Do you remember how fun it was to scrunch along in piles of leaves? Do you remember how they smelled when you rolled in them? Do you remember how you used to marvel at their colors? Having young children around helps us to rekindle these feelings, thoughts and smells.
Fall leaves are a natural and very inexpensive material that can be used in a variety of ways to nurture learning in children. The first thing you have to do is go on a Leaf Treasure Hunt around the neighborhood. Collect lots! You might want to collect small twigs, acorns or other nuts too. Here are just a few ideas of what to do with your leaves!
Ideas for Learning (and just plain fun):
- Crayon rubbings of leaves
- Place leaves between two pieces of contact paper for a Fall Placemat, cut placement into a leaf shape
- Color mixing – use watercolor or tempera paint, or food coloring
- Glue leaves onto paper just for fun!
- Make leaf people, using different shaped leaves for head and body, sticks for arms and legs.
- Sort by color; use a piece of construction paper (red, yellow, green, brown) to help children decide what color the leaf is
- Sort by shape
- Sort by size
- When sorting, always count how many there are!
- Make patterns by alternating different colors, sizes, and/or leaf shapes
- Name/find other things that come from trees (nuts, sticks, bark etc)
- Look for animals that live in trees – talk about what the tree does for them, where do they go in the winter
- Talk about how the trees change over the year (maybe find one to ‘adopt’, and watch all year!)
- Make roll-out cookies and use a leaf cookie cutter or draw a leaf shape on dough
- Write/tell a story about where the leaf has been, illustrate your story
- Read books from the library about Fall, and how animals get ready for winter
- Create a Fall book using pictures from magazines, cut and pasted to a ‘book’ (staple together several pieces of paper)
- Rake up a bunch of leaves and jump in them!!
- Dramatize how a leaf falls, twirling in the fall breeze
- Use leaves to make a fall person – stuff an old shirt, pants, add head from a paper or plastic bag, add hat etc.
- Create a ‘leaf maze’ for your kids to walk through
Whatever you do, have fun!