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Make Your Own Leaf Book


Making leaf books is a great way to celebrate trees and for students to remember their leafing expeditions.


  • a blank book/booklet or a loose-leaf notebook
  • crayons
  • clear contact paper
  • scissors
  • non-toxic paint and paintbrushes


Nancy F. Castaldo is the author of many books packed with inspiring ideas for childhood discovery and learning. In addition to the three titles above, Nancy has written activity guides for teaching children ages 6 to 9 about the ocean, rainforests, deserts, and rivers. All of these titles are published by Chicago Review Press.

Click here to learn about these books and others by Nancy Castaldo.

Start by collecting lots of leaves!

Place one leaf flat on a page in your book. Cut a piece of contact paper to cover the entire leaf. Lay the contact paper sticky-side down over the leaf. Smooth out any wrinkles.

If you work with very young students, you will want to elicit the support of parent volunteers or other grown-ups to cut the contact paper.
Arrange a few leaves on a clean page of your book. One by one, hold a leaf down with your finger. Paint over the edges of the leaf, working the brush from the inside of the leaf outward onto the paper. Wait a moment; then lift the leaf gently to reveal your leaf print.

Place another leaf underneath a page of your book. Using a crayon, color the page by rubbing over the leaf. Now you have a leaf rubbing!


Red and Gold
In the autumn months in much of the United States, throughout Canada, Europe, and northern Asia, many trees begin to lose their leaves. These trees are called deciduous, which means "falling off." Before the leaves fall, they turn bright red, gold, and orange.

Why do the leaves fall?

  • In autumn, the weather is getting cooler, causing the trees to slow their growth.
  • The water and sugar that flow through the trees also begin to slow down and eventually stop.
  • There are fewer hours of sunlight, which the trees need to produce their food.
  • And last, a new layer of cells begins to grow where the leaf meets the twig; that causes the leaf to finally separate from the twig.


Education World lesson plans: Trees Sprout Classroom Lessons Throughout the Year


This activity is excerpted from Nancy Castaldo's Sunny Days and Starry Nights, which is published by Chicago Review Press. The activity is one of more than 65 activities from Sunny Days and Starry Nights that are sure to inspire children as they discover and learn.

About the Author

A native of New York's Hudson Valley, Nancy Castaldo earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Marymount College and a Master of Arts from the State University of New York. As an environmental educator, author, and Girl Scout volunteer and board member, Castaldo has led numerous children's workshops. Her school programs include workshops on ocean creatures and other nature topics, creative writing, and pizza making/Italy. She has conducted programs at the Boston Children's Museum, Atlanta Zoo, and Tennessee Aquarium. Castaldo's books include River Wild: An Activity Guide to North American Rivers; Oceans: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9; Deserts: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9; and Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 6-9. She is also author of a historical-fiction picture book, Pizza for the Queen. To learn more about Nancy and her books, check out her Web site, www.nancycastaldo.com.

Article by Nancy Castaldo
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