Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall is here!

I think that fall is officially here - the leaves are beginning to change colors and the temperature has brought cool mornings and pleasantly warm days! This weekend, my toddler and I went on a Leaf Hunt during a walk around our neighborhood. We collected lots of different leaves, sticks, nuts and rocks for a little nature collection. When we got back we sorted through our leaves and picked out our favorites - they were so colorful!


Then I showed my son how to sort them out by color. He was interested for a few minutes, but then saw his yellow dump truck and decided to go dig in the dirt. This is an activity that I do with my preschool students every year, so I was excited (more excited than he was obviously) to share it with my son now that he's a little older!


I'm sure that I will be doing this color sorting activity with my preschool students soon. I only need more of the trees near my school to start turning colors and dropping leaves for us to have a wide variety to sort.



Here are some other Fall and Leaf themed activities that we've been working on in my classroom this week:

Scissor Tray: The kids seem to love cutting anything that's not paper!   We just collected leaves from outside and added scissors. Snipping the leaves to little bits was tons of fun and made a huge mess, but it cleaned up pretty easily considering some of the other messes that we end up with in my classroom.


Leaf Rubbings - I always enjoy this fall activity, but have had trouble getting my students to do it. The biggest reasons that we've been tragically unsuccessful with this simple activity are a lack of the fine motor skills required to actually accomplish it. It really requires a lot of fine motor control and coordination from the children to make a leaf rubbing picture. This year, I made lots of changes and we were VERY successful! First we taped the leaves to the table, with the 'vein' side up, using blue painters tape, then we taped the construction paper over top and provided a variety of different crayons, including fat crayons, triangular crayons and some round flat crayons (made in a muffin tin) that seem to easier to hold in the proper position to achieve the 'rubbing' effect rather than the 'scribble' effect.  Another modification that I thought of, but didn't use this year, was to use  contact paper to put the leaves on, cover the area with large butcher paper, and tape it to the table before rubbing with crayons.






Fall Sensory Bin: I switched out our sensory bin for fall themed materials including three 1lb bags of plain popcorn, fabric leaves in different sizes and colors, 'logs,'  and sweet gum seed pods - we call them 'prickly balls' here in my class. The kids love scooping, pouring and digging in the popcorn. I have students who hate the prickly seed pods and pick them out by their stems so that they don't have to accidentally touch them. We've already changed out some of the extras for a storybook extension activity with props from the book "Little Blue Truck" - so it easily turns into a 'farm themed' sensory bin -- more on the farm stuff another time though.


Today we read the book "Leaf Man" by Lois Elhert. Everyone was mesmerized by the illustrations and all of the different leaf shapes and colors. We will probably make some of our own leaf people and animals this week or next.

 

What kind of fall activities are you doing with your kids? I'd love to hear!

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