Play with Leaves
Our fall blog party continues today with a guest post from Caitlin at Growing Up Muddy. I hope you are having fun following along with the guest posters and getting inspired to get outside.
Fall is my favourite time of year. There is just something about the cool crisp air after a summer of hot and sticky skin that makes me happy. Not to mention the pumpkin pie, warm scarves and cozy fireplace. My kids like to help make applesauce in our slow cooker overnight so we can wake up to the delicious aroma of homemade applesauce wafting into our bedrooms! Check out our recipe here. It is WAY better than store bought and even better because the kids can do most of the work for you!
The beautiful colours of the fall leaves amaze me every year. You would think that after 28 years on this planet I would be used to it but seriously, I am in awe every fall as the bright oranges, yellows and reds pop out of the trees. I love to find ways to use these leaves in decorations and in play because they are just so beautiful! My preschool class would even collect some of our favourite leaves and put them in a vase like a bouquet of flowers. Our favourite place to collect them is a local trail right along a salmon spawning river. My four-year old is currently really interested in salmon, not fish or ocean animals, just salmon. If you have any salmon near your home or even a child who just loves fish make sure you check out my Salmon Unit Study. It is full of play-based activities to get their brains working!
For more family friendly fall ideas check out the Family Fall Bucket List!
Today I am sharing 5 of my favourite ways to use leaves in the fall. They work our fine motor muscles and our imaginations. I don’t stress about pushing my preschoolers to learn every letter and number, unless of course they want to. I try to focus on skills that will help them with that later. They are little, let them play!
Skills: Fine motor, creativity
Supplies: Dull needle, thread, beads, leaves, sticks
* * If you are not comfortable with your child using a needle you can have them thread onto pipe cleaners instead.**
Thread the needle and tie a bead to the end of the thread so the leaves don’t fall off.
Have your child thread leaves and beads as they like.Tie your leaf strings to the stick. We tied our stick in a circle!
Now you can hang it up to decorate your play space!
We also added yarn wrapped pinecones to our mobile because we found these amazing pinecones on our walk.
Doesn’t it look beautiful with those leaves and beads together? I would actually love to add some little fairy lights to this!
I have also used this craft around Thanksgiving and the children added beads to represent things they were thankful for. For tips on how to help your children practice gratitude, read my post on our dinner time gratitude tradition.
Skills: Fine Motor, creativity, dramatic play
Supplies: Construction paper, stapler, glue, leaves
My two-year old LOVED this. She called herself a princess and wore her crown all day.
Cut the paper lengthways into strips. Staple two strips together to make a long band. Have your child glue the leaves on the paper.
Staple the paper into a circle to fit your child’s head. Voila! Instant nature queen or king!
Spray Paint Leaf Silhouettes
Skills: fine motor, colour mixing
Supplies: White paper, spray bottles, washable paints, painters tape, leaves
Wrap the tape into small loops and tape the leaves onto the paper where you like them.
Pour some paint into the spray bottles and water down to make it easier to spray.
Spray the paint on the paper and the leaves. Encourage your child to see what happens when they spray different colours of paint. Can they mix the colours to make new ones? We chose red and yellow because they reminded us of the fall leaves.
When you are finished, carefully remove the leaves and the tape. My kids were amazed that you could still see the leaves, even though we had taken them off!
Leaf Wall Hanging
Supplies: Clear contact paper, string, leaves
Lay out the contact paper, sticky side up. Stick the leaves on the sticky paper. This is a great group project because all the kids can stick leaves down on the same paper together.
Place another piece of contact paper on top of the leaves to seal them inside and smooth out the bubbles. Hang it on a string and hang it on the wall or in a window.
The colours of the leaves are absolutely brilliant with the sun shining in behind them!
Leaf Obstacle Course
Skills: Gross motor
Supplies: LOTS of leaves, rake
Rake the leaves into different sized piles and lines.
With the kids, create a physical challenge for each pile. Anything goes! Try jumping on one foot, crawling like a bear, running around the piles, and crab walking over a pile just to name a few.
When you have all played to your heart’s content, rake the leaves up and dispose of them. A fun memory, some exercise and a chore done all in one!
I know this doesn’t exactly have to do with leaves but it is such a fun early fall activity that it is worth mentioning anyways. Exercise those fine motor muscles and gather your sunflower seeds! It kept my four year old busy for a full 30 minutes and anything that can do that must be worth it, right?
Get outside and enjoy Fall!
Don’t forget to download a free Family Fall Bucket List to make sure you don’t forget an amazing activity!
For more fun ideas and motivation for your family visit me at growingupmuddy.com
I hope you enjoyed the easy apple activities yesterday, and the fun nature shapes STEAM activity earlier. Looking for more fun activities to do with your kiddo’s? Check out our fall blog party for some inspiration.