This is a bright and fun project that never fails to intrigue the students. The children love the magic of the process, and we love that we can teach them about symmetry and color mixing in a memorable way. It also ties in the way the leaves around us are changing this time of year. Click here to download a PDF of Autumn Leaf Symmetry Project
Age Level: 2 ½ – 4 years
To teach the kids about symmetry
To teach the kids about color mixing
To relate the project to what is happening in nature
Small plastic (condiment size) cups
Plastic lids from takeout containers
Small wooden craft sticks
- Prepare construction paper for leaf shapes. First fold each piece in half, and then cut the leaf shape. It is important to do it in this order so that the leaves are symmetrical, with the sides of the leaf matching up when folding them. We use a template to ensure the same shape each time.
- Place 3 colors of paints (that when mixed together will create brown) into small condiment cups. We use colors that make brown since the leaves are turning brown too. We used red, orange and green.
- Arrange a set one of each color into a larger plastic container for ease of carrying and use by the students.
- Depending on the size of the class, we have one for every student or one for every two students.
- Write children’s names on labels that will go on back of project. Remember to prepare more than one if each child will be doing more than one leaf. You can also put the labels on the back of the papers beforehand and just make sure to distribute the leaf shapes to the appropriate child.
- Show the children an example of the project and explain that they will be making this kind of painting with sticks – and a special trick!
- Demonstrate using the craft stick to get paint from the container and then tap, tap, tapping it onto the paper. Encourage the students to use a lot of paint: the more the better for blending the colors together.
- Fold the paper in half. Rub the paper while saying “magic words” (abracadabra, shazam, etc) and then open it to reveal the symmetrical painting. Point out how some colors may have mixed together and how their leaf painting is symmetrical (the same on each side).
- Distribute leaf paper and sets of paint with sticks.
Do you have any favorite fall-themed projects? Please let us know!