Last week I told the kids that we were going to take a fall leaf walk. This news prompted them to dance, run around, and generally act like I might if I had won the lottery. I handed each of them a plastic bag and directed them to collect several different colors and shapes of fall leaves.
When we got to the end of our drive (going beyond is usually taboo for them), it was as if we were launching ourselves into a different world. We meandered through neighbors’ front yards and along the side of the road. Every new leaf was like discovering gold. “LOOK, Mommy! I found a RED one!” We must have walked an entire block — a new house record for these critters — before we decided to take our treasures home. (Note: we do walk and ride bikes with the kids, but not often in our neighborhood because of blind curves and hills and impatient drivers.)
Now here’s a confession from this real housewife: I had no idea what we might do with these leaves upon return. I had only known thirty minutes beforehand that if I didn’t get the kids out of the house, happy hour was going to start much earlier than what was deemed socially acceptable.
When we got back home, I bought some thinking time by having the kids sort their leaves — first, according to color, and next, according to shape. They loved this!
Then I pulled out crayons, construction paper, scissors, and glue.
First, I showed the kids how to make leaf rubbings. “It’s like magic, Mommy!” They cut out their rubbings and glued them to a piece of paper along with some of their leaves. The result was nothing spectacular, but the kids were delighted with their artwork.
Then I had them trace their favorite leaves, add veins, and paint them with watercolors. Again, nothing fancy. But to a three and four-year-old, it was the next best thing to sliced bread.
So my kids learned how to rub leaves and spell fall, and they honed their sorting and cutting skills. Their mom learned that it doesn’t take a fabulous art project to satisfy preschoolers. They are such an eager and forgiving audience.
Now, most importantly, we have yet another great memory tucked into our back pockets and a gorgeous, fall-inspired refrigerator. Take that, Martha!
P.S. Grandparents — The pink hair is for breast cancer awareness. It is nothing permanent and should not be any cause for heart damage. Hubby is just glad it’s not a beloved feather.