Tree for the seasons

Age group

3-5 yrs

Number of children:

3-7 ppl

Areas it develops: using of tools, fine-motor skills, learning about materials, planning, vocabulary, cooperation, communication, sensory integration, aesthetic intelligence

Let’s play with leaves found in nature! During this activity kids can connect different tools to the textrues and features of leaves. Collect leaves, draw on them, count them, categorzie them!

It develops fine-motor skills, using of tools, creativity, the ability to express oneself, and aesthetic intelligence. It is especially beneficial for kids who are a bit behind with their communication or for those who have troubles in their communication development.

Sensory based creative art activities are commonly used to develop and increase imagination and strengthen fine motor skills. These activities also aid in helping children practice decision making skills and explore creative expression. When done in a group setting, these activities help to increase socialization skills, increase self-regulation and awareness of others and explore shared spaces by creating an extension of the self to others.


  • seasonal leaves, crops, flowers, branches from the garden or from a group trip
  • paint
  • brushes
  • plain papers
  • glue

Make leaf prints


Collect dry or wet fallen leaves in the garden, park. Group the dry ones according to size, colour, appearance, paying attention to not breaking them. These are real fine motor skills! Strongly press the wet leaves with a kitchen towel and let them dry. When they are dry, make a print of them by shading them. It is important that the children exert the right amount of force when they press their pencil against the paper.

Pro tip: For children having difficulty with the right amount of pencil pressure, help them experience it: grasp their hand gently with the pencil in it and press it onto the paper to leave a mark. Make sure to actually see the drawing on the paper and then repeat the task on another sheet. Then ask the children to try it on a third drawing sheet, on their own. While they are doing it, we can also give verbal help: “You know, you have to press it a little”. Check the drawings together again. Give the children affirmation every time: “this is good like this; this is how to do it”. Be careful not to use the phrase “see, you can do it”.

Build the tree


Let’s also collect crops. Together with the leaves and leaf prints we glue them to a big tree drawn together on a paper. Make it a collaborative work, let the children work together and help each other, exchange and act upon common ideas. Put the work out in the group to be clearly visible. It can be made during spring and summer, with seasonal crops, flowers, leaves and branches.

Painting on the leaves


We can even paint the leaves in a different colour than they were originally. It is important that both hands are actively involved in the procedure, one is painting, the other is holding, fixing the leaf and the paper. We can make a leaf print in the same way, which requires a lot of ink. Children show their final works to each other and explain how they made them.

Make taste safe homemade paint


Ingredients: ¼ cup salt, ½ cup flour, ½ cup water and food coloring.
1. Bake the flour in an oven safe tray at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Let the flour cool.
2. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
3. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water and mix. Pour into the flour and salt mixture.
4. Whip together well until the clumps dissolve. You can add more or less water depending on the consistency .

Storage: Place in air tight container (no air inside). Store in refrigerator for up to 6 months!

Make your own paint brush


If we want to make painting even more exciting, we can make a brush for ourselves using tweezers and various printers.