Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is a wonderful autumn book. The unique illustrations show people and animal shapes made out of leaves. What a perfect fall activity! We headed to the park to gather our materials. The girls loved picking out leaves, acorns, sticks, grass, pine needles and cones to take home. I made sure I got doubles of ones they liked so we could make symmetrical arms and legs. (TIP: The inside cover of the book provides a cheat sheet of the names of trees, in case you are nature-challenged like me.)
Start off by recreating designs in the book. It seems easy, but finding similar shapes and colors and copying a picture can be tricky for little ones. Elementary kids should be able to do it without help. Then see if they can make up their own shapes! Play a game and see if you can guess what animal they are trying to make.
Talk about symmetry and see if you can make designs with one or two lines of symmetry.
Play with the leaves and then put them back in nature when you are finished. I love easy clean-up! Or you can press the leaf design by putting books on top of it. Leave it (ha!) for a few days, then iron it between two sheets of wax paper, and you’ll have a longer-lasting shape.
Ask preschoolers questions about their Leaf Man. What is his name? Where would he go on his adventure? Who would he meet? What will happen to him in the wind? Elementary kids might be inspired to write their own Leaf Man story. They can use their own pressed leaves as illustrations or you can take pictures and print them off.