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Wisconsin Parent

Fall Craft Idea: How To Make Your Own Leaf Book

Oct 07, 2013 02:17PM ● By Tiffany Malloy
One of our favorite things to do as a family is to “go exploring,” and now that fall is upon us, it makes it all the more enjoyable. The weather has cooled, making afternoon nature walks quite pleasant. This year I decided that it’s time that I introduced my kids to the infamous leaf book.I first began learning to identify trees in middle school, and thought it was the coolest thing ever to be able to call out the names of trees as I passed by: Ginkos! Maples! Oaks! I have big binder of pressed leaves from my tree-identifying days, and the kids have enjoyed looking at it from time to time. Since we just moved to Madison a month or two ago, and we’re not too familiar with the area we live in, I decided to seize this perfect opportunity to teach the kids the names of the trees that we pass by on our daily walk to school.Picking LeafWe started out small, working on a few different kinds of trees at a time. At each tree, we took a leaf, examined the bark of the tree, and observed any other “hints” as to what the tree might be.Pine Tree“Mom, this one has buckeyes on it—it must be a buckeye tree!”

“What are these red things? Can we eat them?”Berries“Wow, this one has three different kinds of leaves!”Flattening1Then, we brought the leaves home and learned how to press them between books. We left them there for a week or so.Flattening2Then, we used our leaves to make a mini-leaf book that we can add to as we identify more trees. We simply taped our leaves on half pieces of construction paper, labeled and hole-punched the paper, and placed them all inside a full-size piece of construction paper, folded in half.  Of course we had to decorate the front with fall-themed stickers, because everyone knows that EVERYTHING is better with stickers.Assembly2

For parents who are not used to identifying trees, there is a great free app that you use in figuring out Wisconsin trees in particular, called Key to Woody Plants of Wisconsin Forests. However, if you want your child to identify the tree you can use EEK!, which guides them through a list of questions that will help them to accurately identify the tree.  Assembly3The good thing about this project is that the whole family can be involved (even my two-year-old could participate!), and it is something you can do bit-by-bit on your way to somewhere else. You will definitely want to start soon though—before the leaves are all gone!Final ProductTiffany-166x250Tiffany Malloy is a stay-at-home mom of 4 kids under age 6. When she’s not changing diapers, getting snacks, or (re)organizing the craft closet, she’s volunteering in her local community or exploring her new city of Madison. Tiffany also blogs at Play Eat Grow, a site dedicated to the three things families do most: playing, eating, and growing. Although she is new to the area, she is already proud to be a Wisconsin Parent.