passionfruit leaves, ivy leaves, lettuce or beetroot leaves, leaves from a daisy bush, etc. Let’s see what else you can find?

Place your leaves with the veins facing up onto your piece of newspaper. You might want to use a small piece of sticky tape to secure your leaf down onto the paper.
Place a piece of photocopy paper over the leaf.
With your crayon or pastel, rub vigorously on the paper over the leaf. 
The shape, structure and veins of your leaf will start to show.
When you have completed all your rubbings you can paint over the leaf patterns with watercolour. Your oil pastel or crayon will repel the water and paint. This technique is called wax resist. You can cut the leaves out and glue them down onto another piece of paper to make beautiful patterns.

And you might like to try……

A simple fun science experiment you can do is to place a piece of celery (preferably the whiter leafy stalks in the center), or a white daisy, in a clear glass of water and place some food color e.g. red, blue or green, into the glass.  What can you see after a few hours?


Enjoy, and most of all have fun! 

If you missed it, here's a link to our last Kids' Corner activity: Germinating Seeds