Food Coloring Leaves

Autumn Leaves Craft

This craft was one of those ideas that I had and hoped I wouldn’t regret. Food coloring , small eye droppers that squirt and a toddler could have been a recipe for disaster but not only did we have fun and survive , how awesome are those leaves? I was planning on posting this next week but couldn’t wait to share. We have been talking a lot about the changing colors we see on our tress but this could also be used for a fun garland if you don’t want to make a branch.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some coffee filters, a large piece of construction paper ( white or brown), red, yellow and green food coloring, eye droppers,3 small dishes , water ,crayons,  scissors and glue.Elmers glue and materials
  2. Start by drawing a branch .autumn craft
  3. Have your child color the branch they can add more branches if they like too!fall leaves and emma 004
  4. While they do that draw leaves on the coffee filters.  fall leaves and emma 002
  5. Pour some water along with the food coloring into the small containers, pop the eye droppers in ( one per color)- a big tip put a thick fabric place mat under your child when they are doing this step. It will absorb the coloring so it doesn’t get on other things.  Of course this will stain it so do not use your new William Sonoma ones !fall leaves and emma 005
  6. Using the eye dropper drop the colors onto the coffee filter leaves. fall leaves and emma 006
  7. Use multiple colors for each leaf if you want.  Using an eye dropper is intricate and helps develop your child’s  fine motor skills.fall leaves and emma 007
  8. Let dry- ours dried over night.
  9. Cut out the branchfall leaves and emma 009
  10. Cut out the leavesFall Craft
  11. Add glue to the branchfall leaves and emma 010
  12. Add your leaves and let dry.fall leaves and emma 012

Fall Butterfly Craft

butterfly 009

The book Leaf Man inspired this craft. I had a different leaf craft planned, which we will do later but as we were leaving the park today I picked two leaves up and put them together, asked my son what they looked like and after he said “Butterfly” I knew we’d be doing this instead.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 large leaves with stems, some cardboard, markers, tape, glue and googly eyes.
  2. Start by drawing a butterfly body on the cardboard.
  3. Have your child color it – red was the only color he wanted to use today.
  4. While they are coloring snip the stems off the leaves, don’t loose the stems they will be made into antenna in a bit.
  5. Cut the body out.
  6. Tape the antenna on underside of the head.
  7. Tape the leaves on as wings. Tape works way way better than glue since the leaves can still have some moisture , they can take forever to dry sometimes.
  8. Glue the googly eyes on add a smile!

Books

“Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert was the inspiration for this craft and will leave you trying to find all sorts of things like butterflies, chickens and fish in leaf piles. The book is about a leaf man who blows away in the wind and the reader is taken past all sorts of animals like chickens and ducks, past rivers filled with fish and butterflies in the air. All are leaves pieced together to make these awesome images , some are obvious, some take concentration to see the animal among the leaves. Wonderful creative book to welcome the changing seasons.


“Lucky Leaf” by Kevin O’Malley is a funny book about a boy kicked outside and off his video game by a parent and his quest for a lucky leaf. He waits and waits for the last leaf from a tree to fall, even after his friends give up and go home. The story is cute and my son thought it was funny. I liked the comic book format of the illustrations and the little boy’s dog has some pretty funny facial expressions throughout.


“Autumn : An Alphabet Acrostic” by Steven Schnur is a lovely book that is also a wonderful introduction into this form of poetry for young children. Each page has a poem about the season, from Acorns, to Owls to Pumpkins. Each letter of the words are a jumping off point for a sentence in the poem. The beauty of this book is that it reads well traditionally as well as individual poems which really makes it two books in one.

 

Nature Color Hunt

This is so simple to make, and can be used over and over again. Learning colors in a book or while using paints isn’t bad, but when you are able to go outside and find colors in the natural world there is a spark! I was overjoyed to see my son yell “Look mama flower is yellow”. I love bridging learning from inside to outside and incorporating all different ways to learn into one activity.

  1. Gather your materials. We used a baby food freezer tray but an ice cube tray, or egg carton among other things would work well. Also scissors and a color of foam ( can you tell I bought a big thing of foam a few weeks ago?) or construction paper for each section. A backyard, beach, park…
  2. Cut your foam/paper into pieces small enough to line the bottom of the tray/carton. For younger kids choose colors that you kn0w they have a chance of finding a match. You don’t want it to be too easy , but too much of a challenge just frustrates everyone. If a child is frustrated they won’t learn, our goal is to challenge and learn!
  3. Head outside – my son couldn’t wait to get outside so as you can see he’s as per usual in his pjs!
  4. Start finding things to match. Start off by choosing a color with your child and both go looking, if they have a hard time finding a match find one, and go to it but don’t announce you have found it. Say something like “Hey Bug I think there is a match over here, can you find it” narrow down the are for them, if they still can’t pick up the object and have them match it in the tray.
  5. Continue working together or if they want to work all alone, watch your child explore and make connections, that is exciting and fun too!
  6. After you have made all your matches, talk about what you have found- how it feels what it does ( rock lines a path for us to walk on, a flower provides pollen for bees etc…).

Books!

These books aren’t related to the activity at all, they are just some books that caught my eye at the library and I was eager to share!

“19 Girls And Me” by Darcy Pattison fell short of my expectations which I admit were high. The overall message was great, that boys and girls don’t need to be labeled “tomboys” or “sissies” just friends. The adventures the kids get into are great too. What I didn’t like was that every adventure was suggested by the lone boy. Why couldn’t he take the backseat? There were 19 girls you’d think one of them would have a suggestion. In the author’s defense the girls did suggest things part way through each adventure but I resented that he was always the ring leader.

“Scaredy Squirrel : at the beach” by Melanie Watt is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.

“Bernard : The Angry Rooster” by Mary Wormell was a huge disappointment to me. Bernard is proud and when a rooster weather vane is put up on the roof of the barn he is jealous and takes out his anger on everyone he encounters. Here is my issue with this book.I like that the author is writing about anger, I think it’s essential we talk about that with toddlers and kids. What made me feel disappointed was that although people ask him why he is angry , and an adult can see through the illustrations that the weather vane is being put up and he is looking at it, it’s not obvious to a child. I had to really look to notice it. No one takes Bernard on saying his behavior is not acceptable or demands he explain why he hurt others. I want to label and recognize my child’s anger but it alone is not an excuse of bad behavior and that was the feeling I was left with after reading this book. My son just kept saying “Mean rooster!” I explained he was jealous and angry but I wish the book had explained it more as well.

Bird Craft


Nature Brochure Craft !


While on the ferry my son found this brochure of local birds and refused to let go of it. I did what I do best and tried to think of a way to turn it into an activity the following day. Here is what we did and how we did it. I would like to thank Shawna and her son for sending me the song request !

  1. Gather your materials. First you need to go outside and gather some branches!
  2. Now gather the rest, you will need 2 pieces of construction paper, a bird brochure from a local travel kiosk (or a book about birds, anything with glossy pictures) some scissors, lots of glue . I had crayons in the picture too because I thought my son would want to draw some sky or leaves, he wasn’t interested.
  3. Start by cutting out the birds from the brochure, I had my son point to which ones he liked, I read him their names and then cut them out. Older kids could do this independently.
  4. Grab the glue. Draw a tree with the glue. I laid out the branches first as a guide.
  5. Add the branches to cover the glue
  6. Add more glue on the branches and around them.
  7. Add the bird cut outs.
  8. Let dry, yes it will take a while!
  9. Use your new bird guide when you bird watch in your backyard!

Song !


Sing a song of sixpence
a pocketful of rye
four and twenty blackbirds
baked in a pie.
When the pie was open
the birds began to sing
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
to set before a king?

The king was in his counting house
counting all his money.
The queen was in the parlour
eating bread with honey.
The maid was in the garden
hanging out the clothes
and down came a blackbird
and snatched off her nose.

You naughty, naughty bird
I need my little nose
to smell all the soapsuds
when I was the clothes.
I’ll get a sugar cookie
and hang it on the tree
if you will find my little nose
and bring it back to me.

Giant Sunflower Craft

sunflower kids craft
It was cold, dark and dreary today, so we made our own cheer with this giant sunflower project. This is a great craft for a day when you are stuck inside because there are so many steps . You can plant a seed or act out how a seed grows into a plant while you are waiting for your sunflower to dry.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper bag, a paper plate, some black rice, glue, yellow and green paint , a marker , scissors, a bath poof or sponge and double stick tape.
  2. Start by cutting open your grocery bag and drawing a long stem along one edge and multiple petals on the rest of it.
  3. Cut the stem outline out and have your child paint it green. My son loved using the roller paints for this because it was so easy to make long straight lines. Let dry.
  4. Paint the petals with the bath poof or sponge. I find that when we are painting a large surface it’s much better to use a big tool that covers easily.
  5. Paint the bottom of the paper plate with the yellow paint too. Let dry.
  6. Cut out the stem and petals
  7. Add glue to the center of the paper plate – more is better so this is a great time to have your child control the glue.
  8. Add the rice. My son added a few at first then dumped the whole dish on. Let dry. This actually dried to the touch pretty fast.
  9. Flip the plate upside down and using the double stick tape tape the petals on.
  10. Tape the stem on.
  11. Brighten even the darkest day !

Books!

“The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carleis a story about a tiny seed who unlike the other seeds from his flower makes it against all odds to continue the cycle of life. I really enjoy this book and love how it shows all the obstacles along the way for a simple little seed. My son liked this book but didn’t make it all the way through, which I expected since it is a long book for a 2 year old.

“Planting A Rainbow” by Lois Elhert is a wonderful book to use for teaching about flowers and colors. The illustrations are bold and bright, perfect for little curious minds. I have always liked this book because you can sit down and dive into it reading each flowers name on every page , or browse it more casually with a youngerchild simply noting the colors.


Additional Activity


” Grow Little Seed!”

I love teaching through acting things out, and just like all the classes I have had my son loves it too. For this theme we started as little “ta ta tiny!” seeds deep in the dirt. Then it rained and we started growing roots ( ours looked a lot like jazz hands) and then started to push through the dirt to the sunlight. Then the sun was bright and strong and we grew and grew, and finally blossomed. With older children I would havegone into more detail , maybe include a strong wind blowing us to and fro, sprouting leaves etc…However you do it , go big, take your children’s suggestions and have fun!