Language: Rhymes / Fingerplays
- Make a Leaf Wreath.
- Cut leaf shapes out of construction paper. Dip a sturdy string (yarn, twine, etc.) into autumn colored paints (brown, orange, red, yellow, & green) then drop onto the leaves. Pull the string off the leaf and drop it back down to make interesting designs. Repeat with different colors as desired.
- Make play dough in autumn colors and cut out leaf shapes with cookie cutters.
- Make mobiles of Falling Leaves or Autumn Leaf Sun Catchers.
- Color / fingerpaint pictures of leaves.
- Two Leaves: Here is a leaf, yellow and brown./ Here is a leaf that (child’s name) found./ Put them together and you'll have two / One for me and one for you!
- Five Little Leaves: Five little leaves, so happy and gay (hold up five fingers) / were dancing about on a tree one day. / The wind came blowing through the town / and one little leaf came tumbling down. (Repeat until all the “leaves” are gone.)
- Falling Leaves: All the leaves are falling down (flutter fingers downward) / Orange, green, red, and brown. (flutter fingers) / If you listen, you'll hear them say, (cup hands around ears) / "Wintertime is on it's way." (whispering)
- Lucky Leaves: Yellow leaves tumbling, (move hands like falling leaves) / falling through the air; (repeat action) / Falling in my front yard. / Falling everywhere. / Oh, that I could catch one (grab one in the air) / before it blows away! / A yellow leaf, caught in the air, / will bring me luck, they say!
- Raking Leaves: I like to rake the leaves (raking motion with hands) / Into a great big hump (pretend to pile leaves) / Then I move back a bit / Bend my knees and jump!
Math / Science
- Leaves on the Tree (sung to "Wheels on the Bus"): The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown. / Orange and brown, / orange and brown / The leaves on the trees turn orange and brown / All around the town. / The leaves on the ground go crunch, crunch, crunch... / The leaves on the trees come tumbling down....
- Leaves (sung to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"): All join hands and circle around / While we watch the leaves fall down. / See them skipping here and there / See them flipping in the air. / Autumn leaves so peacefully / Falling, falling from the tree.
- Autumn Leaves (sung to "London Bridges”): Autumn leaves are falling down / falling down, falling down. / Autumn leaves are falling down / Red, yellow, orange and brown.
- Autumn Leaves (sung to "Mulberry Bush"): Summer leaves are hanging, / Hanging, hanging / Summer leaves are hanging / All day long. (stand with arms outstretched) / Autumn leaves are turning colors, / Turning colors, turning colors, / Autumn leaves are turning colors / All day long. (turn around) / Autumn leaves are falling, / Falling, falling, / Autumn leaves are falling / All day long. (lower yourself to floor) / Autumn leaves are dancing, / Dancing, dancing, / Autumn leaves are dancing / All day long. (dance) / Autumn leaves are being raked, / Being raked, being raked, / Autumn leaves are being raked / All day long. (everyone squishes together)
- The Leaves' Journey (German Folksong by Homer H. Harbour, adapted by Terry Kluytmans, copyright 2001 KIDiddles.com): "Come away," sang the river, / To the leaves on the tree; / "Let's sail off on a journey, / So the world you may see." / So the leaves fluttered gently / From the tree on the shore, / And they sailed down that river, / To return never more.
Gross Motor: Active Play
- Comparing & Classifying, Matching: Gather a variety of leaves (or pictures of leaves), then sort them by similarities (size, stem or no stem, color, etc).
- Meaningful Counting: Fall Counting Cards Print out cards (on cardstock) labeled with the numbers 1-10. Place craft leaves, nuts, or something else fall related on a table and practice counting out the right amount of items.
- Sequencing & Patterning, Seriation / Ordering: Talk about the order in which leaves change their colors (from green to red/yellow/orange to brown), then sort a group of leaves into piles of "new", "older", and "oldest".
- Measuring, Size: Number a set of index cards (I suggest no more than 5). Use a ruler or fabric measuring tape to measure the lengths of different leaves and put the leaves onto the index card that corresponds to the measured length (index card #1 = all leaves less than 2 inches long, index card #2 = all leaves measuring between 2 & 3 inches, etc).
- Spatial Relationships, Matching: Print out 2 or more sets of these leaves. Cut out all but one set of leaves, then match the cut outs to the uncut set.
- Find some small rakes and rake up the leaves in your yard! Don’t have a lot of leaves? Make some from tissue paper and scatter them about for raking practice.
- Go on a nature hike and collect interesting leaves.
- Gather up a pile or basket full of leaves. Mix in a few “special leaves” (made out of tissue paper, made out of fabric, painted, etc.) and see who can find them in the pile.
- Attach a few leaves to a broomstick or jump rope with various lengths of string (not too long!) and see who can limbo under without getting tickled by any of the leaves.
- Leaf Toss
- Make a salad out of different kinds of greens (different lettuces, spinach leaves, arugula, fennel, etc.)
- Make leaf shaped sugar cookies.
- "Plant" a celery tree (stalk with the leaves left on) in a spoonful of peanut butter. Use chunky peanut butter for rocky soil, add some raisins for stones, sprinkle on some crushed cookie crumbs for dirt.
- Maple Leaf Snacks
- Cut a variety of cheese slices into leaf shapes and arrange around a pretzel rod "tree trunk".