Celebrating Fall Leaves

Yes, they are dropping…are you happy, sad, excited for snow? As adults, many of us dread winter coming whereas smaller people tend to love the approach of the cold, wet stuff. Either way, fall is a wonderful reason to celebrate the change of the seasons for a little while longer. It will be white for a while soon!

Maple Leaves Punch Outs

Maple Leaves Punch Outs are perfect for labeling lockers, using for name plates or creating games.

Nature Mobile Maker

The Nature Mobile Maker is a great base for making a colourful mobile. Students can add their own light weight collections such as shells and pine cones and attach to the already notched tree branches.

How about some Art from a nature walk? I walk through a park at the moment will yield a treasure trove of beautiful leaves, twigs and pebbles.

Exploring a fall sensory box? The options are endless with sensory boxes and the open ended nature, facilitates independent and individualized learning.

Creating fall fairies is a possibility with all the wonderful options on the ground for inspiration.

Leaf Rubbing Plates

Comparing leaf rubbings with leaf rubbing plates will help with sorting, and classifying skills.

Big Oak Tree Bulletin Board

Creating a classroom reading tree and having a student complete a leaf with each book read, encourages and celebrates reading achievement.

Fall tree painting on a window? Why not, windows make an awesome canvas!

You can find lots of inspiration on Quality Classrooms’ Pinterest board here.

Fall Tree Window Art

We have been suffering from withdrawal from messy art activities. Too much gardening and preserving happening in preparation for winter, so we decided on a perfect fall painting task.

Fall colours were chosen; green, yellow, brown and red. Just enough paint was added to cover the dish and coat hands.

Rose provided a stencil for the tree and branches.

And paint was liberally added with a brush while Buddy the pug watched.

Painting technique was discussed:

  • place hands in the paint
  • gently pat them together
  • paint your leaves on the window
  • chose to get more paint or wash hands for a new colour

Messy happiness

Pure joy

Adding final details

Our beautiful fall tree window art.

Exploring a Fall Sensory Box

I have been looking at beautiful sensory boxes on a number of blogs and have wanted to give this a try for a while. A fall theme seemed like an easy starter box to try. As an elementary teacher I am used to learning objectives and structured activities so this is another case of me stepping out of my comfort zone; a place where I seem to learn a great deal! It was a learning experience for all of us.

Here is Rose enjoying scooping and pouring beans.

This is the second time I got the box out. The first time was a flop!

I dramatically lifted the lid when Rose was sleeping and Daisy took a look inside. She shuffled the leaves about and then wandered off to find a book. I was disappointed and decided to rethink.

This is a new experience for me and for my kids. We needed help to learn how to play with this new found toy. I used a write and wipe pocket and inserted a very basic counting grid. I gave it to my mother in law (Boma) and she smiled and said “I remember this!”. She was a kindergarten teacher for 40 years in Luxembourg. I did not have to explain what to do.

After we opened the tub for the second time I asked Daisy to scoop out all the pumpkins and took Rose to an old table cloth (now the clean up mat), on the floor. As you can see, she got straight into play. I gave her a few bowls and a ladle.

The rules were made clear; everything must stay on the cloth, no throwing, and no eating/mouthing. This last point was an issue as Rose is 16 months. Everything goes in her mouth. I have to watch like a hawk when small objects are around. She was pretty busy exploring and only needed to be reminded a couple of times.

Boma and Daisy sorted the pumpkins by size and type.

They counted up to 10 and played with basic addition and subtraction.

Daisy then joined Rose on the mat and played scooping and making soup.

I had a whale of a time watching the exploring and learning happen. I was able to interact and talk through what both children were doing. This has inspired me. We will be sharing experiences with lots of sensory boxes.

Here is our box:

  • Shoe boxes – I use these for storage (Zellers)
  • Leaves (Dollar store)
  • Dried kidney beans
  • Paper leaves (these are on special now)
  • Various pumpkins (Dollar store)
  • Cinnamon sticks

Great Ideas for your sensory boxes:

How do you feel sensory boxes have added to the play experience?

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere.

We are suddenly surrounded by pumpkins. I love the little and not so little orange balls of goodness. We have tried a few decorating methods and I have looked at lots of lovely options.

We started the usual way; by taking the lid off. We discussed the pattern Daisy wanted to make and I used a marker to dot all the drill holes.

My husband, Francois demonstrated how to use the drill safely. Keeping fingers away from the bit and a steady hand were emphasized.

Team drilling! Daisy needed a steadying had to keep the drill from slipping.

You can see the concentration on her face!

Rose is overjoyed to have her own pumpkin to decorate too.

We kept it very simple with stickers. They were a challenge as they stuck to her fingers but we had lots of fun.

Pretty drilled pumpkin lit up.

2 flowers pumpkins.

I have been collecting lots of lovely pumpkin and Halloween ideas on Pinterest. Check it out; you may become addicted to ‘pinning’!

Thanksgiving Tree

We tend to get a little obsessed with food at our house during Thanksgiving, so a little focus on the ‘Thanks’ is necessary.

You need:

We talked about thanksgiving and what being thankful is. We began to list all the things Daisy is thankful for (all the people or things) she is happy to have in her life.

As I am writing this I am thinking about how we will discuss this further, talking about the opportunities she has; being able to play soccer, play with her sister, dance, learn. The list could go on and on, as could the discussion. Teaching children to have a ‘cup half full” attitude is wonderful skill to carry though life. Being able to find the positive in most situations makes life easier and often more fulfilling.

When we had a list Daisy was happy with, we started work on our tree.

We glued the tree onto construction paper.

What time of day we start a craft, often influences the amount of energy Daisy can give to a project. This activity was started after 2pm and she was lacking enthusiasm so I wrote the ‘Thanks’ on the leaves. If we had done this in the morning Daisy would have been able to write some of the leaves herself. With younger children the leaves would need to be bigger and photos and magazines could be used for collage. I wrote on the leaves for her.

We used leaves from the Family Tree Kit and Autumn Leaves Paper Bits. The leaves from the family tree kit were a bit difficult to remove for kids so I did this. I would recommended having some ready before the activity starts. Autumn Leaves Paper Bits were easier to use as they were all loose. The texture was lovely to write on.

Daisy wrote her name on the little sign provioded in the Family Tree Kit and her Thanksgiving Tree was finished. It is proudly displayed near our dinner table.

(This craft idea was taken from The Preschooler’s Busy Book).

Fall Fairy

Carrying on with our fascination with fairies we decided to use all the lovely objects appearing at our feet at this time of year. A fall fairy could use the fairy furniture! A walk to the park, yielded a pale of goodies; acorns, leaves, pine cones, fluffy stuff and general garbage. All fun stuff to make fairies with. After a fun walk, discussing each object we saw;

  • Where do you think that came from?
  • What will happen to it if we leave it where it is?
  • Why is it shaped this way?
  • What was this?
  • What is it?
  • What part of a fairy could this be?
  • What tree is this from?

these questions, asked by Daisy and by myself, were somewhat answered. We also spent a few moments on our backs looking at things from a fairy perspective.

You need:

We looked at the collection carefully discussing shape, texture, materials and suitability for body parts. A rock was chosen for the head and Daisy decided it had to be orange. I am not quite sure what the crown was originally but it is pink plastic.

The parts were assembled, discussed, reassembled until she was happy with the fairy.

We thought one fall fairy would be lonely so anther was prepared to keep the first company.

After much deliberation, the fairy designer was happy. Daisy was still a little nervous of the glue gun so I glued while she helped. Again we reinforced the edges with extra glue.

Fall fairies.

When we were looking for acorn dishes for the fairy table we came across three acorns attached. Immediately Daisy said ” Soccer lights mummy!” so we glued them onto a twig and put up floodlights.

Adding goals completed the soccer pitch.

When Daisy looked at the fairy area again she worried that they would have no place to sleep. So…

They now have a bed too!

Learning Opportunities:

  • L.A.: Discussing, questioning, evaluating
  • Math: Counting, sorting, symmetry, measuring, scale,
  • Art: Design, planning, colour, materials, building structures
  • Social Studies: Environment, trees, recycling