The fallen leaves of autumn provide the opportunity to make leaf crowns, a dress up activity that never fails to please children.  Look for a tree that has shed wide, colorful leaves and gather a dozen or so of the very best specimens into a small pile.  Then, one by one, break the stems off these leaves and heap them together.  Next, take two of the stemless leaves and lay one on top of the other so that they partially overlap.  Now, pin those leaves together by pushing one of the stems down through the overlapping section and up again a short distance away.  Continue to attach the leaves together in this manner, and when the string of leaves is long enough to fit snugly around the child’s brow, pin the first and last leaves together.

      The leaves you put together do not have to be worn only on the head.  They can be worn as belts, necklaces, or even a vest if one has the patience to make it.  Since maple leaves are large, well-shaped, and colorful, they are perennial favorites of crown makers.  But I have also had excellent results with hickory, oak, and sweet gum leaves.  The type of leaf you use really doesn’t matter much, as long as it is large and firm enough to hold together when a stem is run through it.

      These headpieces are easy to make, fun to wear, and will create memories that children will cherish for years to come.

{Excerpted from Talking to Fireflies, Shrinking the Moon (Fulcrum, 1997) with permission of the author.  This book is available at the Sunbeam General Store.]

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