As the chill starts to hit the air and the sweaters come out from the back of the closet around here, that means it’s almost time for DIY leaf crafts for kids. Or hey, maybe you’ve already started? (Hey, Minnesota!) While there’s no shortage of stunning DIY craft ideas around the web using leaves, the results would make you all laugh hysterically should they fall into my not-too-crafty hands. Me? I’m a little more like, So? What can we do with a Sharpie, kids?
With that in mind, I tracked down 10 inspiring but easy left craft ideas for kids are made for actual doing, not just pinning/gramming. In fact, your bigger kids can do all of these on their own, while even preschoolers can get in on each one with a little help from you.
Top image: Grow Creative
Updated for 2023
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10 DIY Leaf Crafts for Kids
DIY Leaf Animal Craft
Let’s start with one of the most popular crafts we’ve ever shared on this site: The DIY leaf craft animals inspired from the book Look What I did With a Leaf found on My Owl Barn. Granted ours will probably not come out as amazing as these, though there are some wonderful idea starters on the blog. Plus, you’ll be surprised with what your kids come up with and how they see shapes and colors that you never would have considered.
DIY Leaf Alphabet Posters
Another way to put those finished leaf animals to good use is by making your own leaf alphabet posters, with each animal (or other design of your choice) standing for a different letter. This is a long-ago craft we originally found from Martha Stewart, but while the tutorial itself is gone, you can surely figure it out. I bet kids will get super creative, too. Is R for robot, rabbit or running shoes?
Paper Punch Leaf Craft
My kids love playing with paper punches, like the kind you’d use for scrapbooking, but I had never thought about using basic paper punch shapes on leaves. The Paper Punched Leaf Craft from Grow Creative (also at very top) yields some awesome shapes you can incorporate into other crafts, like collages, garlands, or greeting cards. You can find a butterfly shaped craft punch plus stars, hearts of all sizes and more right on Amazon. Pro tip: Don’t wait until the leaves are too dry to do this craft or they’ll crumble. Let them dry inside the pages of a book, like shown here.
DIY Painted Animal Leaf Craft
Another top favorite leaf craft for kids, especially by our Pinterest followers, is this mind-blowing painted leaf craft by Hazel Terry – check out her incredible Flickr stream for so many clever ideas, from bugs to fish and beyond. Start with a solid base paint to coat the leaf, then go nuts from there.
DIY Leaf Rubbing Craft
If you want to start simple, leaf rubbings are the way to go. (My own kids always loved them so much!) You don’t need to do much more than grab a few colors of big fat crayons and some leaves for younger kids to really enjoy the craft. At Meri Cherry, a kindergarten teacher shows some great results from her class. She also links to a neat tip at Filth Wizardry to water down some food coloring a little and paint over the rubbings to achieve a wax resist effect.
DIY Leaf Printing Craft
I am so taken with the results of this Rorshach-like leaaf printing craft at Kleas. It basically requires using multiple colors on a single leaf, which means kids get a two-fer in both painting the leaf, and then using it as a stamp. Tempera paints are a good bet for this kind of craft, and you’ll use them again and again.
DIY Cut Leaf Car Craft
If you prefer things that go on wheels instead of legs, here’s your leaf craft! I can’t believe how cute this cut leaf car craft looks at the Art Room Plant, and it doesn’t really seem too hard. Little kids will definitely need help cutting out those windows (yeah, not handing a craft knifeo a kindergartener) but cutting out an outline with scissors should be fun.
DIY Leaf Mask Craft
The photos of this DIY leaf mask craft at small + friendly on her own son are so adorable! She provides very simple instructions for making one completely from scratch — but you can make it even simpler on yourself by gluing the leaves onto a mask you already own. (My kids always seemed to amass dozens of them from birthday parties, Grandma’s house, and who knows where else.)
DIY Sparkle Leaf Craft
Small + Friendly also has a great tutorial for DIY sparkle leaves that combine two of my kids’ favorite things: Glitter, and making me clean up the glitter after them. Instead of glue plus glitter, make it easier on yourself with glitter paint, if your kids can handle it.
DIY Painted Leaf Art Craft
Of course, leaves don’t always have to come in shades of brown and gold. I love how you can let kids paint leaves just to look like…even cooler leaves. Sadly the site Love from Ginger is no longer around, but you can figure this one out pretty easily–and no doubt your kids will have plenty of ideas of their own. Pokemon leaves, anyone?