Would you like to do a leaf rubbing?
Some look at me tentatively, others are encouraged by their mom (Remember, you did that in preschool!), others step right up, eager to try. Leaf rubbing is one of the fall activities in the Longwood Children’s Garden where I volunteer.
The leaves are housed in page protectors that keep them flat and allow for many rubbings. Each child picks a favorite leaf (the larger ones are the most popular), then a fat crayon (pink and purple are popular among the girls). After placing a plain white paper over the leaf, we are ready to begin. I show them how to use their thumb and forefinger like pinchers, lay the crayon on its side, and move it back and forth in a steady rhythm. Some need help applying just the right amount of pressure. As they work, we talk about the veins of the leaf and the job they do, compare leaf veins to the veins in our hands, and think about the colors of fall and what that means. If there is no one waiting, a second color can be added, maybe even a third. Conversations are filled with praise and wonder and delight.
I remember doing leaf rubbings with my own kids when they were little, then again as a classroom teacher. They would be carefully cut out and become decorations for the windows, walls, or table. But, until a few weeks ago, it was to me a lost art. I’ve had so much fun with my little Longwood visitors that I decided it was the perfect fall activity to awaken my inner child. So yesterday I collected some leaves as I walked along the trail, then came home and created a few rubbings. And, just as always, it felt magical.
Sometimes you just need to be a kid again.