Creating Leaf Placemats

fun science activities in the springtime

These fun science activities are a great project during the spring when you can collect a variety of leaves to make colorful placemats for picnics and other occasions.  You will be making placemats using fresh leaves off of trees. Springtime is a great time to make these leaf placemats because new leaves are soft and easy to use. You can paint the leaves and then use for stencils.

Create leaf placemats in the springtime

Materials

  • 12 x 18 inch sheets of construction paper for each placemat
  • Variety of leaves
  • Paint- various colors
  • Paint brush
  • Clear contact paper (optional)

Directions

  1. Collect a variety of different sized leaves that will look good on a placemat.
  2. Decide on an arrangement of leaves for your placemat before starting to paint the leaves.
  3. After the placemat is designed take the leaves off the paper and set aside.
  4. Paint the bottom side of your first leaf. The veins on the bottom side stick out from the leaf.
  5. Place the painted side down on the placemat.
  6. Rub your fingers over the leaf so the paint is transferred to the paper.
  7. Continue painting leaves and rubbing them on the paper until you are satisfied with the design of the placemat.
  8. Let the paint dry thoroughly before covering with clear contact paper to make permanent placemats.

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Science behind the activity

Plants in the spring grow leaves to produce their own food. They take water from the ground and carbon dioxide from the air to make the food. Plants then use sunlight and chlorophyll to make the food needed by the plants. The chlorophyll gives the leaves their green color. In the fall plants stop making food. After the chlorophyll is gone from the leaves they turn yellow, orange and brown.


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