Who’s ready to fall into learning? (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!) This week’s lessons are inspired by the changing season. Get ready for stunningly illustrated stories packed with science and play-based activities that cover a variety of skills and subjects, such as math, science, music, and art appreciation. 🍂 Track your progress with our printable worksheet that lets you log books read, activities completed, and skills learned.
Note: Occasionally we include project upgrades (for kids ready for more). We’ll mark those with the plus (+) symbol.
What you need:
Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):
- The Leaf Detective by Heather Lang
- Up in the Leaves by Shira Boss
- Why Do Leaves Change Colors? by Betsy Maestro (or read it here on OpenLibrary)
- Leif and the Fall by Allison Sweet Grant
- Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman (optional, but recommended if your child loves nature and figuring out what’s what!)
Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):
- paper + access to a printer (don’t have one? we like this model)
- laminator + laminator sheets (optional, but recommended for repeating lessons)
- glue (we like this glue + glue stick set)
- notebook for nature journal
- crayons or colored pencils
- sidewalk chalk
- rubbing alcohol
- blender (an immersion blender would work, too!)
- glass jar or cup
- paper towel
- construction paper
- leaf-shaped tray (but any kind of tray will work!)
- green glitter
- snap cubes
- leaf eraser (or you can use an orange pom pom, a real leaf, or some other leaf manipulative)
- ingredients for this smoothie
What to do:
We recommend doing the below lessons in this order to build on each skill your child will develop, but don’t feel that you *need* to do them in this order. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!
New to our phonics guide? Start here. The Phonics Guide this week will highlight the EA phonogram. Students will learn the three different sounds it makes. EA is the perfect phonogram this week as we learn all about leaves!
Let’s start the week by reading The Leaf Detective, the real-life story of scientist Margaret Lowman who discovered some amazing things about leaves in the rainforest. Encourage your child to think like a “leaf detective” throughout the week!
Activity 1: Let’s take a closer look at leaves! Read through this page with your child (or you can read ahead and “story tell” the information for them if they don’t have the attention span to read the whole thing). Be sure to highlight the parts of the leaf.
Activity 2: Parts of a Leaf Cut and Paste. There are several printables on that page, but we are going to focus on the cut and paste sheet for some hands-on learning to reinforce the parts of a leaf. (You may also want to print the diagram for your own reference and so your child can self-correct their work if needed.)
(+) If your child prefers to write, you can have them use the cut-out words as a guide for some copywork as they write the terms in the boxes.
Activity 3: Finally, bring what they’ve learned to life by going on a leaf hunt in your yard or neighborhood. Collect a few leaves and encourage your child to draw them in a nature journal. (Not sure how to start a nature journal? Click here!) If you purchased Nature Anatomy, see if you can work together to identify the leaves you find. Let your child label their drawings, or you can scribe for them.
Read Up in The Leaves, a true story of a boy who built tree houses in Central Park. Ask your child what kind of tree house they would design (and let them draw it if that interests them).
Activity 1: Talk about the idea of symmetry, which we see in nature in many plants and animals like butterflies. Using some of the leaves you collected yesterday, create a few pages in your child’s nature journal dedicated to symmetry with this activity.
Activity 2: Leaf graphing activity.
Activity 3: Today, let’s tackle a part of language your child might not have learned before: irregular plurals! The most common way to make a noun plural is to add an S at the end—but there are exceptions to this rule, like the word “leaf.” These kinds of words are called irregular plurals. Let’s explore a few your child is probably familiar with in this matching game. If possible, laminate the cards to help them last longer for repeat lessons.
One of the coolest things you’ll observe about leaves now and in the coming months? Their seasonal color change! Today, we’ll dig deeper to learn why this happens. Start your day by reading Why Do Leaves Change Colors? before trying the following experiment.
Activity 1: Ever wonder why leaves change in the fall? Let’s find out with this Leaf Chromatography Experiment.
Activity 2: Fall Word Family Trees. Explore rhyming word families with this simple, colorful craft. Start by painting a few tree trunks. Next, provide your child with a word ending that has several rhymes, such as -all, -ot, or -in. As they name rhyming words with the same ending, write them on a construction paper leaf (or have your child write them).
Activity 3: Leaf Number Movement Game. Upgrade this activity by doing numbers 11-20. Other modifications can include writing number sentences on the tree and having your child match the leaf with the correct sum onto the equation.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at an artist who had an interesting way of painting leaves.
Activity 1: “A Sunday on Grande Jatte” by George Seurat. George Seurat is a French painter who is famous for his use of pointillism. Pointillism is a special kind of painting where, instead of mixing colors to create a new color, the painter puts two color dots close enough to each other that the eye mixes them in the mind of the viewer. This short cartoon explains how it works.
Next, try this craft to do some pointillism of your own! Once it’s dry, encourage your child to look at their painting up close and from across the room. How do the colors change depending on how you look at the painting?
Activity 2: Leaf sensory writing practice. Don’t worry about needing a leaf-shaped tray if you already have a different tray, and any stick will do as a writing instrument. You can also use any leaves from your garden—just make sure your child knows not to eat them.
Activity 3: Leaf bug craft.
Read Leif and the Fall.
Activity 1: Leaf Measurement Activity.
Activity 2: For our music lesson today, we’ll be introducing your child to major musical scales using “do re mi,” or Solfege. First, explain how all music is organized into groups of seven notes, called keys or scales. These notes have names, but for now, we will use the syllables of “do re mi” to identify them. Play this clip from The Sound of Music to help them remember the syllables.
Next, we’ll demonstrate how the notes live on the scale with this printout. Using a leaf eraser, a pom pom, or some other leaf manipulative, pretend your leaf is blowing up and down the scale in the “wind,” pronouncing each note as you go up and down. Note for grownups: This is a big music concept for little learners! Don’t worry if your child doesn’t fully grasp the lesson right away. Keep singing the “do re mi” song throughout the next few weeks to help them memorize it and to emphasize the idea of the notes going up and down a scale.
(+) If your child is really enjoying this lesson, you could also introduce the Solfege hand signs with this video. As they memorize them, see how fast you can do the scales together!
Activity 3: There are many types of leaves that we can eat—and this green smoothie recipe has two of our favorites, spinach and mint! (But to your child, it will just taste like chocolate mint. 😉)
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