This is a cute one and I am super excited to share!!
We collect a lot of leaves mostly because we go for lots of walks and bike rides and Sam seems to always want to bring them home. The leaves either end up in the plant press (if I remember and am willing to sit with her after a walk and do that) or they sneakily end up in our front yard..."sorry sweety I must have dropped them". But I thought of a fun way to start using and displaying some of the ones that do make it into the plant press.
First I painted this on a big piece of paper -
Then before bedtime tonight I got out some of the leaves from our plant press. Sam used the glue stick and placed the leaves on the tree.
Such a fun way to display the leaves that she likes best. The plant press helps to preserve the color so that we can create a fall tree. Sam loved walking past her tree and admiring all the leaves.
The Nitty Gritty!
No I am not making the tree biologically correct. There are several different species of trees represented as well as several flowers and bushes. I am okay with that.
Instead of the names and types of plants (I don't want to rush her into memorizing names just yet) we focused on where she might find the leaves (on the braches, falling to the ground and on the ground), what color the leaves are and the size of the leaves. We also glued on that maple seed and talked about what a seeds are.
With multiple kids I would make multiple trees so that each could have their own to decorate. If you have older children you could work on matching like kind of leaves to put in certain areas of the tree, using the leaves to learn the names of the plants or learning about different features of the leaves (stem, veins, lobes, etc.) while you decorate with them. Tree identification books will typically have great explanations of plant parts.
I think you could also use leaves that have not been pressed. They wouldn't last forever (not entirely sure exactly how long they would last), eventually they will become brittle, turn brown and crumble. But if you don't plan on keeping the poster or are only going to decorate it once I think fresh leaves would be fine.