Autumn Leaf Painting & Chinese Literacy

Leaf Painting Literacy Activity

This leaf painting activity is one of many examples of how I teach my daughter Chinese characters through play.

Since we are a 2 working-parent home with a silly toddler that is often tearing down the place, many parents have asked me about time management!

We are really busy, but the secret is that we integrate art, recess, and Chinese learning simulaneously!

Recently, I spent the weekend solo-parenting while my husband was working. When 4yo 老大 and 1yo 老二 was at the neighborhood park, 老大 gathered various leaves, while 老二 banged on everything with tree branches and rocks.  We had a great time running around and exploring!

When we got home, I put sleepy 老二 to nap, and 老大 kept herself busy “washing” the leaves.

Try this: Fun Printable Scavenger Hunts for Kids (Chinese, Korean, English)

Washing leaves in the sink

This was not an assigned chore; 老大 LOVES water play and could single-handedly cause a drought if I didn’t keep her in check!

Here she is having a blast with scooping and pouring, reluctant to transition to lunch.  She even told me that she remembered to turn off the faucet – “妈妈! 节约用水! (Māmā, jiéyuē yòngshuǐ! / Mommy!  We must conserve water!).

Plus, she got towels to wipe up anything she splashed – Dr. Maria Montessori would be so proud!

After lunch, I asked 老大 to share a few thoughts about autumn, and we wrote them down, including:

秋天的树叶改变颜色 然后漂落下来.

Qiūtiān de shùyè gǎibiàn yánsè ránhòu piào luòxià lái.

Autumn leaves change color and then drift down.

Related: 10 Fun and Free Chinese Teaching Activities with Leaves! (Printable)

Since 改 was a forgotten character for 老大, we chose this sentence as the focus of this painting activity.

However, if your child is just learning how to speak and read Chinese, you could focus on repeating the same character (eg, 叶, 秋天).

If you are not able to write Chinese characters, you could use flashcards or print out key words.

Leaf Painting Literacy Activity

What you need:

  1. Large sheet of paper
  2. Paint (love the results of watercolor!)
  3. Markers
  4. Painter’s tape
  5. Leaves (smaller ones work best)

What to do:

  1. Write down sentence on at top of paper
  2. Draw tree trunk and branches
  3. Have child read sentence
  4. Place leaf over a character
  5. Dip brush into paint
  6. Trace the leaf with paintbrush
  7. Repeat for other characters
  8. Add scenic details as desired
Leaf Painting Literacy Activity

How do you think it turned out?!  I’m biased, but I kind of love it!

Have you tried this leaf painting literacy activity?

If you try this activity, please let us know in the comments below! What age(s) are your kid(s) and how did it go? We’d love to hear about your learning experience!

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Happy playful learning, friends!

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