Autumn leaves projects can enhance many learning areas for preschoolers.
Nature Walk –
Take a small group of children to a nature walk where they can see autumn leaves and trees changing colors. Give them each a basket or bag. Let the children explore nature their own way. Let them hop, run, squish dried leaves and gather the various colored autumn leaves in individual baskets or bags.
Involve them in the discussion of what colors do they see in the autumn leaves, what are their favorite ones, are their differences in leaf patterns, can one single tree produce different shapes of leaves, Can one individual tree produce different sizes of leaves of only one shape etc. Depending on the ages of the children you may also talk why do trees change colors- the scientific aspect of it or save it for another day to discuss.
This project thus integrate gross motor with language and science and children’s awareness about nature.
Language and art :
Give each child an area rug or a tray to dump their gathered autumn leaves and some paper plates.
Sorting and matching-
Let them sort the autumn leaves according to colors
Let them sort them according to shapes
Compare – which has more and less.
Let children make patterns with one yellow, one green, one brown and so on. Or whatever pattern they choose. You may just keep it simple and have them do it on the rug provided. Once the concept is familiar, you may extend it to an art project.
In this case provide a contact paper 18″x18″ and ask them to stick the leaves as they please. Cover it with the other part and a table mat is done.
This can also be done on a laminating sheet and be laminated later on.
Individual rugs or trays, cut out numerals ( this can be done by cutting numbers from old calendars )
Let children discuss who has more of a single color, or who has less of the autumn leaves they have gathered. Let them count and put the corresponding numerals.
(Adjust the project according to the child’s level for very young children you may limit it upto ten or so on.)
The concept of more and less is a great discussion at this age. Let children show off their gathered leaves and have this discussion.
A couple of dice, a tray with all the autumn leaves in the middle.
Individual trays or paper plates for each participating child.
Each child takes turn to roll the two dice and put the corresponding leaves adding up the dots on the dice and put the leaves on his plates. At the end of the games the children can compare the leaves on their plates .
This exercise is a great one for early math and addition practice.
At the end of the day involve children about the discussion of the autumn leaves and let’s see what they really liked and how much did they retain.