Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Leaf Week

A few friends and I have started a preschool co-op. We take turns teaching & hosting preschool at our house two afternoons a week. It’s tough with 2 two year olds, 3 three year olds, and 2 four year olds. But, the kids love it and it’s nearly free! We made a schedule of themes, and a common circle time and behavior system that stays consistent each week.

I taught for our first week last week. Leaf Week was a huge hit!

During Circle Time I introduced some fun songs from preschool rainbow.

The kids’ favorites were:

Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail (pretend to shake tail)
Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail (pretend to shake tail)
Wrinkle up your funny nose (act out line)
Put a nut between your toes (pretend to eat a nut)
Gray Squirrel Shake your bushy tail (Pretend to shake a tail)

Red and yellow, green and brown. (count off colors on fingers)
Leaves are falling to the ground. (simulate falling leaves with hands)
We pile them up OH SO HIGH:  ('pile' leaves with hands)
Then we JUMP in! (pretend to jump in)
My friends and I!

Circle Time also included a calendar board similar to the one we usually do.  The kids favorite part was when I introduced our sensory bin.
photo 1
I’ve considered doing sensory bins before, there are some amazing ones in the blogosphere. My final inspiration came from Delightful Learning; her recent sensory bin showed me that it’s more than just squishing little hands around to feel things!

Our fall bin included dried beans & green and yellow split peas as the filler. There were fabric leaves, real peanuts and walnuts in their shells, leaf buttons, real acorns, plastic acorns, and plastic spiders.
I showed the kids how to use small tongs to take items out of the bin and sort them in ice cube trays, or pile them on a large leaf platter. The kids had hours of fun and creative play with the bin, and even added some new words to their vocabulary.  I’ll be doing one for each new theme!

During other group activity times we enjoyed our rhythm sticks, and took turns practicing writing our focus letter-L, with a paint bag.

Of course we read lots of leaf & fall themed books:
Fall Leaves Fall!
The Apple Pie Tree
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf
The Little Yellow Leaf
Leaf Man
The Autumn Leaf
Investigating Why Leaves Change Their Color

For our art project the first day we used marbles to paint leaves (inspired by 1+1+1=1). It was a fun mess-free craft (since I put the paint on the marbles, and put them into their boxes).
photo 2

Our art project the second day was inspired by Deep Space Sparkle. After reading  Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf and Leaf Man. We examined the illustrations, and talked about all the different shapes of leaves. The older kids used oil pastels, and the younger ones used crayons to draw leaves. We finished by using liquid watercolors to go over our pictures. You can see Ryan’s picture of leaf man.


Since our focus letter was L, we made leaf L’s, and used bingo markers for a find the L activity. The four year olds practiced writing L’s.

We used leaf stickers to make leaf counting books. I differentiated for the different ages. I did all the writing for the two year olds, the three year olds had a place to trace their numbers, and the four year olds traced a couple numbers and then practiced writing their own.

At snack time we tried to crack peanut and walnut shells with our hands. When they couldn’t open the walnuts we brainstormed as a group how we could do it. The kids spent the rest of our outdoor time cracking walnuts with rocks. (Thanks to a good friend of mine for that idea :)

The oldest kids did some extra activities. they enjoyed all of the fall games from File Folder Fun. I even used their blank acorn template to create an uppercase and lowercase matching activity that we did as a group.
Acorn Addition was a huge hit. The four year olds used the acorns from the sensory bin. They each rolled two dice, and then used the acorns to figure out who had the larger sum. They used the leaf buttons from the bin as a way to keep track of their points. I was excited to see that they frequently knew the sums without the help of the acorns.
acorn addition      

We did so many fun things, but still not everything I had planned! I look forward to my turn to teach next month, but even more so I look forward to my free afternoons when it’s someone else’s turn to teach!


  1. What a fun idea to split this time up with some friends! You guys did some really fun activities!

  2. Thanks Lindsey! Hopefully our co-op will continue to be a fun and affordable alternative to preschool!

  3. Wow, that sounds like so much fun. You did so many wonderful leaf activities. I love the idea of a co-op!

  4. Wow that looks like lots of fun. I might have to do a few L for leaf activities with Rorie. She is still begging for arts and crafts.

  5. How fun to be able to co-op for preschool! I would have loved this when I first started homeschooling.

    You said: "My final inspiration came from Delightful Learning; her recent sensory bin showed me that it’s more than just squishing little hands around to feel things!"

    I am so happy to inspire you! I have no idea if I follow the "rules" or not, but I think "sensory" and learning and play should all be involved. :D