Homeschoolers love hands-on projects. It's practically in our
blood! There's something about having a project that a child can
physically touch and work with that helps cement the learning in
their fertile brains. That's why we were intrigued by the Pressed
Leaf Coaster Project ($42.25 for 25 projects, or $159 for 100 projects)
from Nature Watch. Think of it as a scientific craft project of
sorts. The kit is simple enough. It contains enough supplies to
make 25 coasters with various dried leaves. Each coaster has two
pieces of plastic, for the top and bottom of the coaster, silver
tape to hold the pieces together, and plastic feet for the bottom
of the coaster. The kit contains enough dried leaves (including
oak, fern, maple, willow, and ginkgo) for an average of three leaves
per project. Finally, a four page Activities and Facts sheet explains
the parts, types and functions of a leaf, as well as providing
a summary of photosynthesis.
When we all woke up one Sunday morning in October sniffling, sneezing
and coughing, it was clear church was out that morning. So we gathered
around a box of Kleenex and decided to get an early start on our
Christmas gifts by making the Pressed Leaf Coasters. The kit seems
to be designed for a classroom as it contains supplies for 25 projects,
but it would work equally well for a homeschool group or for gifts.
It would be appropriate for elementary-age students, although older
students would likely enjoy the project and learn much as well.
As we assembled the coasters, we discussed the information from
the Activities and Facts sheet. Our children cover a range of ages
and developmental levels, so we tried to adapt the information
to meet everyone's individual needs. The hands-on nature of the
project really helped the kids think about the different parts
of a leaf and understand the amazing design God placed in these
small factories. We found the project easy to complete, except
we had some trouble getting the silver tape to behave itself (the
taping became the grown-ups' job after the first few coasters)!
The information provided was clear and interesting, with helpful
diagrams. It would be nice to have some explanation included about
why many leaves change color in the autumn. The finished projects
are lovely and very unique, with a great story the kids can tell
to our friends and family who receive the coasters for Christmas
this year. If you are looking for a hands-on project about leaves
for your homeschool, the Pressed Leaf Coaster Project might be
just the ticket!