Leaves: Read and Play
After our October Nature Walk we had quite a collection of leaves likely inspired by reading Leaves before we left. When we got home, we pressed some for our nature collection, mailed some to our pen pal in Minnesota, and still had piles of leaves. Our simple Fall Tree Drawing Prompt had been such a hit I was inspired to find a way to extend it a little and this project was born.
Leaves by David Ezra Stein
This sweet story is about a bear enjoying his first year. Suddenly the leaves on his beloved trees start falling down all around them. At first he tries to put them back on their trees, but quickly realizes it is not the same. Growing tired, he piles some in a cave and crawls in for a sleep. When he pokes his head back out he finds a lovely surprise. Soft illustrations, engaging text, and a gentle introduction to the seasons.
The Adventure Storybook Club's theme for October is Fall Fun. Between our walk and this activity, we certainly had some Fall excitment in our house this week.
Tape a large piece of paper to the surface of your table. Draw a few simple tree prompts along the paper, similar to this drawing prompt. The size of your paper and the number of trees will vary depending on your group size. I made two trees for each child.
Put a basket of leaves, markers of colors similar to the leaves, and some glue on the table.
When your child(ren) discover the invitation, let them explore the materials. My daughter started by coloring leaves on the trees with the markers. We chatted about the colors she was using as she worked. (Try something like: "tell me about the color you chose" or "That red reminds me of this leaf you found on our walk") Eventually I asked if she wanted to glue any leaves on a tree. She was excited about that idea. My son joined us at this point and focused mostly on gluing the leaves. They worked side by side happily talking and occassionally passing tools. We've worked a lot on asking for someone to pass things rather than reaching into someone's space. A direction such as "I see you reaching into his space for a marker, can you ask 'pass the red marker please'?" Younger children can learn to say simple phrases like "marker please". Collaborative pictures like this are great opportunities for practicing language and social skills.
Gluing is a also skill that needs to be practiced like any. In order to successfully glue something, a child needs to learn to open the bottle, have the strength to push the glue out, learn to control the amount and direction of the glue, and learn to flip and press down the item they are gluing. As with coloring, painting, and other art gluing is messier at the beginning. Children need time and opportunities to practice using glue to learn how to control the flow and discover how to make thing stick. I do a combination of modeling and using words to guide their practice. More than anything, they have gotten much better at using glue simply with practice. Allow them to do as much as they can on their own. Aside from occassionally telling them they have enough glue on a piece, I generally let them work on their own unless they ask for help.
Direct your child(ren) to the sink to was hands. Help as needed.
Remove the picture to a space for drying.
Leaves can be swept from the floor. Invite your child to help with this if they are interested.
Book: Leaves by David Ezra Stein
Large Piece of Paper
Markers in Fall Colors (we used brown, yellow, orange, red, and green)
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