Artfully Montessori: Children Enjoy Making Seasonal Cards Featuring Pressed Autumn Leaves for Their Handmade Gifts!


I got this great design for the header photo of this article from one of my favorite sites: Shabby Blog Designs. You might enjoy checking out their designs!

In the Montessori Outdoor Classroom, there are different ways to preserve the beauty of nature. One old stand-by is simply placing pretty leaves & flowers in a big heavy book then leaving them to dry between the pages for a week or so.

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

Preserving leaves in a big heavy book can be very cumbersome and also may discolor the pages of the book. I prefer using a flower press. 

Over the years, my Preschool classes have enjoyed pressing flowers & leaves in a plant press designed for that purpose. The plant press pictured below is one made just for children! This one is available at Amazon at this link: Children's Flower Press. 

It is fun for children to press the beautifully colored leaves of Autumn and then use them to make lovely cards for the holiday season. 

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

You can see in the photo below the leaves that were dried in Autumn and are now ready to make into pretty cards. 

Holiday Cards from Nature

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Whenever I have offered this activity to the children in the Montessori environment, it has always been very popular and most satisfying. You can read more about pressing leaves with children at my past post, just click on the link: Flower and Leaf Pressing.

One of the easiest ways to use the pressed leaves is to feature them on the front of seasonal greeting cards that the children love to make with glitter glue and heavy card stock.

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

For this project I offered the children:

  • Pressed leaves
  • Heavy, colored card stock folded in half
  • Glitter glue  squeezed into a little saucer
  • Glue brush for applying the glitter glue
  • Bits of colorful torn paper, ribbons, sequins, and even lace & fabric trim
  • Markers
First, the child covers the front side of the folded card stock with the glitter glue by painting it on with a brush. Then, the s/he chooses a pressed leaf and places it on the glue covered card. The child then paints more of the glitter glue over the leaf so that it is securely attached to the card stock. S/he continues to apply and glue bits of paper, etc to the card until it is done!  

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Later, after the card projects are completed and all dry, I have found that painting them with Modpodge keeps them nicely preserved.

Next, the children can write their little messages in the cards and give them to their families during the holiday season. 

It's fun to attach the cards to little hand-made gifts that the children have created for their loved ones. Here is a sweet, nature-based project that little children have fun making.

A Pretty Holiday Gift from Nature

Clove Pomander Lemons   
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Pomander projects can be made with lemons, cloves, colorful netting and ribbon. And, these smell so nice for the holiday season!

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

For this project I offered the children:

  • A fresh lemon
  • A saucer full of whole cloves
  • A toothpick (for creating holes in the lemon for poking in the cloves)
  • Squares of colorful netting to wrap around the completed pomander
  • A precut ribbon for tying the netting around the pomander
  • The child's handmade card to be attached to this lovely holiday gift!
The child starts by using the toothpick to poke a hole in the lemon. Then, it is easier to poke the stem part of the clove into the toothpick hole. 
Continue this process until the lemon is nicely covered with cloves.
Next, wrap the clove lemon (pomander) with the netting cloth and tie it at the top with a pretty swatch of ribbon.
Wherever these pomanders are set or hung, the fragrance of cloves will fill the air! 
Another holiday gift that is fun for children to make is a little wooden ornament for the Christmas tree.

Another Pretty Holiday Gift Using Tools 

Hand-made Wooden Tree Ornament
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company


For this project I offered the children the following:

  • Woodwork table or bench
  • A child-size hand drill
  • Child-size safety goggles
  • A c-clamp for securing the wooden shape to the woodwork table
  • Precut wooden shapes (here's that link: Shapes for Craft Projects.)
  • Paints, markers, or stickers to decorate the wooden shapes
  • Thin ribbon or silver thread to attach to the wooden shape ornament
  • The child's handmade card to be attached to this lovely holiday gift!
The child/ren first choose the wooden shape they like. 
The safety goggles are put on and then, s/he secures the wooden shape to the woodwork table with the c-clamp. (lots of fine motor skills exercised here!)
Next, the child uses the hand drill to drill a hole in the upper part of the wooden shape.
After the hole is drilled, the child unlocks the c-clamp to release the wooden shape.
Then, the child takes the shape (ornament) to the art area to decorate it! 
When the decorating is all done, then the pretty little ribbon or thread is poked through the drilled hole and tied into a bow for hanging on the tree.

You can read more about tools & their importance in the development of life skills for the young child at my past post by clicking here: Kids and Tools in the Montessori Room.   

I am so happy to have you visiting my blog and I hope you have gotten some fun ideas for the children in your group. 
It is always nice for me to hear your ideas, so please feel free to write a comment in the section below!

Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

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