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Painted Plant Prints

Identify trees by their leaf shapes and structures; then capture leaf symmetry with painted leaf prints.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Organize students into small groups to study leaf structure. Take a nature walk to identify leaves by their shape and structure. Have several plant or tree identification guides available, one for each group if possible.
    2. Once leaf types are identified, students use Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils to sketch the leaves they see during the nature walk. Remind students to label each sketch by leaf type.
    3. When certain a plant isn't harmful (poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettle, among others), students pick leaf samples.
    4. Upon returning to the classroom, ask students to cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Demonstrate for students how to apply a small amount of Crayola Washable Paint to the underside of the leaf in preparation for creating a leaf print. Have students do the same.
    5. Once painted leaves have been pressed onto paper with even pressure, lift to see the detailed prints created. Repeat as desired. Allow time for paint to dry.
    6. Students label each leaf print with a Crayola Washable Marker.
    7. Students present their leaf prints to small groups of classmates. During their presentations, ask students to share their knowledge of the type of leaves they printed and information about their trees.
  • Standards

    LA: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

    LA: Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    SCI: Observe and compare the many kinds of living things that are found in different areas.

    SCI: Plan and carry out investigations to test whether plants from different settings have different needs for water, sunlight, and type of soil.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Organize a school yard field trip for the class. Have students bring along a sketch pad to draw they types of leaves, trees, bushes, etc. that they see. Upon returning to the classroom, students work in small groups to identify the types of leaves, trees, bushes, etc. that they observed in their school yard. Brainstorm why these plants are able to survive and thrive in the climate the students live in.

    Students ask relatives and friends that live in different climates to share samples of tree leaves, bush twigs, etc. from their hometowns. Also ask relatives and friends to share the type of climate they live in. Students identify the types of leaves, twigs, etc. that have been shared. Compare and contrast the items; students brainstorm why there may be differences in plant types from their home to that of relatives and friends.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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