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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Making Art Together

Toddler Art Activity: Leaf and Flower Collages

Today kicked off our summer session of Materials Play - a weekly drop-in activity for especially for toddlers. Our summer intern, Aiyi, has been helping me plan the activities. We have many fun ideas, so it is hard to choose! Since the orchard is awash with greenery of all kinds, we thought we'd try an idea I've seen on Pinterest using leaves and petals to create a collage on contact paper.

 leaf collage on contact paper

We happen to have a narrow roll of lightweight contact film that was donated to us. I think a heavier contact paper- like the kind you can find in the shelf liner section of the dollar store-would have been better. We prepped the contact paper by cutting it into trips twice as long as we thought the finished collages should be.

 table setup for leaf collages

Then, placing a sheet film side down/paper side up on the short table and light table, I peeled back the paper to expose half, sticky side up. I used painter's tape to secure the strip to the table so it wouldn't shift as the kids worked. Next time I might trim the flap of paper that was left, but I just taped that down too. I also taped a few pieces of contact paper to the window, should anyone be inspired to create their collage there.

 table setup for leaf collages

A few children were interested in dumping petals and leaves on their sticky surface. One girl just liked pressing her hands and petals on the paper and taking them off again. If I were doing this with a class I would definitely have the students collect their own petals and leaves but I'd also have a few items I'd collect ahead of time. When the children were done with their arrangement I peeled the rest of the paper off and folded the newly exposed half of the contact paper onto it. The kids then pressed their arrangement together and I told them to look at their collage over the next few days to see how it changes.

 leaf collage on contact paper

This program is for the half hour before the 10:30 storytime in the reading library, so this is as far as we took it. When/if I do something like this with older children I might have them draw a large shape on a piece of white paper to slide under the contact paper so they could arrange their leaves and flowers in a shape they'd like to cut their contact paper into later. And, speaking of storytime: to help the participants make further connections with the materials we used, Abigail included some books in a gardern/leaf theme in storytime directly after: Leaf Man by Lois Elhert's, Ava's Poppy by Marcus Pfister, What If Everything Had Legs by Scott Menchin, and We're Rabbits written by Lisa Westberg Peters, Illustrated by Jeff Mack. She didn't get around to it, but My Garden by Kevin Henkes would have been a great one too. If you find yourself in the care of a toddler on a Friday morning between now and the end of August, stop on by at 10 am in the Studio! (Details here.) Next week's materials: pasta and paint!   



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 



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