Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn: Bright, Bold & Beautiful Leaf Art
Creative QT is beyond excited to welcome Cara Huff as our latest guest blogger. Her Instagram account, @raising.kinley, and blog are bursting at the seems with the most bright and beautiful art projects. The way she engages her toddler in such a vast range of creative adventures is so inspiring! Best of all, she shares creative ways for parents to Make Time Together with their kids through art and creativity.
The leaves are turning, the breeze is cooling off, everything is coming up pumpkin spice...it's Fall, y'all! The changing of the seasons, means the changing of the schoolroom book bin selections at our house. I've got the ultimate perfect Fall story for you to snuggle up and read on your comfy Stuff 'n Sit Bean Bag:
Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak
This is the story of a little girl who takes a late summer walk through the woods and into town. She has conversations with everything along her way, from the forest creatures preparing for winter, to the new breezy wind and chill in the air. The wind tells her she needs to unpack her warm sweaters, the big orange sun tells her it’s setting earlier now, and the blue jays tell her they are heading south soon. So many great facts, but between Pak’s magical watercolor illustrations and the sweet, almost musical text, you don’t even notice you are learning.
Our favorite part is when the little girl goes to bed after the sun goes down, and when she wakes up in the morning the world has completely changed, mostly because that’s happening in our own neighborhood at the moment! You, too? Hello, Autumn!!
Speaking of the magic of Fall, how about a magical(ish) Fall process art activity to go with this charming book? It’s super simple and was inspired by the book’s beautiful pages themselves. The gorgeous leaves right outside our window also provide the perfect inspiration. Let’s make like Mother Nature, and get our leaf paint on!
- 4x6 photo paper (you’ll want 5-10 for each artist, this process is crazy addictive)
- liquid watercolors in leafy colors (Don't have any on hand? No problem. Here's my simple DIY recipe.)
- eye droppers or pipettes
- a cookie sheet or a tray with sides to catch the mess
- paper towels
- leaf stencil
Before you call your kiddo in, prepare for this potentially messy art session by lining your tray or cookie sheet with a layer of paper towels. You don’t HAVE to do this step, but sometimes the puddles underneath soak through the photo paper if a little artist is having a long thoughtful art session, and the paper towels will prevent this. Also get your watercolors ready by pouring them into containers and plopping a pipette in each color. You might also want to prepare some space to let your artwork dry — I usually lay ours on our art drop-cloth, but a row of paper towels would work just as well. Now you’re ready!
1. Place a couple of sheets of photo paper on top of the paper towel layer. Give your little human a crash course in pipettes if you haven’t ever used them before.
2. Get squirting! The photo paper is pretty magical because it absorbs the color splashes so quickly that it’s almost impossible to get brown. We used oranges and yellows and greens and fuchsia. You can see from the photos that even the most puddle-y sure-to-be-brown ones are pretty. Even if you DO get a little brown, that’s still pretty authentically Fall-ish, right?
If you guys get bored with just squirting willy-nilly, try:
- squirting from up high
- tracing your pipette through your puddles
- soaking up the extra paint on your photo paper with a paper towel and then squirting a new layer of paint over the top (this is one of my personal fave techniques)
- painting the watercolors on with a paintbrush instead of a pipette
3. When you are done squirting, and all of your masterpieces are dry you might notice a little white residue on top of them. We just dip a paintbrush in clean water and paint over the powdery stuff, then wipe the water and residue off together with a paper towel. I think this is just a homemade watercolors problem, but just in case it’s a photo paper thing I thought I’d share. Either way it’s an easy fix.
4. I used a leaf stencil I already had for our leaves, but you could go on a nature walk and find the perfect leaf shape or do a quick Google or Pinterest search and print one off if you need one. We just traced our leaf stencil on the back of each piece of photo paper and cut them all out.
Aren’t they just dreamy? I’m thinking about glueing these vibrant beauties together to make a wreath...or bunting...or a mobile? Hahaha ohhh the possibilities!! Feeling inspired? I sure hope so. Happy Fall, y’all!!
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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