Relief Sculpture: Fall Leaves

What You Need:

  • Tempera paint in the primary colors (red, yellow, blue)
  • Paint brush
  • White modeling clay
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard or card stock

What You Do:

  1. Have your child draw a leaf shape on the cardboard or on card stock. If possible, go outside with your child and collect some fall leaf specimens for inspiration. It may be helpful to have your child trace the leaf onto the cardboard instead of drawing it freehand.
  2. Help your child to cut the leaf out. Depending on the thickness of the cardboard or card stock used, this may need to be done by an adult.
  3. Have your child paint the leaf green by mixing blue and yellow paint. This will be a summer leaf.
  4. Once dry, ask your child to build up a second leaf form onto the green leaf using modeling clay. They do not need to cover the entire green leaf. Instead, they can create texture or organic (more free form) shapes. Have them press the clay firmly onto the leaf surface. If it does not stick, add some glue under the clay.
  5. Ask your child to paint the white modeling clay parts with fall colors. Have them create different colors by mixing the paint.  This is a great opportunity to talk to your child about the different colors of each season, and ask them specifically about the colors of fall. 

Your child can create a tree full of fall leaf relief sculptures. Encourage them to repeat this activity more than once. Try different colors or patterns of colors on the leaves.

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