Fall is here and with it, beautiful leaves! Let’s go on a leaf hunt and collect leaves. There are so many fun things to do with leaves: rubbings, wreaths, and making a leaf stick puppet!
My son really wanted to make leaf stick puppets so went in search of fall leaves. This became a fun nature activity as we also found 2 awesome rocks and 3 beautiful feathers in addition to a dozen different kind of leaves. A lot of our leaves were brittle and didn’t survive the walk home. However, those that did were lots of fun. We made leaf rubbings, trying crayons and colored pencils, and we made a leaf stick puppet.
Leaf Stick Puppet
-a leaf that is not very brittle
-2 googly eyes
-1 black marker
-1 craft stick
-glue dots or tape
Make Your Puppet:
The first thing we did was decide on a leaf to use. It needed to be sturdy enough to withstand drawing a mouth and being attached to a craft stick. We decided to use a dried magnolia leaf.
My son stuck on 2 googly eyes and drew a smile on his leaf with a black marker.
Then, we taped our leaf to the craft stick.
My kiddo had a great time taking his leaf puppet on an adventure through our house and our backyard. He was excited to show his leaf a lot of his toys and the refrigerator 🙂
Whether you live near the ocean or not, you can enjoy beach-theme books and activities with your little one at home. Check your library for beach-theme books!
We made it to the beach! And of course, we had to bring some of our favorite beach-themed books with us 🙂 Books, waves, sandcastles, and lots of splashing made for a great time!
Enjoy some of our favorite beach-theme books and activities with us!
Duck and Goose are some of our favorite picture book characters! My son has loved them for years (and I’ve loved them even longer!). We’ve been reading Duck and Goose stories since he was a baby. Their books come in a board book format that was perfect for when my kiddo was in the grabby stage, and now that he’s older, we read the picture books. We have actually brought Duck and Goose go theBeachand the stuffed animals to the beach with us a few times now 🙂 In this book, the two friends set off on an adventure and find themselves at the beach! But do they actually the sand, sun, and waves? Read it and find out 🙂
My son LOVES Adam Wallace’s How to Catch a Mermaid!It’s a fun book about 2 kids and dog who hatch all sorts of plans to catch a mermaid because who wouldn’t want to have a mermaid friend, right!?! Spoiler, the kids get themselves trapped instead and the mermaid saves the day! This book has rhyming text and bold, bright pictures that compliment the fun story. This has been one of my son’s favorites for a over a year now and we hope you like it as much as we do!
The Sandcastle that Lola Builtby Megan Maynor– based on the “House that Jack Built” story, this is a cute book about a little girl’s beach day. In this great example of teamwork, Lola and her new friends work together to make a sandcastle for mermaids. Fantastic pictures and rhyming text make this book a winner!
After reading this, we had to make our own sandcastle 🙂 And just like in the book, the tide washed away our castle too!
Inky’s Amazing Escapeby Sy Montgomery — my kiddo loves this book! It is a true story about an octopus named Inky, who escapes from an aquarium in Australia and makes its way back to the ocean. We learned a lot about octopuses from this non-fiction picture book, and we were fascinated by Inky’s journey. My son was so excited when he learned that Inky liked playing Legos just like he does! Out of all of the books written about Inky, this one is our favorite. Sy Montgomery is a gifted storyteller and we were absolutely fascinated by this amazing octopus. I check out lots of library books for my son and I to read together, but this is one book that we felt that we needed to own. We truly love this story and read it over-and-over again.
My son got Over in the Ocean: in a Coral Reeffor his birthday recently and it is AWESOME! It has fantastic pictures that were formed from clay by artist Jeanette Canyon that perfectly compliment Marianne Berkes’ sing-songy text. You and your little one will want to study these pictures over-and-over again to get all of the details incorporated onto each page. This book introduces a variety of cool sea creatures. It also lends itself well to movement activities that preschoolers will love to do. At the end, there is a seek-and-find activity to search for all of the sea creatures from the book, as well as a sneak-peek into the clay creations. We had so much fun reading this at the beach!
Candace Ransom writes great beginning-reader books. The text is simple, but not boring and the pictures capture the joy of the kids’ adventures. In Beach Day!the family heads out to enjoy the beach together. The book captures the fun, excitement, and joy of family outing at the seashore. The kids gather seashells, build a sand castle, and see some neat sea creatures. As you read this one with your little one, you just can’t help but get caught up in the fun! Be prepared to read this multiple times 🙂
Another one of our favorite authors is Julia Donaldson; her books are perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners! For our beach-theme stories, my son and I read A Snail and a Whale. A snail yearns to explore in this rhyming book. However, snail finds that its explorations are hindered by its size. When whale offers to help snail take a journey, it is a dream come true. Snail enjoys adventuring with the large whale. Uh-oh, whale gets stuck and it is up to the small snail to help its new friend. This story goes to show that no matter how small you are, you can still help others.
Beach-Theme Activities —
To go along with our beach stories, my son had fun doing a beach and an ocean-themed I Spy challenges and an ocean-themed Find The Differences worksheet.
Read The Hare and the Tortoise with your little one and then extend the fun by acting out the story with stick puppets!
The Hare & the Tortoise
A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.
“Do you ever get anywhere?” he asked with a mocking laugh.
“Yes,” replied the Tortoise, “and I get there sooner than you think. I’ll run you a race and prove it.”
The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.
The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.
The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.
The race is not always to the swift.
After reading the fable together, we made stick puppets. My son colored them and then I cut them out. He attached them to craft sticks with glue dots. Then we raced!
Letter D is awesome — Dinosaurs, Dogs, Donuts, and Ducks! This was a fun week for my preschooler. We read books about his favorite animals, ate donuts, danced along to We are the Dinosaurs, and made a neat Froot Loops Tower.
Monday — D is for Dinosaur
Writing Practice: write uppercase D. For this letter, we used a worksheet from AtoZteacherstuff.com:
Book: Crunch the Shy Dinosaurby Cirocco Dunlap. This is a fun, interactive book that really engages with the reader. Young children will have a blast getting to know Crunch by saying hello, singing Happy Birthday, and introducing themselves. It also encourages the reader to take into consideration that other people (and dinosaurs) might be shy when you first meet them and to let them have some quiet space to adjust to new people.
Song: This was great excuse to sing along to our of my favorite preschool songs, We Are the Dinosaurs by the Laurie Berkner Band. Watch the music video on YouTube and march along!
STEM: Build a Froot Loops Tower. This project is great for working on fine-motor skills!
Supplies needed are Play-Doh, a dry spaghetti noodle, and Froot Loops cereal.
First, make a mound out of Play-Doh to use as your tower’s base.
Second, stick a spaghetti noodle into the center of the base and make sure to really smush the Play-Doh around the bottom of the noodle so that it stands up.
Now it is time to make the tower and work on fine motor skills! Take your Froot Loops and carefully drop each down the noodle, making a tower as they stack. Have fun making color patterns. Bonus, you get to eat the cereal after your are done making towers 😉
Air Writing: Ask your child to hold up a hand and trace letter shapes with their finger in the air. I was skeptical of this at first, but my son really got into it and I found him air writing his letters all on his own.
“Dog I Spy” Worksheet: practice counting with this cute dog-themed I Spy picture.
Books — We read dog stories! My son loves Karma Wilson’s book, A Dog Named Doug. Doug the dog is a digging machine. He digs a holes to everywhere and gets into a bit of trouble along the way. The book ends happily with Doug digging a hole into his family’s bedroom for a bedtime cuddle. My son loves this book and he laughs every single time we read it. We have checked this out from our library numerous times, and we hope you will check it from yours too! It is also available on Amazon if you want to buy it.
We also read Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Dog a Donut. Turns out if you give a dog a donut, a great story ensues! This cute story is a fun read-aloud and good introduction to sequencing. Find a copy at your library, or buy on Amazon.
Craft — Paper Plate Donut. Supplies needed are paper plate, light brown watercolor paint and paintbrush, construction paper (we used pink), scissors, white glue, and sprinkles.
1. First my son painted the entire plate light brown.
2. While it was drying, we picked our construction paper for the donut icing. We went with the classic pink for our donut, but also strongly considered brown for a chocolate icing. I cut out a wavy shape in the pink paper.
3. After the donut plate was dry, I cut out the center to give it the donut shape.
4. My son used white, school glue to attach the icing to the plate.
5. Last, he glued on sprinkles to complete his paper plate donut 🙂
Songs — For letter D, we sang the “Donut Song.” If you don’t know this song, you can check it out on YouTube. My son loves this song and he sings it all of the time!
Salt Tray Writing: cover the bottom of a shallow tray or pie tin with a layer of table salt. Your child can take one finger to trace letter shapes in the salt. Make bother uppercase D and lowercase d.
Worksheet: Draw a line from the lowercase d to all of the uppercase D letters.
Book:Little Quack’s New Friendby Lauren Thompson. The whole Little Quack series is adorable, but I am partial to this one because I love the new froggy friend. This Little Quack story embodies preschooler’s shyness about meeting new people, but children’s innate playfulness and curiosity wins over and everyone has fun playing together. Plus, this story is full of fun sound words to say!
There are many cute stories in the Little Quack series. Hopefully your library has this one and others. It is available for purchase on Amazon.
Craft: Color and Feathers Duck Craft — supplies needed are duck coloring sheet, crayons, white school feathers, and glue.
Here’s the coloring page we used. I found on getcoloringpages.com. Feel free to draw your own duck or cut out a duck shape from construction paper if you don’t like this one.
We used crayons to color our duck. My son worked hard to color within the lines!
Then we picked out feathers for our duck and attached them with white, school glue.
Song: Raffi’s Five Little Ducks. I really enjoy doing hand movements to this song. We hold up fingers on one hand for the five little ducks, folding down fingers as the ducks go over the hill. The other is our mama duck and we keep our fingers together and move them up and down to touch the thumb to make a mouth movement for the quacking parts. If you don’t know this song, it’s available on YouTube.
Book: The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson. I love Lauren Thompson’s books! (Try her Little Quack series if you haven’t’ discovered them yet — they are too cute). In this apple pie book, the cumulative and lyrical text create a sweet story that teaches preschoolers about nature and the apple’s life cycle.
Check you local library for this book — it’s a great read 🙂 You can also buy it on Amazon. I joined Amazon’s Affiliate program, so if you buy an item through my site’s links, I get a small portion of the sale to help support this website.
Craft: Tissue Paper Apple — supplies needed are a piece of paper, pencil, glue stick, and tissue paper in red, green and brown (or orange).
I drew a rough outline of an apple on a piece of paper and then I cut red tissue paper into 1-inch squares.
My son and I both scrunched up the red tissue paper squares together — great for preschool fine motor skills. After we had a lot of of tissue balls, my kiddo covered his apple shape in glue and then glued the tissue all over his apple.
After covering then entire apple in red tissue, we scrunched up green tissue to make a leaf. My kiddo added the green leaf, but thought his apple was still missing something. He decided to add an orange stem (I didn’t have brown tissue paper).
His apple turned out pretty cute! We really enjoyed doing this craft together and I love that he added his own creative ideas with the stem.
Song: preschoolers love to sing! Don’t worry if your singing voice isn’t great because your child will be having too much fun with you to care. Sing Raffi’s Apples and Bananas song. It is the perfect combination of silly verses and phonetic vowel sounds for preschoolers. Find it here on YouTube. We love this song in our house and find ourselves singing it all of the time 🙂
STEM: 5 Senses — we have 5 senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound. Let’s use our 5 senses on an apple! (1) What color is the apple? Do you see any marks on the apple? (2) what does the apple feel like? Is it smooth or rough? (3) Take a sniff. Does the apple have a sweet smell? (4) Take a bite and taste the apple. Is it yummy? (5) What do you hear? Can you hear crunching sounds when you chew your apple?
Air Writing: Ask your child to hold up a hand and trace letter shapes with their finger in the air. I was skeptical of this at first, but my son really got into it and I periodically find him air writing his letters all on his own.
Wednesday — A is for Ant
Writing Practice: write uppercase letter A. I found a worksheet from AtoZteacherstuff.com:
Book: The Ant and the Grasshopper by Luli Gray. This book has bright, exciting pictures that will capture preschoolers’ imaginations! Based on the Aesop’s Fable of the same name, this book shows that it is important to work hard and plan ahead, but that it is also important to be a good friend and enjoy some fun! Check you library, or get it on Amazon.
Craft:Egg Carton Ant — supplies needed are a paper egg carton, washable paints, paintbrush, pipe cleaners, sharpened pencil, scissors, and googly eyes.
Cut your egg carton down so that you only have 3 humps. (Add a quick science lesson by explaining that ants are insects and insects have three main parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. Ants have 6 legs, 2 large eyes, and 2 antennae.)
Pick a paint color and then paint your egg carton. (We painted ours on top of a paper plate to catch all of the paint drips/spills/wild brush strokes!) Let your egg carton dry.
Once completely dry, add your googly eyes to your ant’s face.
Now you have to choose pipe cleaners to make 6 legs and 2 antennae. You will need 2 pipe cleaners to make the legs and 1 pipe cleaner to make the antennae. I thought it would be fun to make rainbow colored legs, but my son stuck with his favorite color, blue 🙂
We used a sharpened pencil to punch the holes for the antennae and legs. We stuck the legs through the holes, and bent the pipe cleaners slightly inside the carton to hold the legs in place. Then, we made “feet” by bending the ends of the pipe cleaners and we were excited that our ant actually stood up!
Song: Sing The Ants Go Marching. This song is a preschool favorite — it’s catchy, you get to say “boom,” and counting is involved!
Salt Tray Writing: cover the bottom of a shallow tray or pie tin with table salt. Your child can take one finger to trace letter shapes in the salt.
Apple Taste Test: We went to the grocery store and bought different kinds of apples and we had an apple taste test when we got home! It was fun to try to different apple flavors and compare them to each other. Our favorites were Honeycrisp and Fuji.
Friday — A is for Anaconda
Writing Practice: write lowercase letter a. We used this worksheet from AtoZteacherstuff.com:
Book — We read I Saw Anacondaby Jane Clarke with illustrations by Emma Dodd. This a cumulative, lift-the-flap book about an anaconda that eats everything around it. The snake ends up getting sick — ick!
My son says this anaconda book is awesome because it has so many flaps! Every page is interactive and he giggles as the anaconda eats everything in sight. Plus, he learned about some new animals (a stork, piranhas, and a skink).
For this craft you will use the bubble wrap as a stamp to make the snake’s scales. I am a big fan of out-of-the-box paintbrush ideas, so using bubble wrap to make the snake scales is a super cool idea.