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Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall Leaves

It's fall! So what better way to really enjoy the season then playing with leaves? We took this fun one step further and used the beauty that is Autumn to get my 3 year old to not only understand what this season means to the plants around us but how different each leaf can be.

This project was just another great excuse to plan a family park trip. We went to a great near by park that our 3 year old could do the normal park stuff, but also had lots of hiking trails where we could find a great variety of trees and plants, well mostly for a great choice of leaves. When you get to head out on your trip I recommend bringing baggies for the items you are going to collect. Just remember nature doesn't equal clean. Try to get your little one to pick out nice whole leaves, the flatter the better, also lots of shapes and sizes. If you know anything about the plants or animals around you it's a great time to point them out and talk about it. My daughter, Riley and I had lots of fun trying to be super quiet an listen our hardest for what animals were around. It was fun guessing what animal could be crunching the leaves around us. Most of the time it turned out to be a bird, but still fun. Take the walk slow, you never know what you'll get lucky enough to find. We found a rabbit's nest without even leaving the trail.

The next day I pulled out a couple of those broken, paperless crayons and a few sheets of paper. We took out all the leaves we had collected and laid out the best, obviously her choice of best. I demonstrated first on my own little sheet of paper, this way she got the idea of not only how to do this, but what it was we were doing. One leaf at a time I laid under my sheet of paper nice an flat on the table an selected a crayon to rub on it's side over the bumpy area of the paper. Her eyes lit up like I just did a magic trick when the leaf imprint appeared. As simple as a project always sounds, just remember it's new to your little one and exciting. I did one more then set her up with a big sheet of her own. We discussed the shapes, sizes, colors, and textures of each leaves as we went. Sometimes there was a need of a mommy hand to hold the paper still or my fingers to narrow down the area of where the leaf could be, but for the most part it was her choice and just a great means to work on vocabulary and the season.

Note: We held on to our leaves, because she may want to do this again a few more times & I already have another project in mind.

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