Children never quit learning and processing the experiences they have. Each season provides unique opportunities to enhance those experiences and teach wonderful lessons to our small children. Many of us remember fondly making mountains of leaves and jumping in them.
Such activities engage gross motor skills as the child runs and jumps into the fallen leaves. Many times individual leaves are picked up, crushed between curious fingers, and dropped, fluttering to the ground. In those actions, fine motor skills are being improved and curiosity is being piqued. Opportunities arise to practice language skills as questions are asked, instructions given, and exclamations of joy ring out!
Here are some ideas that will help you make the most of your time in the leaves:
- Go on a walk to gather leaves, acorns, pine cones, and pebbles to make a sensory bin. What characteristics to the objects you choose have in common? How are they different? How do they feel? Does it float or sink? How many of each object are there? How does it sound if it’s thrown or dropped?
- Make a memory leafy memory game. Collect 8 similar leaves together. Paste them to pre-cut white card stock and cover with contact paper. Press them and trim them up, and you’ve got your game! Can you and your preschooler remember where the matching pair are? Be sure to talk about taking turns and how much fun it is to share!
- Create a work of art. Use twigs, leaves, and other objects you find to make a work of art. You can paste them onto the page to form the desired image or you can paint one side and use the object as the paint brush. It’s whatever you decide! While working you can talk about what it is your doing. What happens if we put this leaf into the paint and then press it firmly on the paper? What kind of shapes do we find while making our tree? What color do we get if we mix these colors together? For an added treat, give the precious art work to a person you love!
Whatever you decide to do with your child this fall, the time together will teach, strengthen the bond between you, and be lots of fun! Ask your Head Start or Early Head Start teacher for more ideas and work together to support what happens at home and in the classroom!