Activity: Nature Tangles

In this activity, we are going to look at changes of colour and shape that are created by the weather, nature and you.

Autumn leaves placed together to create a cross-stitch
Leaves placed on top of one another in different shapes
Autumn leaves placed together to create a cross-stitch

It is the perfect time to take a walk outdoors and notice the seasonal change of colours in nature.

Pick some of your favourite leaves, look carefully at the colours and arrange in patterns and shapes, then watch them change day by day.

For this activity you will need leaves that are still fresh, flexible and colourful.

Autumn leaves on a white background

Choose two leaves in different colours.

With scissors, carefully cut a selection of lines in each leaf, roughly in equal length and width. Be careful not to cut to the end of the leaf, we need to keep them attached.

Position one leaf on top of the other, so the lines on the two leaves are crossing each other.

Start from the top, take one strip at a time and move it to the front and then the back, to weave the leaves together, then work on the next strip.

Carry on weaving to create your square or diamond patterns, you could weave in another leaf if you have room.

A brown leaf cut into strips and a yellow and green leaf within scissors
A hand placing two leaves together to create the start of a cross-stitch
A hand placing two leaves together to create the start of a cross-stitch
A finished cross-stitch made up of two leaves
A completed cross-stitch of three different leaves

Different shapes and colours of leaves might give you different ideas.

Using two leaves in different colours, place them front and back together and give them a cut, or two, straight or curly. Try different ways of cutting and joining.

Insert them together to see what you can create.

Have a go, happy exploring and making!

Leaves placed on top of one another in different shapes

Now that you have created your artworks watch them dry, day after day to see how their colour and shape change.

Some leaves might have holes showing where mini creatures have been eating. Can you try threading through these holes and following those journeys?

You could use a hole punch and make your own holes, try and fold the leaf once or twice before making holes.

Some leaves have long stalks and are perfect for threading through the holes.

Six leaves of different shapes across a white background
Three leaves hole-punched to create small holes
Four leaves connected by stems going through small holes

Do share your images on our social media #NCmaking we want to see your art!

Tips at home:

  • Some leaves dry out overnight and will become difficult to cut and fold, so use them soon after you pick them.

  • With a grown up choose the leaves that you know are safe to handle. Some leaves might sting, be toxic or even poisonous, always ask an adult if unsure. We would avoid using ivy, holly, apple, rhubarb, rhododendron and oak tree leaves.

  • Always wash your hands after playing with natural materials.

  • Some leaves might be harmful for pets so unfortunately they won’t be able to help with this activity.

This activity was created by Play and Learn Facilitator, Milee Lee

Image of Play and Learn Facilitator, Milee Lee

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