Leaves Unit

Autumn keeps ticking by, and with it comes plenty of inspiration for this week’s lessons. This week, your child will experience beautiful stories and playful activities while developing fine and gross motor skills and phonetic awareness and learning 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) and modifications (which can be useful for including younger siblings). We’ll mark those with the plus (+) or minus (-) symbols.

What you need:

Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):

Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):

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!

Lesson 1:

Start the day by reading We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt. Talk about the differences between the leaves of different trees. Point out the shapes and the colors, and ask your child if they remind them of other shapes. Has your child read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt? Ask them if this book reminds them of the other book.

***Click here for more tips on how to turn a book into a lesson.

Activity 1: Have a leaf hunt. Walk your neighborhood or block and collect as many different shapes and colors as your child can find. Along with leaves, collect small sticks and other autumn finds like acorns and seeds. (We’ll use these for the next activity and also for the next couple of days.)

Activity 2:   Start a nature journal.

Activity 3: Develop your child’s phonetic awareness by focusing on the letter L with this craft that will need sticks and leaves from your leaf walk. 
(+) Ready for an upgrade? Try this L is for Leaf worksheet instead. Want more? Try this sheet for extra handwriting practice.

Lesson 2:

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: Counting the leaves. Print page 5 of that downloadable worksheet and let your child count out the correct number of leaves by using finger paint to make fingerprint leaves on each tree.
Activity 2: While you have the paint out, try this or this craft idea to create more leaf art.

Lesson 3:

Begin by reading Why Do Leaves Change Colors?

Activity 1: Leaf Color Change Experiment – This experiment will need to sit for a while, so set it up and then check it a few hours later. Check it again the day after to observe the changes. Take pictures of the process to compare the progress!

Activity 2: Uppercase/Lowercase Letter Match
(-) Need to modify? Use this game to practice naming letters.
(+) Ready for an upgrade? Practice letter sounds as you match letters and have your child think of  words that begin with the letter sounds you are practicing.

Lesson 4:

Today we will observe leaves in a beautiful painting. Try the prompts below to encourage a discussion about the painting and develop your child’s art appreciation skills.

Activity 1: Autumn Leaves by John Everett Millais. Here are some questions to consider while you and your child observe this piece:

  • These four girls just raked a lot of leaves! What do their facial expressions tell you about the way they feel?
  • What would you do if you piled up such a big pile of leaves? Would you jump into them?
  • It seems like these girls were asked to burn these leaves. Do you see the smoke on the left side of the painting?
  • Play I Spy and see if your child finds the apple in the painting.
  • Do the girls on the left side look different then the ones on the right?
  • Transition the conversation to chores your child may be asked to do at home. This will help them connect personally to the characters in the painting.

***Click here for expert tips on how to teach your child about art.

Activity 2: Leaf Sorting and Graphing – If you have any leaves left from the hunt earlier in the week, sort them and graph them on a piece of cardstock paper. If not, have your child draw leaves on different colors of construction paper and cut them out.

Activity 3: Pick one of these two craft ideas today, or do both if your child seems really engaged:

Lesson 5:

Read Fletcher and Falling Leaves. You can also re-read any of your child’s favorite books from the week.

Activity 1: The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, “Autumn” – First, listen to the third movement of Vivaldi’s arrangement here. While you and your child listen to the music, share the interesting facts found here. Do they seem to be enjoying it? Encourage them to move to the music, draw a picture, or sit and read a book while they listen.

***Click here for more tips on how to turn a song into a lesson.

Activity 2: Counters Math Game – Practice sums with the counters you purchased, or you can use objects from around the house. Here are some ideas of objects that can work.
(-) If your child isn’t ready for writing numbers sentences, just place the right number of counters on the lines in place of writing the numerals.

Activity 3: Make Easy Pesto – Your child likely knows that we eat leaves in salad, but have they tried them in a sauce? This super-simple recipe comes together quickly in a blender or food processor so your little one can make it themselves for dinner tonight. Drizzle it over pasta, or try one of the suggested serving options!

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