Published 10 July 2016 ● Last Updated on 25 November 2016
Ah summer holidays, that time of the year that kids can’t wait to begin and parents can’t wait to end! Haha no really, I am actually looking forward to the day my kids get off school (another week to go) and I no longer have to follow the routine of their school pick-ups / drop-offs to schedule my day. Sure, it will be distracting work-wise to have them around, and there is bound to be the occasional disentanglement of limbs that I must undertake, and they will likely flood the floors when they think I am not looking … but .. but… Shoot! I forgot the silver lining!
Luckily for me, I follow my blog and have enough kids activities to fill up the hours (I think!). One idea is to send them to the playground early in the morning and have them collect a pile of fallen leaves to get home.
Fallen leaves provide a beautiful palette for the imagination. They come in so many shapes and sizes. Some tall and tapering, some winged. Some prematurely fallen pale greens, some old brown and thickly veined. Some crisply dry, some still moist and supple. Some worm-holed, some impeccable symmetric. They remind me of the game we played when looking at the clouds as kids: where we had to figure what familiar thing a cloud most resembled, and so we tried to imagine as we squinted our eyes just so… this one’s a dragon, we muttered, and that? Perhaps a bunny!
That is the idea behind leaf critters, and the inspiration came from illustrator Katja Enseling’s work that I encountered on Pinterest. From crabs to butterflies to jellyfish, your kids (and hopefully mine!) will find a world of familiar animals hiding in their leaf pile. Give them some paint and let it go!
Tip: I have used acrylic paints as they work well across mediums, as well as enamel paints where I wanted a bright sheen (see that butterfly’s red?). Do let me know if you use other colouring mediums and if they work well!
Of course, there is no reason to stick to the familiar. Older children especially may find it more interesting to doodle their own imaginations onto the leaves, perhaps creating monsters and aliens. When I tried my hand at creating the unreal, I could imagine vampires, with the hard-veined dried leaves looking like withered wings! But what I finally have produced in the picture below are the ubiquitous little green men. Yes, I turned teen in the 1990s, so Martians are still my thing!
Tip: Use PVA craft glue to stick leaves on paper in case you want to frame it up! But if the leaf is brittle, I’d suggest Blu Tac to secure your creations at the leaf-stem joint.
Which brings us to the most important thing, while your kids are having the holiday fun with art supplies and dead leaves, do not forget to join in on the action. It does not have to be a serious reproduction of something you’ve seen. When was the last time you created a new creature? Pick up that paint brush and have a lazy day too. Or at least, have a cup of tea, like the Wise Old Elf!
Tissue box monsters