Love, Joleen: Preschool Theme: Leaves

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Preschool Theme: Leaves

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I'm working on two preschool theme recaps but have decided to share them out of order. We're just about 6 weeks into the school year and already things have evolved some from my plan. That's one of the most beautiful things about homeschooling -- there isn't just one way to do things and you can adjust as you go. For us, I've noticed that sometimes it takes us a couple of weeks to get through all things I'd like us to do on a subject. I've shelved themes all together and I've changed up what we focus on based more on his interests and capabilities. There are some days that Benjamin wakes up super engaged and excited for our activities -- and we'll spend hours playing and learning together until I realize it's past time for lunch. Other days he isn't interested in any formal "work" at all. I'll be honest, he spends more than enough time playing on his Kindle or watching Paw Patrol or PJ Masks, too. 

In recent weeks, we've had many nature days and our art time has significantly increases as well. The cooler weather draws us outdoors and we're spending as much time as we possibly can out in it. We're currently taking 3-4 weeks off of Bible story themes in order to study an introduction to leaves, the human body, and rocks. This last week and a half or so, we've been learning about leaves. 
There was quite a good selection of books at the library on the theme and a Fall-themed Storytime-A-Go-Go kit available. I especially loved "The Little Yellow Leaf", which read like a beautiful short poem, and the two books named "Leaves". The kit included a poem + finger puppet that we really enjoyed. It went like this:

Five little leaves in the autumn breeze
Tumbled and fluttered down from the trees
The 1st leaf said “I am red
I shall rest in a flower bed”
The 2nd leaf said “I am yellow
I’m a happy-go-lucky fellow”
The 3rd leaf said “I am green
I change color so you shall see”
The 4th leaf said “Orange am I
Brightly colored I will fly”
The 5th leaf said “I am brown
I shall blow all over town”
It also included an activity + song to be sung to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus (Benjamin's favorite). It went like this:

The leaves on the trees turn Yellow and Red
Yellow and Red, Yellow and Red,

The leaves on the trees turn Yellow and Red

All around the town. 

The leaves of the tree come tumbling down,
tumbling down, tumbling down,

The leaves of the tree come tumbling down,

All Around the town.

The leaves of the trees go "swish, swish, swish,"
"swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish,"

The leaves of the trees go "swish, swish, swish"

All around the town.

We'll rake them in a pile and jump right in!
Jump right in, Jump right in!

We'll rake them in a pile and jump right in!

All around the town.

We spent a lot of time last week collecting treasures. Benjamin was able to fill a jar and then move to a larger jar with all the acorns he collected. After collecting, he would line them up and count them several times to see how many he had. This wasn't a planned activity, but just one example of how learning happens organically. 
On another day, we walked down to our trail, where we sometimes like to work on the picnic table. I cut-and-pasted half of several different leaves, into Benjamin's art journal. Then he drew and colored in the other side of the leaves. While he did this, he told me, "Mom, I'm a leaf-drawing expert." Ha! 
Another activity we did together was to paint leaves. If you haven't noticed by now, we pretty much paint any and everything we can get our hands on. Benjamin really enjoys painting and I love it for him too. After our leaves dried, I strung them up and hung them in our outside space. I also filled the water table with potting soil so that Benjamin can still enjoy outside free play as the weather cools. This was my first time doing this and it's been a huge hit. 

This summer, Benjamin's Nana sent him two Usborne Wipe-Clean books. They each came with a dry erase marker and were perfect for giving Benjamin writing practice and working various skills such as pen control. We loved them! I decided to place a big Usborne order going into the school year and the "add on special" was a set of 5 more wipe-clean books! Some of these are beyond him for now but I'm happy to have them when he's ready. When Target's back to school supplies went 50%, I bought two colored dry-erase marker sets so that Benjamin could get a little creative. 
Perhaps our favorite project last week was creating these bird feeders out of old milk cartons. I found the idea on Pinterest (of course). You'll notice are just a little different than the ones that inspired this project (here). I had thrown out the caps and didn't want a bird getting stuck in the small opening so I pushed it in and covered the "hole" with cardboard I cut from the carton. I adhered with washi tape and then we painted right over it, like the spout never existed. We also added colorful paper clips to hang the yarn from just for intrigue.
I usually have a YouTube video picked out for Benjamin to watch at some point during the week. This week I chose Parts of Plant. It's only a few minutes long and after Benjamin watched it, he said he wanted to draw it! I ran inside to get his art journal and crayons. He watched the video 3 times while he drew it and when it was over he wanted to keep going. I looked up another video that was a "how to draw" for kids, and he watched while drawing a butterfly next. So fun! 
On Saturday we visited Dunwoody Nature Center, which has quickly become a favorite for us. There was supposed to be a homeschool meetup but either we were in the wrong place or no one showed up. There were still kids there and Benjamin had a great time. We went on a nature walk and he completed his first Wild Explorers Club task. More on that in another post. That evening we went backyard camping at a friend's house. It was our families first time sleeping together outside in a tent (I grew up camping) and Benjamin loved it! I hope it becomes a thing we do. 
This was a fun theme for us and one that we're definitely continuing on, especially through autumn and into other themes. 

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