This week’s learning activities include projects that turn leaves into an really fun learning tool. There’s a lot of chemistry in this issue.
If you missed the first part of this week’s newsletter that features activities off Still Learning Something New’s November’s Calendar, you can link to it here. You’ll find a fun activity to do or an interesting topic to learn about each day of the week.
🍁Leaf Resources on Funschooling & Recreational Learning🍁
YouTube Fall and Leaves Playlist
The videos below, and others, can be found in this playlist.
Preparation of Stomata Slide
Relaxing Activity: Trace around a leaf on a plain piece of copy paper, then, using a pen, draw enough different sized circles to cover the inside the leaf. Optional: Use different colored pens.
Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant
How To Draw Fall Leaves
|Leaf Rubbings by Fran W|
To make leaf rubbings, you will need:
- Pressed leaves
- Crayons – peeled
- White construction or copy paper
Place the leaves under white paper any way you want, and rub the side of the crayon over the paper so that the shape of the leaves underneath can be seen on top. Change colors as often as you want.
If you use a large piece of paper for this activity, cover it with contact paper and use it as a table mat!
Leaf Activities on Funschooling and Recreational Learning
|Leave Monster by Fran W.`|
Turn the leaves you collect into people, animals, objects, and fun designs.
Optional: Wiggly eyes, yarn, colored pencils, watercolor and a paint brush
- Hunt for a variety of leaves.
- Press the leaves between newspaper, waxed paper, or recycled grocery bags, and place heavy books on top of them overnight.
- Use the leaves to create your person, animal, object or design in creative ways. Consider making a background with colored pencils or watercolor paint.
- Once you like your design, glue it to construction paper and add extras like wiggly eyes and hair (yarn).
- Cover with waxed paper and put a few books on top to keep the leaves in place for an hour or so.
- Hang it up or give it away!
If you’ve collected a bunch of leaves on your leaf hunt, here are some fun ways to learn how to identify them:
Identify your leaves – The University of Florida has a printable Botany Handbook filled with information about leaves and plants that you may find useful. It also offers a bunch of plant illustrations here. Check your state’s Extension Office website for great resources as well!
This site may prove helpful when identifying leaves:
Make leaf identification cards
You will need:
Index cards or cardstock cut to the size you need, something to write with, leaves that have been pressed and acid-free glue
What to do:
Glue each leaf to the blank side of an index card or cardstock, and write down what tree it came from. If you want to write more info about the leaf/tree, do this on the back of the card before gluing the leaf on.
Make leaf print identification cards
You will need:
Index cards or cardstock cut to the size you need, something to write with, leaves: fresh or pressed, a paint brush and food dye, water color, or non-toxic paint, bowl of water to clean brushes and leaves, and a paper towel to blot brushes and dry the leaves, something to put paint in such as small caps or lids
What to do:
Put a little paint or dye in a lid or a cap, paint the raised side of the leaf with a paint brush, and press it onto the index card. Rinse your leaf off in water and dry it. Write the name of the leaf on the card when the paint dries.
Tip: Markers can be used to make prints too.
Play games with your identification cards
- If you make two identification cards for each of your leaves, you can play a match game with them. If you can see through the card, glue a piece of construction paper behind each one.
- Consider making one card with a leaf print and the other with the tree name.
- This game can be played with one or more players.
- Make 10 or more sets of cards. If you do not have that many leaves, make multiple leaf prints in different colors.
Go Fish Version
Make 15 or more pairs of leaf cards and play with them as you would the game, ‘Go Fish‘.
How well do you know your leaves?
Make 10 or more different cards for the following games.
Play a game of 20 questions with your leaf cards. One player chooses a card but doesn’t tell the other players what it is. Then the players take turns asking yes or no questions to try and guess what leaf it is. After 20 questions (or an agreed on amount), the card can be shown. The player who guesses correctly collects the card, chooses another card from the pile, and the game begins again.
Guess My Leaf
A player chooses a card and describes it to the other players without saying its name. Players take turns trying to guess what leaf is being described. If a player gets it right, they collect the card, and choose a card to start another round. If players need to be shown the card, decide who gets to describe the next card.
Tip: When describing the leaf, players should be allowed to add any information they know about it, and the tree it came from: Where it can be found, the type of leaf it is (if known), how tall the tree can grow, the type of seed it disperses, the technical name for it, etc.
When all the leaves have fallen off the tree, use your cards to identify what leaf would grow on that tree.
While the trees are budding, predict what the leaf will look like.
Note: To identify your leaves, you can use the following site to help you out, or ask someone who knows a lot about trees: A knowledgeable neighbor, friend or family member, a local nursery that s
ells trees, an arborist, a horticulturalist, your local Extension Office, etc..
This site has an interactive map of the United States to help you identify the tree you are looking for. Click on your region/state, and put in as much information as you can. Click on any of the tree names provided, and it will take you to a picture that offers some information about that tree.
|Leaf Prints and Leaf Stencils by Fran W|
To make leaf prints or stencils you will need:
A variety of paper: copy, construction, cardstock, small leaves: fresh or pressed, a paint brush, a clean sponge, food dye, water color, or non-toxic paint, bowl of water to clean brushes and leaves, and a paper towel to blot brushes and dry leaves, something to put paint in such as small caps or lids, scissor
Optional: Something to write with
How to make leaf prints…
Put a little paint or food coloring in a lid or a cap, moisten a paint brush, and blot to remove excess water, paint the raised side of the leaf, and press it onto the paper. Wash and dry the leaf if you want to use it again for another print.
Tip: Markers can be used to make leaf prints too.
How to use your leaf as a stencil…
Cut a small piece of sponge for this activity.
Put your leaf on paper and quickly dab paint or food coloring around the outside edge with a sponge. Clean and dry your leaf or leaves, wash out the sponge, and dry it a little before using another color.
Put the leaves together to form an outline of something like a fish, a bird, a flower, a tree, or something else.
What you can make…
Note cards, greeting cards, frames, gift paper, gift bags, gift tags, etc.
Pack a lunch and go on a leaf hunt!
Here are some items you may want to take along with you:
A container to put your leaves in, a camera, drawing paper and a pencil
Optional: Tree identification book, your Nature Backpack
What to look for…
Look for every tree leaf you can find! Look in your own yard, in a park, the woods, the playground, in parking lots, and anywhere leaves can be found.
Tip: If you walk in the woods, it’s a good idea to wear closed-toed shoes.
Look for unusual leaves, whole leaves, leaves with holes in them, green leaves, leaves that are starting to turn colors, leaves that have turned colors, small leaves and big leaves, and don’t forget pine needles and evergreens too! Make sure you take a few of each kind.
Look for pine cones, nuts, acorns, seed pods, and berries as well.
Note: Do not eat berries.
If you’re going to identify your leaves later on, take pictures of the trees you get your leaves from, or draw a map of where each tree is located so you can find it again later.
If you’re not going to use your leaves right away, it may be a good idea to press them so they don’t dry up, turn brown and curl up on you!
You will need: Newspaper, recycled grocery bags, or waxed paper and some heavy books
Lay the leaves flat between two pieces of newspaper or wax paper and put heavy books on top of them. This will keep them so they can be used for other leaf activities later on. Do not let leaves overlap.
Tip: If you have paper grocery bags, cut the bottoms off, cut them up one side, lay your leaves flat on one open bag, cover them with another, and put the books on top.
Reviving wilted leaves
If your leaves dry up a bit before you get to use them, you can revive them in a bowl of cold water with a 1 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar per cup of water. Soak your leaves until they look refreshed, dry them off with a towel, and press them, or use them right away.
Identify your leaves
If you want to use your leaves right away, you can identify them, or use one of the activities suggested below.
To identify them, use a book, this site, or ask someone who knows about trees for some help.
You can print out the chart to the right and take it along with you, or use it later on.
The following sites may prove helpful if you want to identify your leaves on your own.
Wikipedia: Identification of Trees of the United States
Read the description and click on the tree that best describes your leaf.
Wikipedia: List of Trees of the World
Choose any country, then pick the tree you are interested in learning more about.
Enchanted Learning: Leaves and Leaf Anatomy
Learn about the function of a leaf, the structure, cells, margin and leaf terms.
Start a Fall Project!
Did you know…
Chlorophyll gives leaves their green color, carotenoid gives them an orange color, xanthophylls give a yellow color, anthocyanin gives a red color and tannin gives a brown color.
During the summer we see green leaves. Leaves change colors in the fall…or do they? How and why do leaves change colors in the fall? Watch this 3:11 minute video to find out.
|Fall by Fran W.|
Enchanted Learning: Leaves and Leaf Anatomy
Learn about leaf function and structure and leaf terms.
Maine Foliage: How leaves reveal their fall colors
Animation of how leaves change colors.
Science Made Simple: Why do autumn leaves change colors in the fall?
This site explains what leaves are, why they change color, and offers a few leaf projects and word scrambles.
EEK! Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Why do leaves change color? Where do leaf colors come from? Does weather effect leaf color? Find the answers to these questions here!
Fall Leaves by Fran W.
Autumn begins in the Northern Hemisphere between September 22nd and 24th each year, and as the green leaves fade away, we are left with the beautifully colored leaves of fall.
The weather will grow colder, signs for seasonal festivals and celebrations will pop-up around town, and before you know it, the fun fall holidays will be here!
Here are some of the questions we will be asking:
- What is the fall equinox and why does it happen?
- If it’s the beginning of autumn in the Northern hemisphere, what’s happening in the Southern hemisphere?
- Why do the leaves show off their true colors in the fall?
- What holidays and fun-filled events are celebrated during the fall season?
- What kind of fall-related activities can be enjoyed during the season?