Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Fall leaf hunt/leaf rubbings

October 12, 2008

I’ve read several articles recently on how important it is for children to spend time outdoors and connect with nature.  It seems obvious, but it is easy to get so wrapped up in activities that you spend your days in the car rather than out in the fresh air.  Playing outside is not only invaluable for your children’s physical and mental health, it’s absolutely free. 

This afternoon, we took a “leaf walk”.  We just walked around the block, but it would be a great excuse to take your kids to the arboretum, to a nature reserve, or just out in the country.  A paper bag was a perfect receptacle for the leaves we found.  I asked the kids to find as many different kinds of leaves as they could.  We picked up the ones that were not too dried out, so they’d be pliable for rubbing or pressing.  I was amazed how many types of trees we found in a small area.

Tracing paper works the best for doing leaf rubbings.  I found some at Walgreens that was not expensive.  We peeled the paper off of some crayons and went to work.  Place the leaves under the paper, one at a time, and rub the flat side of a crayon against the paper that covers the leaf.  It helps to hold the stem through the paper and rub in one direction.  My two-year old had a hard time with it, so I helped her.  She loved picking up leaves!

You can also have your children dry beautiful leaves by putting them between sheets of waxed paper in a heavy book.  If you don’t care about the book, you can skip the waxed paper.  They’ll be dry in a week or two.

Leaf rubbings and dried leaves are a great addition to any science notebook.  There are several websites that will help your children identify what kind of tree each leaf comes from, if they are interested.  One I found was www.oplin.org/tree.  Your child might enjoy checking out a book on trees from the library too.  As my wise Grandma would always say, “Get those kids outside!”

Watercolor leaves

October 9, 2008

In my opinion, you should hang your children’s favorite creations up, at least for a while.  It will show them that you love what they’ve done!  There are plenty of years to have a pristine house, but only a few to have your kitchen “cluttered” with their beautiful work.  Picasso once said “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Using only white cone coffee filters and children’s watercolor paints, your kids can have fun creating beautiful leaves to hang on your windows this October!  My mother-in-law, an early childhood educator, gave me this great idea. 

We simply put a little water in the bottom of some small cups and made our fall colors: red, yellow, orange and green.  Brown would look great too!  The kids got their watercolor brushes wet, rubbed lots of paint into them and added it to the appropriate cup.  The more paint you add, the more intense the color will be!  Then, they simply splattered or painted the watercolors onto the filters.  We used a different brush for each color, so the lighter colors wouldn’t get muddy.  For really beautiful, intense splatters, have your kids just use the paint directly from the palette, adding just enough water to work with. 

Let the filters dry and cut, or let your children cut, leaf shapes from the filters.  You might want to draw the leaf shape for younger kids so they don’t get too frustrated.  Then they can simply cut on the lines.

I think the leaves look beautiful hanging on my kitchen windows!