Nature is a wonderful thing and there are so many different forms. Leaves are one of its masterpieces, just look at the plants around you there are so different and diverse. Preserving the leaves that you find during your fall nature studies with kids is a fantastic way to capture their beauty while creating a record of the nature study that they have undertaken. Below you will find the easiest way to preserve leaves so that their delicate details and vibrant colours can be admired for years to come. So here you go a step-by-step guide to simple leaf preserving for nature journals with kids.
Preserving Leaves for Nature Journals
Nature journals are one of my favourite ways to record the nature explorations we do with our home education journey. Adding in actual nature whether it’s feathers, flowers or leaves adds another element and dimension to the journals alongside the photographs, drawings, and notes.
Adding in real leaves preserved helps to take nature back to the home, and study in more depth, developing scientific observation and documentation abilities. They can look at the various leaf species, the structures of the leaves and more details.
Once preserved the leaves form a keepsake of their adventures in the natural world encouraging them to appreciate the beauty of the environment around them.
Love this nature study activity why not try dissecting acorns next!
Tips for Successfully Preserving Autumn Leaves
- Choose leaves that are still fresh and vibrant to achieve the best results.
- Use a dedicated sketchbook or nature journal with acid-free paper so that your finds are more likely to stay complete.
- Handle the leaves gently during the entire process to avoid tearing or damaging them.
- When pressing multiple leaves, make sure there’s enough space between them to prevent overlapping.
Materials You’ll Need to Preserve Fall Leaves
- Fallen leaves of various species
- Absorbent paper (newspaper, blotting paper, or paper towels)
- Heavy books or a flower press
- Sketchbook or similar nature journal
- Colored pencils, markers, or watercolors
- Transparent adhesive tape
- Fine-point pens for labeling
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Preserve Leaves
- Collecting Leaves: Choose leaves that are vibrant and relatively flat. Collect them during dry weather to prevent mold growth during the preservation process.
- Preparing the Leaves: Gently clean the leaves to remove dirt and debris.
- Pressing the Leaves: Place a layer of absorbent paper on a flat surface. Arrange the leaves on the paper, making sure they don’t overlap. Add another layer of absorbent paper on top of the leaves. Place heavy books or use a flower press to apply even pressure. Let the leaves press for about 2-4 weeks, replacing the absorbent paper if it becomes damp.
Adding Leaves to Nature Journals
There are many ways to add the leaves to the nature journals check out some of the ideas below.
Drawing the Leaves
Use colored pencils, markers, or watercolors to create detailed drawings of the leaves. Pay attention to the leaf’s shape, veins, serrations, and any unique features. Accuracy is important for scientific documentation.
How about adding in a little math exercise and creating some symmetry drawings with any leaves that may break these are great for learning about symmetry but also fantastic for observation and drawing skills.
Labeling and Noting
Label each drawing with the leaf’s common and scientific name, date of collection, and location. You can also add notes about the tree species, habitat, and any interesting observations.
Adding Preserved Leaves
Attach the leaves to your nature journals with transparent adhesive tape gently on the corners. You don’t want to use glue as this will affect the leaves.
Preserving leaves this way is the easiest way that you can do it however if you would like to try something different then why not have a go at these glycerin and wax paper methods of preserving leaves?