If you’re lucky enough, you have childhood memories of digging through fallen leaves, twigs, and dirt to find treasure troves of bugs and creepy crawlies. Hopefully the children you love and teach get the same opportunity! Here’s a way to extend that fun into a sensory table activity.
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is one of my favorite fall books. I love Lois Ehlert’s unique brand of art. Generally, she uses collages to illustrate her books, which gives them an appealing texture and points of interest as children find familiar items used in new ways. In Leaf Man, Ehlert’s illustrations are done completely from leaves and other items from trees (seeds, acorns, etc.). The pictures show a man, cows, chickens, fields, everything created from leaves. (Ehlert collected the leaves, then photocopied them and created the collages using those photocopies.) These pictures are fascinating, and really open up the creative eyes of the children as they read it!
After reading the story, I like to have the children create their own leaf pictures. Some will create a leaf man, others will create a more abstract design, while still others simply create a place for as many leaves as they possibly can! You may want to provide the leaves for an inside activity, or make the activity more hands-on and meaningful by letting the children collect the leaves themselves- out in your playground, on a walk, or on a trip to the canyon.