{Play} Fall Memory Box and Leaf Rubbing

October 27, 2011 in All Posts, Play, Toddler Activities

The title of this post could be Fall Memory Box and Leaf Rubbing Gone Wrong.  But is a parent-planned activity that doesn’t pan out as we parents intended necessarily a failed project?

For instance, Jane never paints the object we set out to paint at the beginning of an art session (the perfect examples are here and here).  But she eventually gets around to doing whatever it is she thinks is best – and the most fun – with the materials at hand.  That’s what playing is all about, isn’t it?!

Read on to see what happened with our latest project and how you can make your own memory box for nature walks … and maybe a leaf rubbing . . .


  • an old shoebox or other easy to carry box
  • markers
  • crayons
  • paper
  • leaves (try to find vein-y ones)
  • optional:  stickers

Memory Box

HOW TO | Decorate your box however you’d like and fill it with anything!

For this activity, we had an old shoebox lying around (actually it was a new shoebox for a pair of gunmetal flats I just bought and love!) and Jane came to me asking for markers so she could color it.

What are you making?  I asked.

A memory box, she replied.

What are you going to put in it?

It’s a surprise, Jane smiled.

Since we needed to go out to collect some leaves for our Leaf Rubbings, I suggested we take the box with us on our nature walk.  Jane decided we would have a scavenger hunt!  She “drew” out what various items looked like for us to find on her “scavenger hunt list,” like acorns and oak tree leaves.

We collected fallen leaves, acorns, magnolia burrs and sweet gum burrs.

Leaf Rubbing

HOW TO | Place a piece of paper over a leaf and color over it with a crayon – press the leaf first if necessary.

When we got home to do our leaf rubbings, I showed Jane how to do one first.

This is how it turned out for me:

This is how it turned out for her:

She was too frustrated by the whole process and just threw the crayons on the floor.  Guess we’ll be saving this project for next year when she’s ready!

Have you started any projects with your toddler that you’ll be “saving for next year”?

LEARN!  Fine motor skills, observation, nature, environment

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Chrissy – who has written posts on The Outlaw Mom® Blog – Creative Living in a Conventional World.

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