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Naturally Educational » 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Fall, Science, Weather » Leaf Spirits

Leaf Spirits

I saw this lovely autumn-themed craft on Twig and Toadstool, a very inspiring place, indeed, and was motivated to make some “leaf spirits” of my own.

We made a few changes so that we could use materials we had available and  my four year old could participate more.  We also made one of the leaves into a lacing / stitching card, which was a bit of a challenge for me to set-up and you might choose to skip this step.

Unfortunately, I deleted about 100 photographs off of my camera and so I lost the photos of our leaf people in progress, but the instructions are very simple!


  • Leaf templates or actual leaves for the shapes
  • Chenille stems / pipe cleaners
  • Wooden beads (for heads)
  • Tacky craft glue
  • Yarn (for hair)
  • Acorn cap (for hat)
  • Stiff felt
  • Scissors
  • Single hole punch (optional – only if you wish to make a lacing card)


  1. Trace the leaf shape onto the felt.
  2. Cut out each shape on two pieces of felt.  (If you wish to make this into a stitching card as I did with the red leaf, use a single hole punch to punch holes through both pieces of felt. This may have been an unnecessary complication, though!)
  3. Cut a chenille stem in half and string a wooden bead about halfway down.
  4. Take yarn or wool roving to make the hair.  Wrap one end of the chenille stem around the “hair”.  Glue an acorn cap on top of the head.
  5. Glue the bottom of the chenille stem onto the leaf, with the “head” poking out.
  6. Glue the matching shape on top of the leaf.
  7. Let dry. Stitch if desired.  Then, use clear fishing wire or thread to hang up the craft as a decoration.

Educational Connections:

  • Science: Identify the shapes of leaves from local tree species. Discuss why leaves change color.
  • Arts: Identify and describe the many colors of the autumn leaves.

Books About Autumn Leaves

There are so many great books and stories about Autumn leaves.  Here are a few in the 4-8 range and I will share some more simple ones in a post with a craft appropriate for toddlers and younger preschoolers.

By the Light of the Harvest Moon by Harriet Ziefert is a magical tale of leaf people who come to life and enjoy a delicious and fun harvest festival. Their celebration is filled with good food, delightful games, and lots of love. Your children will probably recognize a lot of their own favorite autumn activities. The book is a little long for toddlers and younger preschoolers but the charming, fanciful and warm illustrations should grab their attention and it is just right for children four to eight. This book is a perfect addition for lessons about the harvest, fall, apples, or pumpkins.

Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber describes the shapes and colors of falling leaves from a child’s perspective using vivid metaphors: “Stubby fingers, brown as dirt, reach from the slender white oak leaf” or “The basswood’s glowing yellow leaves are shaped like hearts with little teeth.” Older children will have fun identifying leaves on nature walks and coming up with their own metaphors. Younger children will still be able to appreciate the lively text of no more than two to four lines per page. Lush illustrations by Leslie Evans make this a joy to share with groups of mixed ages.

Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) by Betsy Maestro is a great reference book for children.  Most children will probably not enjoy it read in one sitting but it is handy to have around when questions arise.  The illustrations are wonderful for showing children why the leaves change color and the text provides helpful explanations at the elementary (or non-scientifically gifted parent) level.

Check out more great Story + ART at stART!

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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Fall, Science, Weather · Tags: , , ,

One Response to "Leaf Spirits"

  1. We read Leaf Jumpers too. It is such fun.