In this currently high-tech world of overstimulation, the art of outdoor play is increasingly getting lost in the shuffle. As a parent and teacher I am constantly in search of new ways to get kids outdoors. Not only is playing outdoors excellent exercise, but the sights, smells and sounds of nature provide kids with a rich sensory input that is simply not available inside.
This Leaf Man activity is a great way to get kids outdoors, build early literacy skills and foster creativity. I have used this with my students many times, and it has always been a hit!
- Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
- Plastic grocery bags
- Leaves, sticks, acorns and other items from nature
- Construction paper
- Tacky Glue
Begin by reading the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. While reading ask:
- What do you see in the picture?
- Where do you think Leaf Man will go?
- Why does the wind know where Leaf Man will go?
After reading, venture outdoors for a leisurely nature walk.
- While walking, discuss all of the sights, sounds and smells around you.
- Use your plastic grocery bag to collect various nature items (leaves, sticks, acorns etc.).
Take your collected items indoors to create your own leaf man and leaf critters.
- Use 1 sheet of construction paper for each creation.
- Due to the how bulky the items are, Tacky Glue works much better than school glue or glue sticks for this activity.
- Be creative. See how many different types of animals you can create out of the items you collected.
Display your artwork and enjoy it!