This project uses simple materials found in nature to create a squirrel in a tree, but kids can use their imagination to create lots of different animals or landscapes using leaves.
Part of the fun of this art project is gathering your materials. Take a nature walk together and look for leaves of varying shape, size and color. You’ll need a large, long leaf for the tail, two medium-sized oval leaves for the head and body, and 4 small leaves for the ears, arm, and leg. A few extra small leaves are nice to embellish the tree.
The leaves will last longer if you first dry them in the microwave. Set them on two sheets of paper towel, and then cover with another sheet. Microwave at half power for around 30 seconds. You might want to experiment with the cooking times—if the edges curl up you know you’ve cooked them too long. Watch them carefully as they can burn easily.
Have children draw a tree trunk up the side of their paper, with one limb extending across the bottom of the page. Make sure there is plenty of room for the squirrel to fit on the branch.
Glue down the leaf for the body first, setting it just above the drawn tree limb, and then glue the leaf for the head on top. Continue with the other leaves, adding the tail, ears, and limbs. Then glue the eye (if you don’t have googley eyes, you could probably find something in nature like a berry). Finally, glue some small leaves to the drawn tree branch.
Now that you’ve got your squirrel assembled, you can draw in an acorn in the squirrel’s hands. By the time we were done the kids already had other ideas for different animals to make: lizards, turtles, fish, and so on. Have fun!