Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ruminations on Leaf Rubbings

A couple of weeks ago, we started visits to our local schools' afterschool programs.  The programs are held at each public elementary school in our county and we visit for about 30 minutes, reading a few books and doing a craft with the kids.  For the first two visits we did a paper bag pumpkin craft, but that did not go over so well - it was way too complicated.  And then one of my brilliant staff members came up with an idea: leaf rubbings. 

The kids love them.  And we love them because they've made our visits so much easier.

If you have never done leaf rubbings, here's what you do:

Gather leaves from outside.  Put them in a sealed plastic bag for storage (otherwise they'll dry out and get crumbly).  Try to choose many different shapes and sizes.  Place a leaf underneath a sheet of plain, white paper (it's easier if the veins of the leaf are facing up) and draw with a crayon on top of the paper.  You'll see the pattern of the leaf come through as you color! 

Here are a few true facts about leaf rubbings:

1.  The kids will ask "Are these REAL LEAVES??"  (Yes, yes they are.)

2. Some kids will color too hard and their leaves will not show up as well.  Teach these kids the special trick of rubbing the crayon sideways on the paper.  This makes a lighter shade and really brings out the leaf pattern. 

3. Once you teach one or two kids this special trick, they will teach their friends.

4. Some of the kids will figure this out on their own and delight in trying out different ways to make leaf pictures.

5. Darker crayons work better than lighter crayons.

File this one under "So Simple, Why Didn't We Think of it Sooner?"