“Art takes nature as its model.” – Aristotle
Our fall would not have been complete without some leaf printing. A pile of leaves, a few paints, and a Saturday afternoon was all we needed for a relaxing, yet engaging fall craft. I could not have picked a better fall activity for me and my preschooler. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much Nathan enjoyed this activity. It was so much fun, we even got dad involved for a short period of time!
We first collected our leaves on a leaf hunt. Our inspiration came from the book We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger (you can view more activities to pair with this book on my sister site lessonplansource.com) Once home, I rolled out a long piece of butcher paper (I use that roll from IKEA) across our dining table. With a smock strapped to Nathan, paint and brushes prepped and wet paper towels handy, we spent the better part of an afternoon painting and printing leaves to create this really festive fall banner…
Nathan was so relaxed and focused throughout the printing process. I haven’t seen him work like that before. I loved watching him paint each leaf and notice little details about them (“this one has a bump” “this one has lines”). He is becoming such a big boy and yet quite the little artist.
As the fall season comes to an end, so does our need for fall crafts and activities. I came up with this simple fall activity as a way to solidify concepts about the season for my preschooler. All the details for implementation are on my sister site, Lesson Plan Source. Enjoy!
One of my favorite fall books for kids is We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger. I love the book for many reasons–its simplistic storyline about three friends enjoying nature together, the variety of leaves it introduces children to, and its use of prepositions (yeah, really). It is also a book that lends itself to a variety of activities, including an actual leaf hunt! So, after reading the story to my preschooler, that is exactly what we did.
A leaf hunt is a fun way to spend time outside enjoying the beauty of autumn. It also doesn’t have to be limited to just gathering leaves. On our first leaf hunt, Nate and I found a variety of items (some specific to the autumn season–acorns, chestnuts, pinecones) that we used for a fall sensory table.
The second leaf hunt yielded enough leaves for this Leaf Printing Craft. The banner turned out so beautifully, I couldn’t help but hang it.
Our final leaf hunt resulted in this Autumn Is…Fall Activity for Kids. Fun and decorative, this fall craft is a great way to bring what you have learned about the season to an enriching close.
To find more follow-up activities to the book We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger, visit my sister site lessonplansource.com. Happy hunting!
I bought a batch of foam pumpkin shapes last fall and boy have they served us well! We first used them to make this festive Thankful Banner.
Next, they were used to make this simple matching game…
This would be the perfect fall matching game for toddlers or preschoolers. For toddlers, obviously monitor them because these pumpkins are not edible.
I made this set using only four different designs. I also had specific skills I wanted to target–notice each features a different nose shape, shape color and overall emotion.
The second matching game I came up with incorporates my son’s name–NATHAN. This matching game would be perfect for a preschooler, pre-kindergartener or kindergartener. To write the letters (as well as the faces for the ones above), I actually used fabric paint. Fabric paint works well for a lot of projects that require writing or detail work. The Scribbles brand I use comes with a built-in fine point applicator to make each job turn out nice. Of course, one also needs a steady hand! If only those came with the bottle of paint…
I also added dots to each letter for a multisensory approach. After we play the game, Nathan will trace each letter with his pointer finger and we put the letters together to spell his name.
Last year, I was in need of a banner to hang as part of our Thanksgiving Day celebration. Because crafting materials are difficult to find here in Germany, this banner had to meet certain criteria. It had to be:
- made of things already on hand
- a craft my toddler could help me with
- say “thankful”
- incorporate pumpkins
- look adorable!
Well, I think I accomplished all of that with this festive Thanksgiving Banner! It was inexpensive to make and a great Thanksgiving craft for me and my toddler.
Last year’s Thanksgiving Day banner…
This year, we went vertical…
Here is how we made it:
- 8 foam pumpkin shapes
- various dry materials (we used sunflower seeds, oats, black beans, brown rice, white rice, peppercorns, lentils and sesame seeds)
- Tacky Glue (I highly recommend this type of glue because it is strong, drys fast and is not visible once dry)
- jute (enough for hanging the pumpkins beside each other)
- 8 clothes pins (optional)
Place each dry ingredient in a small pile. On the first pumpkin, write a letter from the word “Thankful” with Tacky Glue. Sprinkle one dry ingredient over glue to completely cover it. Continue the process with each foam pumpkin. Once dry, lay out pumpkins to spell the word “Thankful”. Turn pumpkins over, keeping their order. Measure a piece of jute to span the length of the pumpkins leaving a few additional inches at each end for hanging. Pumpkins can then be clipped to the jute with clothes pins or taped to the jute. To do the latter, lay jute down across the middle of the pumpkins. Tape jute in place on each pumpkin. Form loops at each end of the banner to hang.