Especially in the fall, trees are ablaze with glorious leaves in all sorts of shapes. With luck, your first grader will have chances to roll in leaf piles and toss them around—old-fashioned pleasures of the season.
Want to take it all a step further? Here's an activity that combines science with reading and art to create an attractive holiday gift for a faraway relative. So send your child out into the world to bring nature home…and into the world, too, with gifts you share.
What You Do:
- Take a nature walk with your child, and bring a tree book along. See how many kinds of leaves you can find together.
- Bring your leaves home, and spread them out on a table. Which are your eight prettiest? While you're at it, take out a ruler as well, and measure the leaves…for this project, we recommend leaves that will fit onto a 4-1/4” x 5-1/2” card.
- While your child is choosing leaves, set up supplies. Cut lightweight colored paper into four sections, each 4" x 5”. Then cut three pieces of card stock in half so that you have six pieces, 8-1/2” x 5-1/2”. Fold each piece in half one more time, to make six cards, 4-1/4” x 5-1/2” each.
- Now lay the lightweight paper across the leaf, and have your child rub the paper with the side of a white crayon or piece of chalk. Watch for a lovely leaf imprint to appear. (Warn your child not to bear down too hard—this can squish the leaf!) Across the bottom of the paper, have your child write the name of that leaf in his neatest block letters.
- Use the glue stick to tack the colored paper onto each card. While your child is working, cut pieces of clear contact paper, 4-1/4” x 5-1/2”. Cover each “leaf” card with a piece of contact paper to seal in the design.
When you're done, you'll have a set of six beautiful cards, a tribute to your first grader's developing science, art, and reading skills. Invite her to send them as letters … or give them as a set as an exquisite holiday gift to a relative far away. They'll even fit into an average size “A” card envelope!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.