A love for nature starts when children interact with it, when they spend time on it, observing and noticing the changes through the seasons and, of course, through playing with it and in it. A way to encourage deep observation is going for a walk (even if it is at your garden) and collecting leaves and flowers to imprint on a piece of fabric. You can ask your kids to look at the colours, shapes and the veins of the leaves. I have a simple rule to keep sustainable gardens; never take the first, never take the last, always leave something for someone else and something for the garden to keep growing.
Leaf pounding is the art of printing leaves and flowers onto a piece of cotton fabric. As you pound on the leaves and flowers, the chlorophyll and pigments are released and absorbed in the fabric.
Collect leaves and flowers with different colours, the best are moist and fresh as dry plants loose their pigments. Arrange them on top of a piece of cotton fabric creating the pattern that you want to imprint and cover it with another piece of fabric on top. Start pounding and see how the fabric starts absorbing the pigments and the leaves veins start showing.
Once they are ready you can get creative and sow them into a pillow case, glue them to a stick and make a nature flag, tie them to a stick and hang them from a wall as a decoration or make them into something special.
I have never washed these pieces before, if you are thinking of washing them make sure to iron them first or to find a way to seal them properly beforehand. Enjoy the process, it is a lovely calming nature activity!