10.14.2011

Fall Lesson Plan ~ Week 1: Trees and Leaves

Story Time/Discussion Points:
  • Talk about the season, "Fall". Explain how Summer is over and Fall has begun and all the changes that occur. For example, the weather usually gets cooler, the leaves change color and fall from the trees, etc.
  • Talk about how trees are all around us and what they do for us and our environment. Mention how leaves can be found on trees. Talk about the different types of trees there are and the leaves they produce.
  • Talk about the different animals that live in trees and animals that use trees for shelter.

Field Trip Ideas
Go on a "Nature Walk" with your children to collect all of your supplies for the art projects listed below. You can choose to do a nature walk at an actual nature center {many offer free entry}, a nearby park, or even your own backyard.


Skills Learned
Colors, Textures, Counting, Sorting, Fine Motor Skills, Gross Motor Skills, Problem Solving


Art

1. Leaf Rubbing: Collect different types of leaves. Place them under a piece of thin paper. Let children drag the crayon/colored pencil from side to side until the outline of the leaf forms in the coloring. Punkin had a little bit of difficulty with this one. I had to show her how to color in one way {something she is not quite used to yet}, but it was good practice nonetheless.




2. Leaf Collage: Cut out different shaped leaves from different colored construction paper {older preschool children can cut out their own with preschool scissors}. Let children paint the leaves. Once paint has dried, mount the leaves onto different colored construction paper/cardstock. Tape all the pieces together to create a large collage board. You can do as many leaves as you'd like. I found that just doing four with a toddler was a good number. You can also choose to have children decorate the finished collage with "leaf glitter" {see below}.



If you are wondering why there is a black box at the bottom, I always write Punkin's name on everything. Sometimes the photo is taken after.


3. Leaf Glitter: Collect numerous brown leaves {the drier, the better}. Let children crunch up all the leaves into little pieces, creating "leaf glitter". You can choose to either draw pictures out in glue onto paper and let children sprinkle the leaf glitter over the glue, or you can cut out shapes of leaves, trees, etc. and let children decorate those. Toddler hands are not very big, so our glitter was more like confetti. So when I drew out shapes in glue {I drew a tree and a leaf}, they came out...well...let's just say that you probably wouldn't know what they were if I didn't tell you. So I recommend drawing out the shapes in glue for older children who can break the leaves down into really small pieces {you can also have older children draw out there own pictures}, and having younger children decorate cut-outs. Children can experience textures and work on fine motor skills with this activity.






4. Torn Paper Tree: Let children tear pieces of various colored construction paper. Tear one long piece of brown construction paper to create the trunk of the tree. Dot some glue all over the top of the tree trunk and let children place the torn pieces of paper on the glue to create leaves. A great activity that encourages children to use their fine motor muscles. When Punkin placed the tree trunk onto the paper, it was a little crooked so there was glue all around the tree trunk. She wanted to add some pieces of the torn paper to these spots. It came out better than I expected because it looked like leaves had fallen from the tree and onto the ground. A great example of how we need to encourage children to create their own masterpieces, and not what we think it should look like!





5. Leaf Prints: Collect some leaves. Let children dip one side of the leaf into paint and stamp them on paper.




6. Handprint Tree: Paint your child's hand and use their handprints to create leaves on a tree.






Math/Science

1. Sorting Leaves: Have children sort a bunch of leaves by color and size.




2. Leaf Graph: You can have children create a graph once they have sorted the leaves by color and size.


3. Leaf Race: Have children use straws to blow leaves to a finish line. You can participate in this with your children. While you are doing this, talk to the children about how the air coming from the straw acts in the same way as when the wind blows outside.





4. Counting Acorns: While collecting leaves on your nature walk, collect some acorns {Punkin loves acorns!} and sticks as well. Create a large pile of leaves, sticks, and acorns. Have children dig through the pile and find as many acorns as they can, counting them as they find them. To make this more of a challenge for older preschool children, have them find as many acorns as they can within a certain amount of time, using a spoon or tweezers to dig them out of the pile. 


5. Leaf Textures: Collect different kinds of leaves. Have children feel the leaves and "write" {or in a toddler's case, scribble} how the different leaves feel or draw what the different leaves look like. Then, glue the leaves onto the paper, allowing children to feel the different textures whenever they want. 




Dramatic Play Ideas
  • Hungry Squirrel - Have children pretend to be a squirrel getting ready for Winter. Hide some acorns around the room. Let children find them and place them in their tree.
  • Falling Leaves - Let children pretend to be leaves falling to the ground. Make some wind sounds or use a fan to create "wind".







1 comment:

  1. I love that you and daughter do such fun activities!

    ReplyDelete

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