Preschool STEAM ~ Tempera Leaf Prints

Preschool STEAM (for children ages 2-6) is all about having fun with science, math and art!  There is no right or wrong way for children to experiment – the fun and learning comes from the doing!  Early childhood research shows us that little hands and minds learn best when at play.

For our November STEAM adventure, we focused on a “fall” art project – leaf monoprints!  We also discussed the science behind leaves changing color in the autumn months.



Leaves from the garden

Tempera paints (brown, red, yellow & white)

Medium size paint brushes


White paper

Some Science:

Before we created our leaf prints we talked about why leaves change from green to yellow, red and/or brown in the fall.  I shared the following explanation with everyone:

Leaves are colored by molecules called pigments. The pigment that causes leaves to be green is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is important for plants to make food using sunlight. During spring and summer when there is plenty of sunlight, plants make a lot of chlorophyll.

In autumn when it starts to get cold, some plants stop making chlorophyll. Instead, those plants break down chlorophyll into smaller molecules. As chlorophyll goes away, other pigments start to show their colors. This is why leaves turn yellow or red in fall.

Credit:  Arizona State University Ask a Biologist



  • Place a sheet of newspaper down on the table and lay a leaf on it.  Make sure that the back side (vein side) is facing up.
  • Put a white sheet of printing or drawing paper near you.
  • Dip a paint brush into one of the dipping colors.  Make sure to remove any excess paint from the brush.  Hold the leaf down with one finger while you gently stroke the paint all the way across it.
  • Don’t scrub the leaf.  Dip and stroke over and over the leaf until the entire leaf and stem are painted.
  • Lay the brush down.  Pick up the leaf and place the painted side down onto the white paper near you.
  • Put a little sheet of newspaper on top of the leaf and gently press down, making sure to press over the entire area.
  • Carefully remove the newspaper then gently lift the leaf pulling straight up.  There’s your leaf print!

Our Leaf Monoprints

We are taking a break from Preschool STEAM for the month of December but we’ll be back on January 28, 2019 with more fun and learning! Hope you can join us!

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