There are SO many great educational activities that you can do with children in the Fall, but one of my favorites is creating colorful leaf rubbings. This STEM activity is fun, easy, has a beautiful result, and provides learning through play!  

You Will Need:

  • A selection of leaves – be sure that the leaves are fairly fresh (not brown and dried out or they will break).  You can use multiple types of leaves for a variety of shapes and sizes, or you can select a few of the same type for a more consistent look.
  • Crayons – wrappers removed!
  • White Paper 
  • Painter’s Tape (masking tape can also work, though is more likely to tear the paper)

STEM Activity Instructions:

  • Go outside and ask children to collect leaves of all different shapes and colors.
  • Once back inside, or you can do this at an outdoor picnic table, have the children arrange the leaves however they want on the table.  Be sure to have them put the leave close together – it’s ok if they overlap a bit!  
  • Place the white paper on top of the leaves and tape it to the table so that is is secure.
  • Have the children use the SIDES of their crayons and rub them across the paper.  They can use as many or as few colors as they like!  Try using Fall colors such as red, orange, and yellow to enhance conversations about the colors we see on the trees outside.
  • The result of this STEM activity will be beautiful ‘leaf prints’ to decorate your fridge or front door!

Components of STEM Activity:

Exploring outside is an amazing way to engage little scientists in our world and all of the cool things that happen in nature! Start your STEM activity by going on a leaf hunt. You can use magnifying glasses to inspect the trees as well as the leaves that have fallen on the ground.  

Talk to children about why the leaves change colors. Use scientific words like chlorophyll and photosynthesis while explaining to enhance vocabulary skills as well. 

Figuring out the layout of the leaves is a great exercise in engineering. While it isn’t “building” per se, it does require the configuration of shapes. Understanding shapes and space is a big part of both engineering as well as math. You can also use those counting skills to see how many leaves you are using, how many colors you have chosen, and how many pictures you create!

Many activities can be turned into a STEM activity if the you angle it the right way and introduce knew concepts and vocabulary. For more STEM activities, check these out and have fun learning through play! Do you want to hire a nanny that will plan educational activities for your children? Learn more about how Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny can help you find the right match.

About The Author

Sarah PSarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.