Popsicle tree

Since autumn arrived we have been collecting leaves, talking about why leaves change colours and why they fall down. We’ve been hugging trees, examining their bark, trying to climb up on them, just to mention a few tree related activities. Outside.

When the weather got really rainy I thought I would bring the tree activities inside. That was when I introduced the popsicle tree activity to E.

What you need:

  • 20-30-40 popsicle sticks (wooden spatulas can be bought at the chemists for 500 HUF – less than 2 euros – but in hobby stores they can be found too)
  • collected leaves (or felt leaves)
  • conkers, acorns or any other nuts
  • felt animals like hedgehog, any kind of bird, squirrel etc.
How we played:
I gave E. the bag which I collected all the goodies in and I showed her how to build a tree. I just started and she took the lead.
While doing it we were talking about the different parts of the tree (tree top, branches, leaves, trunk, bark, roots). Also we mentioned what we can see in the tree top in different seasons. (green leaves in the spring, fruits in the summer, bare branches and yellow leaves in the autumn, nothing in the winter).
She placed the leaves very accurately.
Then some conkers and a squirrel…

After a while I couldn’t hold Baby Sis back and she came to “destroy” E.’s tree. There was some screaming and “don’t touch it” but not much playing together. E. gave L. a conker to play with but I had take it away from L. as it was too small (and I wanted to avoid ER at all cost) E. tried to give Baby Sis a laminated leaf but she wasn’t interested. Baby Sis wanted the popsicle sticks, which meant the end of the tree.

“Noooooooo”
After a while E. gave up  (got a little offended) and turned away from us to build a house instead out of the popsicle sticks.

 

E. was so uninterested at the end that only Baby Sis helped me pack away. At least we practised “put it in” with her.

As you can see life and activities with 2 kids are quite a challenge. I keep trying but success is still far away…

Anyways, I’m thinking of adding some brown yarn or thin ribbons to create the roots. We’ll try again next year when Baby Sis might not want to “destroy” but rather want to build.

Laminated leaves

I need to share another autumn fun. As soon as I saw it on pinterest I fell in love with it. Laminated leaves. I found the laminated leaves idea there; just click on the link to get to the original idea.

First, I pressed the leaves a little. They were not totally dry when I laminated them so they kept some of their flexibility during lamination. I didn’t add magnets as it was suggested, maybe next year we’ll do this activity again and display them on the fridge.

Then we did some of the activities the Teaching Mama recommended. (On her site you can find tons of great ideas to entertain and educate you kids of all ages. I can highly recommend following it.)

  1. Colour sorting

We only had yellow, brown and green leaves, unfortunately I couldn’t find red or orange ones at that time. Later on I added some more to the collection. (there is on orangey leaf you can find totally separated on the left side)

  • Arranging leaves by size

  • Matching similar leaves

  • Making leaf faces with googly eyes and pop-pom noses (I drew the mouths E. did the rest)

  • Making leaf people (revising major body parts like arms, legs, upper body and feet)

    You can see here the nice new orange and red leaves we found in the park. The big middle figure is Daddy, because “He’s soooo big”.

  • Using the laminated leaves as rubbing plates (unfortunately the site has been removed)

I didn’t manage to take photos of this activity, but you can use the laminated leaves under a sheet of paper and use a pencil or crayon to rub on the sheet. The veins and edges of leaves will come through really nicely. Or you can check it out on the link above where the idea comes from.

If you liked this activity you can find more autumn leaves projects: More leaf activities

Or you can check out my Autumn pinterest board for more ideas.

Painting leaves – four autumn activities with leaves

 

As autumn has arrived we started to collect leaves every time we went somewhere. We were talking about the gorgeous colours of autumn leaves like orange, yellow, brown or red. We also observe the different shapes like circular, heart-shaped, hand-shaped as well as their edges (smooth, wavy, toothed).

I checked this image from the net to make sure I do not say anything silly.

Leaf rubbing gave us the chance to have a look at the veins:

 

 

Leaf prints

Then we had painting fun. E. chose the colours (I tried to direct her to the autumn colours with little success) and we painted the backside of the leaves and made prints. At first, we used too much paint, but then we could observe the beautiful prints the veins and the edges gave out.

First try

 

Second try with less paint

Another painting activity: outline of leaves:

I pressed some leaves and stuck them on a white sheet of paper with the help of small pieces of Cello-tape. Then we painted the leaves over creating an outline. This was a hit with E.

 

And finally a counting game with leaves:

I drew these bare trees for E. It can serve as a simple counting activity. Your child needs to stick as many leaves on the tree as the number shows.

I’ve prepared printable trees you can download at the end of this post.

As simple counting is not a challenge for E. any more I thought skip counting would raise her interest much more. And I was right.

 

Although it was a little too long an activity, she managed to finish it after my encouragement and help with the gluing.

Gluing

 

Adding the leaves

 

creating a leaf face with the glue

 

Mommy, this leaf is ill

 

There are not enough branches for 8 leaves, Mommy

 

Placing the magnetic numbers – finished!

First, I pressed all the leaves. It’s easier to work with them. Then I presented, showed and explained what to do with instructions like these:

  • Hold your paper down with one hand and rub with the other hand.
  • Let’s mix 2 colours.
  • Paint the backside of the leaf, like this.
  • You can add more glue this time because this leaf is big.

 

Finally, we displayed everything on our living room doors. E. shows her pieces of artwork to whoever comes to us.

 

And here on this link you can download the bare trees with numbers:

 

 

Spring nature hunt with a muffin tray

Spring has arrived, together with some rain but luckily today it’s been sunny so we went out for a spring nature hunt.

I got the idea on mamapapabubba.com. This blog is written by a Canadian mum, Jen and she’s got great ideas I love stealing. The spring nature hunt is one of them.

So I was in a rush to prepare everything, because in the park where I was planning to do the nature hunt the grass is growing very high and it is likely to be mowed in the near future. Then we would lose all the wild flowers, high grass and our fun activity.

I’ve got and old muffin tray. It was in a very poor condition, so I sprayed it gold. This served as the receptacle (= a new word for me meaning: a container for storing or putting objects in) Then I asked Daddy to print the pictures of some nature items that I’d put together the previous night.

Our native nanny, A. arrived at 10.30 today and we were ready to set off.

E. is identifying what to look for

At firs E. was carrying the tray around, then we put it in the push chair.

E. is not a great fan of walking (she prefers to be carried), but this time she was running around looking for the items on the list, filling up the tray.

I thought it wouldn’t be easy to find seeds, so I took some wheat seeds with me from home, but A. was very attentive and found some. I didn’t need to fake anything 🙂

wheat heads

I knew exactly where we could find some moss. (E.’s favourite word from the list)

We also bumped into some bees and beetles we needed to observe closely.

 

One of E.’s favourite flowers is the dandelion and its clock. Now she didn’t blow the seeds away, but collected them in the tray.

 

E. succeeded in tucking a big horse chestnut tree leaf in the hole. Well done, girl!

We found a shamrock with four leaves. We’ll be lucky 🙂

Finding soil fascinated E. the most.

It was hard to find buds, but we managed in the end.

At home A. and E. went on to read E.’s nature book she got for Easter.

 

I’d like to thank Jen for the great idea. We spent a lovely hour with searching, enjoying the sunshine and learning a lot about nature.