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.
Not Halloween books…not Thanksgiving books….these are just plain autumn books. Sometimes it’s nice to focus on the season instead of the holiday. They are all about leaves, harvest, a chill in the air, and animals getting ready for winter. Check these out at your local library, and if you love them as much as me, run to the bookstore! Or, you know, run your fingers over the keyboard to search Amazon. 🙂
- The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri- Repeating text and animal sounds. Great for beginning readers or reading to toddlers. It is about a squirrel getting ready for winter.
- Leaves by David Ezra Stein- Simple text about a bear worried about falling leaves.
- Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke- Similar to Leaves, but more text describing a fox’s worries the leaves falling off his favorite tree.
- Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert- Awesome illustrations that make different animals out of leaves. My favorite is the leaf shapes identified inside the cover.
- I Know It’s Autumn by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Nancy Hayashi- Describes all the everyday signs of autumn like geese flying south, school buses, wearing a robe.
- It’s Fall by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Susan Swan- Beautiful cut paper illustrations plus a list of nature activities to do with kids in the back of the book!
- The Leaves Fall All Around (a Scholastic Rookie Preschool book)- New fall lyrics to the classic “The Green Grass Grew All Around”
- Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert- Large print and cool illustrations about a sugar maple tree. Lots of extra information at the end for older kiddos.
- The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger- The story of a little leaf that didn’t want to fall until another leaf fell with it. Unique illustrations.
- Autumn an Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, illustrated by Leslie Evans- Focus on the alphabet for younger readers and the acrostic part for older readers.
- Awesome Autumn by Bruse Goldstone- Non-fiction book with lots of information for elementary students. This has everything you want to know about autumn (but were afraid to ask)…okay, maybe not.