Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crayon Leaf Printing | Guest Post

Guest Post from Critters and Crayons

The Critters And Crayons CRAFTLESS Series isn’t about showing you the beautiful things we can make. It’s about showing how much fun we have together despite my total lack of artistic ability. My 2 and 4 year old put me to shame in the arts department. When you’re CRAFTLESS, crafting with your kids is about the experience and the laughs. Anything beautiful is a happy coincidence. We try to recycle, re-purpose and re-use the things we have around the house.

It's now Fall. It's still really hot. We've been wanting to walk around the little pond by our home after pre-school for many days now, but it's still hovering over a hundred. The good news (sorta) was that today, we were three minutes late past the 15 minute grace period and were locked out of our Montessori classroom.
It doesn't matter why we were late. I knew the rules when I signed up. Those are the breaks, sometimes.
But, for the record, the truckers on the road didn't cooperate with my hasty timeline. And my son had been up all night unable to swallow because he'd contracted Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, probably on a playground somewhere. The canker sores on his mouth had spread to his throat. A rash had assaulted his bum and the bottoms of his feet. There were other unpleasant things I won't describe. He was generally without much joy until the symptoms subsided.
The good news is that we had made it through the worst, most restless, too-painful-to-breathe-or-swallow night and he was feeling better. So, on the day my daughter was locked out of school because I failed to leave the house on time to avoid waking him from the sleep I knew he needed, he was pretty functional. This would be a good day together.
So, we went to the pond in the morning, when it was a cool 90 degrees. Yes, I mean that. Ninety degrees is a veritable cold front around here. Homeless people wear blankets, I swear.
They took their baskets to collect leaves that they would press and imprint:

We had a lot of fun looking at all the patterns. We tried our best to find leaves that had already fallen but that weren't too brittle to color over.

And, we came home and spread out our fare.
The kids helped to lay the leaves in pages of heavy books for pressing.

We ate lunch. We went to see the doc about my son's Hand, Foot and Mouth ailment. We rushed back to change into a leotard and make it to gymnastics. And, then we rushed home for dinner. When we got back, the kids darted for the books to see if the leaves were flat now. They were.

All we needed now were crayons (in that nifty travel roll my friend made for us. You can buy one here), and some tracing paper. If the work area you're using is uneven like ours is, it's a good idea to also put a coloring book or something under the leaf you will imprint so that it's resting on a smooth surface.)

And that was it. We just colored back and forth over the leaves and watched the outlines and veins and seams emerge like magic. (See how that crayon roll opens up. These things make awesome gifts.)

This is a very simple activity that helps our kids learn to appreciate the beauty and diversity of nature.

She did that all by herself!

Here are some of the other things we made:

This craft took us the whole day to finish with all the steps. There are special bonding and teachable moments during each phase.
The kids were excited to move to the next task each time we completed one.
I think I was supposed to feel punished for not getting my daughter to school on time, but I'm thinking of framing one of these babies and attaching a Thank You note for giving us such a wonderful chance to get to the pond in cool sunlight hours. :)
Some people might say our imprints came out too well to be craftless, and I respond that we got pretty lucky with this craft experiment. This is a really hard craft to mess up. The leaves are already so beautiful and you don't have to color in the lines. It's the perfect craft for The Craftless.
Happy Crafting! I hope it's good. But, if it's not. That's okay.
If you do something like this, go ahead and shoot your photos to We'll add them to the C&C Fan Craftless Craft and Hopeful Cooking Photo Album on Facebook!


Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

I LOVE leaf rubbings! :) Your turned out GREAT and the photos depict them fabulously - craftless? I beg to differ!!!!

It's nice to hear about your hot weather and your desire to celebrate fall! We have the same issues! So you've inspired me to get out (despite the heat) and search for & embrace the leaves around us - even if they are not typical fall leaves!


Carrie said...

They came out wonderfully! I will have to try flattening them next time we try it.

crittersandcrayons said...

Mom To 2 Posh Lil Divas- My series started out as a "Craftless" Series because I had just started experimenting with crafts with the kids and mine weren't coming out very well. But, I really looked forward to craft time because the experience was so wonderful and it got us out of the heat. Sometimes, I luck out. This one is perfect for the craft-challenged because coloring outside the lines is encouraged. haha! Thank you so much! I am so glad you liked them.

crittersandcrayons said...

I would love to know how they came out! Flattening them helped a lot and the kids enjoyed that exercise. It gave them something to look forward to. Funny how kids get excited about things like that. "Are they flat yet, mom? Are they? Are they?" :) It's great.

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