|Photo by Lisa Nolan|
Who doesn't love fall! The seasons are changing from warm summer days to cool Autumn nights, pumpkins are getting fatter on the vine, and leaves are falling in colors of brown, red, orange, and yellow. There are endless seasonal and holiday projects, recipes, and activities... What's a parent to do? Join us in the Autumn Blog Hop at the bottom of this post. So here are my 7 fun Montessori-inspired activities.
In Montessori Practical Life Care of the Environment, raking leaves is a favorite Fall activity, suitable for three-year-olds and up. The child can use a child-size rake (we bought this one at Montessori Services), and if you have child-size gloves, they can be difficult to put on. We don't use gloves at the moment.
After raking a big pile of leaves (these are leaves from our huge plum tree) you can place them in a basket with handles for carrying, or a paint bucket. What's even more ideal is a child-size wheelbarrow, great for large motor-movement. (We hope to afford one next year, good ones cost over $50 plus shipping! You can find one on Amazon.com.)
I am showing my son how to compost, so we put the leaves in the smaller of our two composts. They could also go in our green-waste bin for the county (our county takes green yard and food scraps for composting).
Art: Fall leaves are also great for art projects, including making a leaf collage. Shown here are leaves and three types of glue: 1) Elmer's glue is great for four to five-year-olds who can control the amount of glue as well as open and close the top, 2) a large glue stick, ideal for toddlers, has an ease-of-use cap and glue in the form of a stick for wide glue strokes on the paper, and 3) a smaller glue stick which you can buy in bulk at an office supply store.
We chose the large glue stick for our collage.
Language: For our collage we used three types of leaves. You want to make sure that you and your child/ren KNOW THE NAMES OF THE LEAVES before you pick them, some plants are poisonous and harmful. In fact, it should be a rule that if you (your child/ren or students) don't know the name of a plant or flower or bush or tree, they cannot pick from it or off the ground. The leaves we picked are plum, strawberry, and Magnolia.
Montessori Metal Insets: If you don't have access to a lot of dry leaves, or safe plants, or you have a child who enjoys drawing, the Montessori Metal Insets are great! The shapes shown here are oval and quatrefoil. And you can make a nice book with construction paper, white copy paper and staples, or fold some card stock into cards. Trace around the shapes in the book and or card. Older children can write on the paper. And coloring in the shapes is fun, too!
This is a basket with dry leaves from one of our favorite trees, the Magnolia tree (which we have in the front yard). These leaves are great for projects because they are so durable, waxy, and strong.
Math Counting to 9 or 10: If you have the Montessori Sandpaper Numbers (or make your own number cards) you can place the leaves out and put the tablets under them, tracing each one as you go. For younger children, you can take the 1, 2, and 3 tablets, and six leaves for matching quantity with the symbols (the leaves to their corresponding numbers).
Fine Motor Development: Another fun fall leaf project is leaf rubbing. Fold a piece of paper in half and place the leaf inside.
Take one crayon at a time and rub the paper. You can show the child to hold down the paper with her other hand.
These are the types of crayons we use for rubbings, found an art supply store.
And last on our list is leaf painting! We use small paints, a thin paint brush, a small cup of water, and a napkin and sponge.
Tips: A Montessori-inspired activity is one that is tailored to the child's age and stage of development, and is designed to be repeated over and over again, for mastery of skill, and especially for fun!
You may also be interested in my recommended Montessori and homeschool books for parents and teachers on Amazon.com or my affordable Montessori and homeschool programs at Montessori for the Earth.