We adults are familiar with the sequence of the seasons and the gradual changes that take place in nature during autumn. As part of beginning to understand the world around her (part of the Early Years curriculum), this year we’ve started to talk to Daisy about the way trees change in autumn, and to observe some of the changes as they happen.
While Daisy and her Grandpa were busy collecting up the conkers that cascaded from the trees, I decided to gather up some of the leaves that have fallen on the grass. Daisy had already gathered leaves with her childminder and had an opportunity to look at the collected leaves using a magnifying glass.
I had something different in mind for those leaves that I had picked up in the park.
I’d collected a variety of different shaped leaves so I could show Daisy that leaves are all different shapes and sizes. Back home, we looked at the leaves together. Some of the leaves were still green, blown off the tree by the strong winds, while some had turned orange/yellow and brown. These leaves were ideal for an activity with Daisy that allowed her to explore colours while trying out an early form of printing.
Three year olds aren’t keen to wait for messy play to begin so I had already prepared a simple form of paint pad, using paint in the three colours of autumn that we’d seen, placed side by side on the paint pad. I had also taped some art paper to Daisy’s small table.
Together we pressed a leaf onto the paint pad and then pressed the leaf onto the art paper, repeating the process with different leaves. Don’t expect perfect leaf prints; for a three year old the pleasure and the discoveries come from the process of printing. When Daisy had enough of leaf printing (at her age about five – ten minutes), I let her paint with her paint brush to use up the remaining paint from the paint pad. By now the colours on the paint pad had mixed and Daisy could see colours changing, just like autumn.
When the printing had dried, I used PVA glue so that we could fix the original leaves onto the art paper, in among the printing. The finished printing went up on the door so that we could continue to admire Daisy’s artwork.
Whenever you decide to do some printing with your grandchildren, it’s a good idea to be well prepared, having the protective clothing, the paper and the paint pad ready.
I always use a paint pad for any printing activity. A paint pad ensures that there isn’t surplus paint on the object being printed so that the print process is much more successful and rewarding for any child.
Making a paint pad
I made the paint pad for the leaf printing using a shallow container. I put several layers of paper towel into the dish and added the poster paint on top of the paper towel allowing the paint to soak into the paper towel before the printing started.
Granny Smith says
If you have a favourite park where you regularly walk with your grandchildren, you can help them to observe the seasonal changes by looking at the trees on each visit. You could take photographs of the same tree over the months and together look at the different images to spot the changes.