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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kid-friendly Reuse Craft: Leaf Coasters

Scarlet Paolicchi 

            

My children love making crafts which is great because it expands their creativity and gives us some free-time to connect and see the world through their eyes. This DIY project is a fun and easy craft that your children are sure to enjoy. As you make these leaf coasters, talk to your children about the changing of seasons and how it affects the weather throughout the world. As an added bonus, you can throw in a little science by asking your children to identify the leaves that they collect!

leaf coastersMaterials

Scissors
Thin cardboard boxes, such as a cereal or pasta box
Clear contact paper
Red and/or yellow construction paper
Pencil
Marker
Ruler

Instructions

1.    Collect an assortment of different leaves from your backyard. Be sure to grab a good variety of colors and shapes. Make sure that the leaves are in good shape and will fit within a 4 x 4-inch coaster.  As back-up, have your children gather a few extra handfuls. For example, if you want to make four coasters, gather 6-8 leaves just in case the leaves don't turn out to be the right fit. If you don’t have access to outdoor leaves, you can make your own leaves with colorful construction paper.

2.    Insert the leaves inside a large book or place them under a heavy object for a couple of days. This will help dry the leaves out of any pre-existing water they may have soaked up. Note: This step is ideal, but not mandatory.

3.    As your leaf dries, identify your leaf samples. You can find out what type of leaves you have selected by checking a few leaf identification sites or taking a trip to your local library for a tree guide. If your child enjoys this part, they may want to try their hand at creating a tree journal.making leaf coasters

4.    Next, use a pencil and ruler to trace 4 x 4-inch squares onto your used thin cardboard boxes. Trace enough squares to cover the amount of coasters you’d like to make (Four squares if you'd like to have four coasters). Using scissors, help your children cut all the squares out.

5.    Trace and cut out two 4 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch squares of clear contact paper, to be used on one coaster. For example, if you want to make four coasters, you will need eight squares of contact paper.

6.    Take one leaf at a time and place it in the center of the coaster. If your leaf is very small, you may want to duplicate your leaves or fill the extra space with some colorful construction paper.

7.    Using a marker, label the leaf type along the top, right-hand corner. Before your child begins writing, help them plan their starting point to ensure the leaf’s full name fits.

8.    Repeat steps 6-7 until all coasters are covered with leaves and labeled.

9.    Finally, peel the contact paper square and carefully affix it over the coaster, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the sides. Once fixated, flip the coaster over so the side with the raw leaves is facing upward and secure the second piece of your contact paper to the back so that the two sticky borders meet, creating a seal. Trim the sides if needed.

Voila! I fun craft that your children are sure to love using.

What are some of you and your children’s favorite crafts to make during the fall season?

Photos courtesy of Scarlet Paolicchi.

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