The statuesque palm tree, with its large, fringed leaves, has come to represent all things tropical. In reality, palm trees come in many shapes and sizes and grow throughout the world. Their fronds provide food and shelter to many insects and animals, including humans. The large leaves can be created using tissue paper and used any time of the year as teaching or talking tools for children of all ages.
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Making the Leaf
To make a palm frond out of tissue paper, you need a large piece of green tissue paper, a pencil, a long wooden dowel, scissors, glue and any decorative items you want to attach. Print and cut out a picture of a palm frond to use as a pattern or guide. Open the tissue paper to full size. Using the pattern or guide, draw the leaf in the desired scale on the tissue. Cut the leaf out and attach the dowel vertically in the middle of the leaf to create the stem. Using scissors, cut straight lines from the edge of the leaf in toward the stem, creating a fringe effect.
Life on a Leaf
Many different animals and insects, like the gecko, call the palm tree home. Use the palm fronds as a science lesson and have the children imagine which animals call the tree home. Have the children decorate leaves with life-sized bugs, lizards or other creatures you might find on a palm frond. Before beginning the project, show photos and discuss the types of wildlife that live in or on palm trees. Talk about the challenges and benefits of living in that habitat. Use craft supplies like pipe cleaners, sequins and googly eyes to create the creatures.
Keep Your Cool
Many people throughout the world rely on the palm tree for shelter and relief from the sun. Have the children create a few leaves and then combine them into a fan. Use decorative and craft items to create handles. Discuss the climates in which palm trees grow, and how people who live in warmer climates keep themselves cool. Talk about the differences or similarities between your climate and a tropical climate.
If doing this craft as a group, have each participant create a leaf with her name on it. Decorative items, like pom-poms and glitter, help participants personalize their palm fronds. Create a tree trunk using a large piece of cardboard and attach each leaf to the trunk or another leaf to create a full and festive palm tree.