We can’t get enough of fall, so all our activities seem to revolve around leaves and pumpkins and trees. We’ve also been having really nice weather, perfect for taking kids outside and collecting leaves!
CRAFT/ACTIVITY #1: Toddler-sized Tree with real leaves
For this, you need a big roll of paper – I always keep a roll of craft/butcher paper on hand but the backside of any wrapping paper would work just fine. The only other items needed are leaves collected from outside, crayons, and some sort of adhesive for the leaves – glue stick, glue, or double-sided tape.
With your toddler, (1) collect leaves, then lay your large roll of paper on a hard surface to (2) draw a big tree on your big sheet of paper, now you can (3) glue on the leaves together. We used glue sticks because that’s easiest for us, but liquid glue or double-sided tape would probably hold the leaves more securely. If you want to make this activity even more related to the story and song, or just to get more time out of this fun, trace your toddler’s body on the paper beside or on top of your tree (before attaching leaves!). To do this, just have your child lie down on top of the paper, then trace them with a crayon while they lie as still as possible with hands and fingers spread out.
the story of Zacchaeus, we like the version in Read-Aloud Bible Stories, volume 1, by Ella K. Lindvall, illustrated by H. Kent Puckett. The illustrations in this series are mesmerizing, and I still remember being captivated by them as a child. My daughter wants me to read these stories to her for longer than I can last myself! (I’ve mentioned them before here and here.)
Now, no reading of Zacchaeus with a toddler is complete without singing “Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man.” This has been a favorite of young children for many, many years.
CRAFT/ACTIVITY #2: Garland using real leaves (DIY leaf bunting by simpleasthatblog)
Since we were collecting a bunch of leaves anyway, this seemed like the right opportunity to make a garland with them on upcycled book pages. We used old book pages, cut a triangle out of the bottom and punched two holes on either side of the top, for stringing some twine through them to hang up the finished garland. Now, we used double-sided tape to attach one leaf to the center of each flag, then put our twine through and hung up our leaf bunting – beautiful for fall!
CRAFT/ACTIVITY #3: Ghost writing, idea via Pinterest
For this simple activity, you just need to write a secret message or picture with a white crayon on white paper. With your toddler, you can let them paint with water colors or draw with fat markers (depending on your child’s skill level) over the secret message to make the “ghost writing” appear. If they have a hard time with this fine motor skill, stand directly behind or in front of them to help direct their little hands. This seemed like a fun activity for October, writing “boo” or drawing a heart or whatever your toddler would like 🙂
CRAFT/ACTIVITY #4: Pumpkin Face, idea inspired by vixenmade.blogspot
This is such a fun idea for using felt, but I don’t keep that around the house, so our pumpkin faces use paper plates, to be colored orange with crayons, and black construction paper (and glue sticks for the final product). The only prep is to cut out a bunch of facial feature shapes, e.g. eyes, nose, mouth, mustache, etc. To make this educational for young toddlers, you can talk about parts of the face and where they go when making your pumpkin face. These are great, no mess, jack-o-lanterns for Halloween!
As you can see, our end result was not super cute, but I really liked my co-teacher’s idea and will make another one this way: instead of coloring the plate, tear pieces of orange construction paper to glue down before attaching the face pieces!