Collecting Leaves With Grandchildren

Collecting Leaves With Grandchildren


One of my favorite fall activities is gathering leaves. I’ve been known to scatter them across my mantle, and across end tables for decoration. And I’m not above spray painting them for a drastic look. Just recently, I realized these little beauties falling to the ground offered my grandchildren more than a part-time job raking them. They are going to get introduced to the world of leaf collecting.

In the above video, you’ll find a new way to preserve leaves. This method of preserving leaves is a great way to introduce leaf collecting to your grandchildren. If for no other reason it allows them to handle the leaves without them becoming fragile.

Then there’s the time tested methods of leaf collecting.

Pressing Leaves

“Before leaves are prepared for the collection, they need to undergo a final drying and preserving process which can take up to six weeks. The best way to do this is by using a leaf press. The press not only preserves much of the leaf’s color and shape, it also reduces moisture to a point where mold and spoilage is minimized.

Students given an assignment to make a leaf collection generally don’t have weeks to prepare a collection. However, you must dedicate at least three to five days of “press” time for each leaf depending on its size and moisture content. Leaf exhibits become more attractive as the length of pressing time is extended.

Although I recommend you use a real leaf press for best results, there is a ‘low cost’ method used to press leaves. This method requires no special equipment and is outlined below. The method does demand a lot of space, a flat surface and a tolerant family.”

  • Select a flat area on the floor, desk, or tabletop in a room with good air circulation.
  • Prepare necessary sheets of unfolded newspaper adequate for the number of leaves you have collected. You want several paper thicknesses per layer between each pressing.
  • Place the fresh leaf specimen(s) to be pressed on the first sheet layers. Be careful not to let leaves overlap or wrinkle by overcrowding. Then simply use additional layers of paper between more pressings.
  • Cover the top and final layer of newspaper with stiff cardboard or plywood, which has been cut to the same size as the paper.
  • Place sufficient weight (books, bricks, etc.) on top of the plywood/cardboard to press leaves flat and hold them in position.

Preserving your leaf collection.

You will want to first prepare your leaves with an acrylic spray to preserve them. Especially if your partner has little hands. While it won’t make them as pliable as the Mod Podge, it will help.

Now you’re ready to mount your collection on exhibit board or create your own book of seasons. Each year you can add more to your scrap book, and maybe add some pictures where you found them together.

Because leaf collecting goes so beautifully with taking walks with the grandchildren, and enjoying a hot cup of cocoa together, what better way is it to spend a fall afternoon? 

Then grab a kid and enjoy the autumn color.



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