Hammer time with nature

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Leaves and flowers are great tools for further play and exploration with Little Feet. You can do lots with them and there are lots of teaching opportunities that can go along side that fun. Children have an insane amount of energy. Little Feet A is a runner. She can run and run and run for miles if she had an option and makes it look so easy, she takes after her Daddy in respect (definitely not me!). With this in mind sometimes it is fun to be able to channel this energy into an activity. 

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Using a wooden toy hammer from her tool set and a rolling pin from the play doh we created prints of leaves and flowers by first rolling the leaves onto paper and then hammering them. The impact transfers the leaf pattern and green pigment onto the paper and leaves a sort of shadow of the colour and the anatomy. A little like flower pressing but without actually having to keep them.

What you will need:

  • Leaves

  • Flowers

  • Wooden hammer

  • Rolling pin

  • Kitchen roll

  • White paper

  • Mashing tape (optional)

Instructions:

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  1. Collect from different shaped leaves and different coloured flowers. Try and pick leaves that have an obvious pattern on it's underside as it is these ones that will come out the best. Make sure the leaves are fresh and not ones on the ground. We need as much 'juice' in them as possible. By that I mean water as this will help the transference to paper a bit better. Equally they don't want be soaking after rainfall as that will soak your paper.

  2. Place your paper on the floor or a surface you don't mind getting a battering. Place your leaf or flower directly onto the paper and place a piece of kitchen roll on top of the item, making sure it is all covered. If you think you make need a little bit of masking tape to tape the kitchen roll and paper together to help it not move then put a little at each corner of the kitchen roll.

  3. With your rolling pin first, starting at the bottom, roll up and down over the leaf with a firm pressure a few times. These will squash the stem part and help flatten the leaf.

  4. Put the rolling pin to one side and now use the hammer, hammering all over the leaf. Make sure to make and effort around the edges of the leaf as this will help define the shape of your imprint.

  5. At this point, gently lift the kitchen roll up to see how the imprint is going. If you are happy with it, then take the roll off and discard it. If you are missing some of the imprint on the paper then keep hammering, concentrating on the parts that are missing.

Note: Bare in mind that flowers will not need as much banging as a leaf. If you over do the hammering you will lose the shape of your imprint. Experiment with a few flowers to find the right technique you need for an effective result. 

BBC bitesize have some great educational videos about plants and flowers that can accompany this activity. 

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