Play It Forward Therapy

Pressed Leaf Placemat

Pressed Leaf Placement

Q: Why do leaves fall from dogwood trees?
A: They’re afraid of the bark.
Q: How do leaves get from place to place?
A: They use Autumn-obiles.
The season of Fall brings a smile to my face (as do corny jokes and pumpkin spice lattes!).
You’ll enjoy the beauty of Fall all year round with these Pressed Leaf Placemats or Pressed Leaf Bookmarks…
Fall is the perfect time of year to go for a nature walk and bring the beauty of the outdoors… indoors. These Pressed Leaf Project ideas address a variety of developmental skills.

Top 5 Reasons To Enjoy Nature While Boosting Development

  1. Physical health and mental well-being:  Being outdoors or going for a nature walk is good for your physical health and mental well being.
  2. Improved mood:  Research studies have shown that being in nature can improve your mood, emotional well being and decrease stress.
  3. Sensory processing development:  Gathering different types of leaves is a rich sensory experience.  The touch system benefits from feeling the different textures of the leaves (smooth, bumpy, dry or wet).  The visual system helps you to discriminate or pick out the different shapes, colors and sizes of leaves.  This also is good practice to for increasing attention span and learning to focus. The olfactory system is essential for noticing the different scents of trees such as the piney smell of evergreen trees or the faint, floral scent of cherry trees.
  4. Fine motor skills: Picking up leaves and holding tiny stems improves finger dexterity and fine motor precision.
  5. Connecting with nature and quality time:  Time spent in nature connects us to the outside world and can inspire feelings of love and empathy for each other. (
Check out the video tutorial for how to make pretty a Pressed Leaf Placemat or Pressed Leaf Bookmark

Pressed Leaf Placemat or Bookmark

You will need

  • Leaves
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Cardstock or construction paper
  • Laminator with laminating sheets or clear contact paper
  • Black permanent pen


  1. Collect a variety of leaves on a nature walk.  Bring along a container to collect your leaves.
  2.  Lay them in between 2 paper towels to dry.  Place a heavy book on top and allow to dry overnight.
  3.  Glue the leaves on the paper.
  4. Cut out rectangles for bookmarks or arrange leaves on a large piece of paper for a placemat.
  5. Laminate or cover with clear contact paper and trim to fit.

Pro Tips:

  • Play “I Spy” on the nature walk.
  • Practice visual attention, focus and discrimination by trying to find a certain color or type of leaf in the background.
  • Take some deep breaths of fresh air.  Breath in slowly for a count to 3, Hold, then breath out slowly to encourage a calm body and mind.

And for the last joke of the day before you “leave”…

Q:  Why were there so many people hanging out by the tree?

A:  It was a Poplar Tree!


You may also like Pumpkin Fidget.


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