Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fall Prints

Every morning, Jonah looks out ofhis bedroom window and points to the bright yellow and red sugar maple. "liffff!"

He has really been noticing all of the leaves this fall. When we are out and the wind blows, he stops to listen to the dried leaves blowing on the pavement. He repeatedly shouts "lifffff!" to let us know he hears the scraping sounds. Out in the yard, he picks his feet up and stomps through them. I've been teaching him to say "crunch crunch crunch" when he does this, but it comes out more like "ba ba ba."

We went to the library, and Jonah found two books about leaves. Both of them are written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. One is called "Leaf Man" and the other is called "Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf." While Jonah does not care for the story of "Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf" he really likes to look at the pictures. Both books use leaves to make up the pictures! He loves reading "Leaf Man" and whenever we get to the line "a leaf man's gotta go where the wind blows!" he makes a blowing sound.

Looking at all of the textures and beautiful illustrations in these books, inspired us to collect different textures from our yard. We brought home different kinds of leaves, and my personal favorite fall texture- osage oranges, also called "horse apples" (my preschoolers called them the "big green brains.")We used the fun textures we found, to create our own colorful fall pictures by dipping them into paint and pressing them onto paper.

For the leaf prints, we pressed the leaves into paint, and wiped excess paint off. Looking back, it probably would have made more sense to have Jonah apply the paint to them via a paintbrush, in a thin layer.

Then we pressed the leaves to the paper and lifted them up to see our beautiful picture!

We decided to make a separate picture with the osage orange, on a different day, but you could certainly use all of the textures in one painting for one single art project rather than breaking it up into two!

We rolled the osage orange in the paint. I let Jonah pick two colors to paint with, and we rolled the osage orange in both at the same time, so we got a marbled effect.
Then we rolled the osage orange onto our paper. This was a bit of a challenge for Jonah, because he did not like to push hard enough on the osage orange to make the print. Every time he would try, he would get upset because the paint got on his hands.

Both activities were great sensory activities for Jonah. Even though he was reluctant to touch the paint, he really enjoyed making art with the leaves and exploring their different shapes and colors. He also really liked that we were using something that looked so much like his favorite object- balls!

And, we now have some beautiful fall colors to adorn our fridge:


  1. Woah. Osage orange? I've absolutely never heard of those. They look pretty neato though.

  2. I don't know if they are regional or what. We had them in Toledo too. A lot of people are telling me they've never heard of them or seen them. I've seen them being sold at farmer's markets late in the season.

    They are mainly used to keep moths out of cedar chests etc. They are a natural alternative to moth balls, although I still prefer lavender for that job because these things get pretty sticky and can spew sap from where their stem was attached. Even though they are called fruit (osage ORANGE and horse APPLE) they are not edible. I think they are poisonous actually

  3. I googled them and they're actually native to the prairie region. Farmers would plant them in close, tight rows to form a natural fence. And apparently they aren't poisonous, but only the seeds are edible, but you'd have to pick through them like a squirrel to get at them. They're all stringy and pithy inside, like a pumpkin.

  4. thanks, you have taught me something! It must be an old wive's tale that they are poisonous, I was always told not to eat them. I've never opened one up, I only use them for decorating, painting with kids, and keeping moths out of my cloths. I wonder how they got here if they are native to the prairie region. They are all over around here, and in Toledo too.