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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lots of Leaves

The children in my preschool class love fall.  They especially love the leaves!

Here are some of the fun things we have done with leaves during the last few weeks. We wrote a list of things that you can do with Autumn Leaves.  We then made our list into a poem title "What to do with Autumn Leaves." The last line is "Sometimes you can even LEAVE them!"  The kids liked the homophone humor.  I'm not sure where I first saw it because I've been doing this for years and years.  
One of my very favorite fall projects is our melted crayon leaves.  These are truly beautiful!!  We cut leaf shapes from brown craft paper (the stuff on big rolls).    We then melt crayons (in fall colors) on sheets of foil on top of old fashioned electric warming trays (this is something you want to find at a yard sale if you don't have one).  One by one the children drop their leaves onto the melted crayon and then use a pencil to push the paper into the melted crayons.  An adult takes the leaf off of the warming tray (again with a pencil). I didn't have my camera the day the kids made the leaves this year.:(  The process is very simple and the results are truly spectacular (and last for years!)
The melted crayon leaves look especially pretty on a window because they almost have a stained glass quality.  The children also made fall trees for our window by gluing pieces of torn tissue paper to a piece of wax paper.  They then glued a trunk to the piece of wax paper.  Simple but very pretty on a window.
Another torn paper project involved making fall trees from torn pieces of construction paper. Tearing the paper is great fine motor skill work and always love the way the kids chose to place their leaves.


We also had leaves on our homemade light box.  I made the light box from a box I bought at Ikea following Kara's Classroom directions. I drew a tree on a piece of contact paper and then taped the contact paper sticky side up on the top of the light box.  I put out leaves that I had bought on sale at the Target Dollar Spot.  The kids had lots of fun sorting and making patterns on the branches.  The sticky background was definitely a big draw.  I got the idea  from Dyan here.

We also went on lots of fall walks and often collected leaves.  After reading Leaf Man, we made our own leaf creatures.  The kids used quite a bit of white glue.  I then put a sheet of wax paper between the pages and then left them under a heavy box for a week so they dried nice and flat.  

Leaf butterflies
A leaf man.
 We also picked one favorite leaf to describe for our class book about Autumn Leaves.

Since we are just beginning to work on handwriting, I wrote the word the child suggested to describe his or her leaf and then the child traced the word.
We also did leave rubbings.  The secret to great leaf rubbings with little ones is to tape the stem of fresh leaves (NOT dried at all) to the back of a piece of paper.  The back side of the leaf (with the veins) should be next to the paper.  The kids then used the side of fat crayons to make the leaf magically appear.  There were kids in my class who did dozens of leaves. 

Finally, this week we did one of my very favorite fall activities.  I found this idea on the Let's Explore blog. After reading Todd Parr's Thankful Book, I talked with each child individually about what they were thankful for.  Each child gave me a list of 6-8 things they are thankful for.  I put them into a simple poem titled Thankful and then printed the poem onto watercolor paper (I trimmed the paper to 8 1/2 x 11 so it would fit in the printer).  I then covered the poem with a piece of clear contact paper cut in the shape of a leaf.  The kids used liquid water color to paint around the leaf. When the kids finished painting (right up to the leaf), I pulled off the contact paper.  

before the contact paper is removed



These make me smile. They are beautiful both visually and because of what the children are thankful for.


4 comments:

  1. I love it all. No doubt the kids did too!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

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  2. Lyn, all those activities are so beautiful. I love them!

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  3. These are all great ideas! I read the Leaf Man with my students a few weeks ago. Just last week when the leaves were rustling one of the 4 year old's said, "Leaf Man, where is he going?" I really like the crayons, would be beautiful taped on the window.

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  4. Fun activities ... and I've been noticing more color down here in the subtropics of the Gulf Coast than I remember so I could probably find some pretty leaves. Thanks for the inspiration!

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