Simple fall leaf finger painting in preschool

This is such a simple idea that can be used for all seasons. Children who don’t really like to get their hands messy will usually try this without a worry…

To make these fall leaves, mix up a little paint with glue then set out a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper…


Put a glob of each color of glue/paint on the wax paper then place another sheet of wax paper over the top…

Invite your students to rub their fingers or hands on top of the wax paper to spread the paint around….

If the wax paper on top tears during this process, just peel it off the torn piece and add a new piece. Some of our students really liked to rub hard so we had to replace a couple of our top layers of wax paper. I encouraged the children to try using their finger to move the paint around the paper too…

Once the paint is spread out between the two sheets of wax paper, then set it all aside to dry.  After the painted, wax paper dries, the wax paper will become a little stiff (from the glue/paint mixture)…

I cut away the non-painted part of the wax paper and then hung our wax paper leaves in the window…

I used this process last year too to make a pumpkin.  We used orange paint and added construction paper eyes and a nose after the children spread out the paint – then set them aside to dry. Lots of ways to vary this idea and simple too!

By |2011-10-16T06:00:49+00:00October 16th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. La-La's Home Daycare October 16, 2011 at 10:16 am - Reply

    These turned out soo cute! What a great idea, but I really think my kids love getting messy. But we still may try it. I love different versions of painting.


    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 16, 2011 at 10:25 am - Reply

      I like to mix it up a bit:)

  2. Andrea October 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    That looks great! How is the ration between glue and paint – 1:1? Thank you so much for your awesome page- I got a lot of great ideas I try with my little one:-)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Just a squirt (tablespoon) of glue to a container of glue. Not much glue really:)

  3. pammypam October 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    thats awesome, cuz believe it or not, i have some twos who prefer not to get messy!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      I believe it:)

  4. Beader Bubbe October 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    What a great idea….wish I had it on Friday when grandson had a sleepover…because I had all the items in the house already….even some sparkle paint…that might be good too….oh, well, next time….

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Haha – that is the way things work for me too. I always find out after I send the kids home .That is why my to-do list for next year is so long!

  5. Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree October 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    Love this! We’ll be making these tomorrow!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2011 at 8:47 am - Reply


  6. andiejaye October 17, 2011 at 12:22 am - Reply

    never seen this approach before! will have to get some wax paper. (is that the same as freezer paper?) i love art that can hang in the window 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2011 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Yes, it is pretty much the same.

  7. Jill October 18, 2011 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    i love this idea! I have a few kiddos that hate getting dirty and this would be perfect for them!! also i love your blog and your facebook page! I am trying to be a better home daycare provider by providing my kiddos lots of different experiences each day and your blog/facebook page have come in sooo handy!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      I wish you the very best Jill! How wonderful that you are giving your students lots of different opportunities!

  8. gina t November 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    hi, how long does this take to dry? does the top layer of wax paper peel away after it dries or before? thanks! this looks beautiful to hang in the window!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      It dries fairly quickly but we let it sit overnight. We do not peel away the top layer. The paint/glue mixture makes the two sides stick together and then we just cut the excess paper off around the painted areas. No need to remove the wax paper once the painting is completed – it will be sealed in between the wax paper.

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