One of the things I love best about living in Minnesota is being able to enjoy all of the seasons. While I am not opposed to having warm weather all year round, I do appreciate the weather changes. One of the most visually exciting seasons is fall! I have noticed that my kids don't share my enthusiasm with the kaleidoscope of colors that are coming soon, so I looked for a few fun things I can do with them to help them admire Autumn.
1. Make Leaf Rubbings:
A fun way to get kids involved with collecting leaves is by using them to create leaf rubbings. Have your child pick leaves with unique shapes or a curled center. Lay your leaf on a hard surface with the vein side up. Place a piece of paper on top of the leaf. Remove the crayon wrapper from a crayon (broken crayons work great) and lightly rub the top of the paper with the side of the crayon. The leaf shape will start to appear as you work the crayon around on the paper. (For younger kids you can glue a leaf to a sheet of paper to keep the leaf from moving too much)
2. Leaf Pressing:
It is best to collect leaves that are dry and to try to avoid collecting leaves after a rainfall or early in the morning. Sandwich your leaves between two paper towels or newspapers. Place your "leaf sandwich" into the pages of a heavy coffee table book and wait a few days for your leaves to completely dry out.
Another fun method is to sandwich your collected leaves between two pieces of waxed paper. Place your "leaf sandwich" on an ironing board with a washcloth or hand towel on top. Use an iron on a high setting to slowly seal the waxed paper around the leaf. You should only need about 4-5 seconds to seal the waxed paper, just make sure to consistently move the iron around on top of the hand towel. Check the leaves before you finish ironing, but they should be much clearer and brighter in color once the wax has melted. Allow the leaves to cool and then cut them out for fun decorations. (Make sure to leave a margin around the leaf to keep it sealed.)
3. Leaf Journaling:
Any lined notebook or artist journal will work well for this activity. Use colored pencils or crayons and encourage your child to keep a leaf journal where they can write or draw about where they found their leaves, what they were doing, feeling, etc. Tape the leaf inside by their drawings or writings. It will be a fun keepsake to look back on when they are older!
4. Tree Timehop:
Use a digital camera or smartphone to photograph a tree every day as its leaves turn colors. Save your tree photos in their own folder, if possible, it will make retrieving your images easier. Flip through the photos with your kids and watch the tree change colors over and over again.
5. Leaf Scavenger Hunt:
Play a game of I-Spy with your kids to see who can find the leaf in your collection based on clues you give. Or give them a task of going outside to find leaves based on descriptions you give like a red leaf, a pointy leaf, a leaf with green and yellow.
6. Take a Hike:
Fall is a great time for a hike; the weather is cooler so you are less likely to get overheated from hiking outdoors. Take your bike for a final spin before the snow comes. Enjoying Autumn up close and personal is a sure way to get your kids excited about this amazing season!