Level 1: 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 modifications (which can be useful for including younger siblings). We’ll mark those with the minus (-) symbol.

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!

Letter of the week: L

New to the letter of the week? Start here! Next, print your letter L coloring sheet and Letter Guide. Let your child color the coloring sheet as you work through the next part of the lesson.

Introduce this letter by saying the letter L says /l/ as in leaf. (Tip: Don’t attach a vowel ending to the /l/ sound.) Reinforce the sounds with our Letter of the Week Song.

Remember, the guide isn’t a worksheet! The first page is for you, the grown-up. Use it to introduce the letter name, the sounds it makes, and to demonstrate how to draw each letter. Display the Letter Guide in your school area along with the completed coloring sheet to reinforce the lesson throughout the week.

Next, use the second sheet to create a page for your child’s phonics book. Review the book a few times each week until your child has mastered these phonics.

Lesson 1:

Start the day by reading We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt (or Listen to it on YouTube here or read it here on OpenLibrary). 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. Stand up and move along with the story. 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 witha leaf craft! Start with a sheet of brightly colored cardstock or construction paper. Then, cut out an L using a white or contrasting color of paper and help your child glue the L to the colorful sheet. Next, use some of the leaves you collected on your leaf hunt and glue to decorate the L, like this:

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 that PDF and let your child count out the correct number below the tree 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. If your child is ready, review the letter sounds they learned so far. You could say, “Can you find the letter that makes two sounds: /s/ and /k/?” If they are having trouble, sing your Letter Sound Song to help them remember.
(+)Have your child think of words that begin with the letter sounds you are practicing.
(-) Need to modify? Use the single sheet print out to practice the names of the lower case letters.

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: Leaf dress up craft.

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, review his bio found here on the Classics for Kids Lesson Plan page. Classics for Kids is highlighting his “Spring” Four Seasons piece. Listen to both compositions. Can they hear any difference between the two? Get up and dance! Encourage them to move to the music, draw a picture, or sit and read a book while they listen. (They decide how to enjoy this piece!) Classics for Kids has a large PDF for K-2 educators. We found a few links we like. Download the link on this page (it’s a zip file) and look for this and this page. The first printable is a great way to show how the melody and tempo of the music changes with the help of lines, swirls and birds. The second link would be great for a bird-song puppet show. (Printing, cutting and pasting required.)

(+) Older kids might enjoy this Classics for Kids podcast to learn about concertos.

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

Activity 2: Counters Math Game. This activity is very flexible and can be used to meet your child where ever they are. Try one of these ideas:

  • Introduce your child to numbers and their values. Write a number at the top of jar and have your child use counters to match written number to objects that match its value.
  • (+) Once your child understands that numbers have values they can try adding. 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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Published by The Learn + Live Letter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-12.

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