Classroom Activity
Fingerpaint Leaf Prints
AGES 3–4

  • a wide assortment of leaves
  • fingerpaint
  • newspapers
  • white paper

Goal: Children will observe the different shapes, sizes, and vein patterns of leaves as they make fingerpaint leaf prints.

In Advance: Take a walk outside with children to collect leaves that have recently fallen. Upon returning to your classroom, talk about how they look and feel. Invite children to compare the leaves and sort them by size, shape, and color.

1. Ask each child to find the bumpy side of a leaf -- the side with the raised veins.

2. Show children how they can use their fingers to spread a thin layer of fingerpaint on the bumpy side of their leaves. Talk about how this side of the leaf feels.

3. Ask children to put their leaves, paint-side down, on white paper, place newspaper pages over them, and press to make prints. Children can then remove the newspaper, peel off the leaves (with clean fingers), and marvel at their colorful leaf prints. Compare the physical characteristics of children's leaf prints.

4. Place the prints on a large piece of craft paper to make a fall class mural.

Remember: Fingerpainting is an exciting sensory experience. Before chidlren make their prints, they might enjoy an extended period of time to freely explore the slippery texture of fingerpaint.


If possible, take a neighborhood walk or look outside your window to watch leaves falling from the trees. Notice how they glide, spin, or quickly drop down. Then put on some soft music and invite children to pretend that they're the falling leaves. Point out all the different kinds of "falling leaf" dances children are doing.

Here are some of children's favorite books about the fall.

All Falling Down by Gene Zion (HarperCollins)
Frederick by Leo Lionni (Pantheon)
The Wonderful Tree by Adelaide Holl (Golden Press)