We’ve spent a lot of time over the summer vacation learning about nature, not only the bugs, insects, sea life, and other animals that we share our area with, but also the plants, and flowers too.

One thing though that we talk to the kids about is not taking anything home from our state parks and nature centers, but to leave it where the next group of visitors can see it too.

I heard a great quote once from a ranger that has stuck with me “Leave only footprints, take only memories”.

Occasionally we like to get creative with the memories we take with us, even though I do always take a lot of photographs.

On a recent walk I packed a small bag of crayons, a clipboard, and plain paper into my backpack.  As we came across trees, or leaves on the ground we did bark and leaf rubbings.

Here are a few tips for doing leaf and bark rubbings with your kids

  • Make sure the leaves on the ground aren’t too dry.  If they are, they are likely to break if you flatten them to rub over them with crayon.
  • Use a flat side of a crayon, or a blunt top to do the rubbings.  Using the point of a crayon will make it harder to show the markings.  Also don’t press too heavy on the crayon.
  • Make sure the objects you are using are as flat as possible.  Items such as flowers, feathers, and sticks won’t work as well as a flat leaf.
  • Items that make great rubbings are leaves, bark on trees, and pine needles.  You may also be able to do sand dollars and flat shells you find on the beach (I haven’t tried these yet though).

Now, what can you do with these bark and leaf rubbings?

  • Cut them out and stick them on blank cards to make greeting cards to send to family and friends.
  • Cut them out, and attach them to card stock and frame in small frames to hang on the wall.
  • Make a memory book, kids can write the name of each plant, or object that they used.  Maybe you could take a photo of each plant to put next to the rubbing.
  • Make a mixed media art project.  Have your kids create a work of art using paint, markers, pencils, or crayons, and attach the leaves to it.

Have you been doing any fun summer craft projects with your kids, I’d love to hear more about them if you have.

Hope you are all having a wonderful summer.

Happy crafting!