“Every leaf speaks bliss to me fluttering from the autumn tree.” -Emily Bronte
For many children and adults a natural interest in leaves re-surfaces each and every year when the leaves change colour. Fall is an amazing opportunity to nurture children’s natural curiosity in the environment and outdoor learning. Below are some playful invitations to play and learn that have supported our learners in exploring and making discoveries with leaves in the fall.
Student-led Leaf Experiments
Children are invited to test theories, problem-solve, ask questions, generate and explore possible solutions in student-led experiments.
Materials: mortar and pestle (I’m thrilled to say these gorgeous granite mortar and pestle’s are from Dollarama), bowls, various leaves, bowls, spoons, and water.
Books That Inspire Creativity with Leaves
We’ve been reading books like Zoe Hall’s, “Fall Leaves Fall” and Lois Elhert’s, “Leaf Man” that inspire innovation and creativity with leaves.
Wild Flower Ramblings has these amazing Leaf identification Cards that you can print off, take to the forest, and begin exploring right away. http://wildflowerramblings.com/homeschooling/leaf-identification-cards-free-printable/
Nature Walks with Leaf Identification Cards
Transcient Art with Leaves
Picture frames can encourage children to see themselves as artists. Transcient art provides opportunity for children to represent their thinking, design, and adapt their plans.
Numeracy Focus: Foam Leaves with Loose Parts
Leaf-rubbing and leaf printing encourages children to look closely leaf design and parts of a leaf. We enjoyed this beautiful print on canvas. Attach a stick and twine for a decorative effect.
Cinnamon Playdough and Foil Leaves
Many children gravitated toward creating and practicing fine-motor skills with cinnamon play dough and foil leaves.
Cinnamon Play Dough and Foil Leaves(from Dollarama)
Leaf Art with Print-Making Techniques
Many reggio-inspired educators are opposed to product-based art, but still appreciate of art techniques. Below are some simple art provocations that can be explored in open-ended ways. Since learning techniques can lead to newness some of our learners used the foil to make ” a bright sunset”, “a bushy sheep”, “a big storm”, etc. We invite children to create their own ideas. Some children practice with the guide provided until they are confident and then they try something new. Children have endless ideas as to what a print of tinfoil or a clump of dots could be. It’s never just one thing is it?
With authentic measurement and name recognition materials children have open-ended playful opportunities to experiment, .
Materials: Oats, wood coins with names, stones with names, artificial leaves(from Dollarama), metal scoops(from Dollar Tree), various metal bowls, and measuring spoons.
We would love to hear about what the children in your care have been exploring with regards to leaves.
Mel J Maxwell