Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekly Learning Theme: Fall

When I saw Tuesday of this past week was the first day of fall, I planned on fall as our weekly learning theme.  Then I started to worry that there wouldn't be enough fallen leaves for all of the crafts and projects I wanted to do.  Much to my excitement and surprise when we got home on Sunday evening after being gone all weekend I noticed there were quite a few leaves on the ground.  Not enough to rake and make a pile, but enough to collect for our projects.  So I went ahead with our fall learning theme although I was a little bummed it was too early to rake a big pile of leaves.  We'll just do that later on for fun.

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  The highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Know the names of and be able to point out body parts.
  2. Know names of objects and be able to point to them when asked.
  3. Sort objects based on size or color/Match like objects together, for example match a circle with a circle. 
  4. Play make believe.
  5. Speak in short phrases and 2-4 word sentences. (He's done some 2 word sentences already!)
  6. Follow simple instructions.
  • The first thing we did after reading a couple books about fall was go on a leaf hunt.  We did the leaf hunt in our front yard.  I took Carter outside with a plastic pumpkin and searched for leaves.  Any leaves we wanted to keep, we put inside our plastic pumpkin.  While we were searching I made sure I got a variety of colors of leaves: brown, yellow, and green.  Carter had a blast grabbing leaves, throwing them in the air, and watching them blow back down to the ground.  He would also grab a special leaf in his hand and run through the yard with it.
Throwing a leaf to watch it float back down.
Running with his leaf.
Finding a good one.
Taking his leaves to the pumpkin.
He noticed the pumpkin was full.
So he put the lid on and we headed inside.
  •  Next we did a leaf sort.  Once we got our leaves inside we dumped them all out on the floor in one big pile.  I pulled out a green leaf, told Carter it was green, and put it in a separate pile.  I did the same with a brown and yellow leaf.  I pointed to each of the piles, said the color, and told Carter we were going to sort the leaves.  Then I pulled out a leaf, said what color it was, and put it in the correct pile.  I asked Carter if he wanted a turn and he sorted about 4 leaves before he started throwing them toward the piles rather than putting them in the piles and then walked off.  I asked him if it was okay for me to finish sorting the leaves.  He turned around to watch me.  I would hold up a leaf, he would tell me the color, and then he even pointed at the pile where it belonged.  I was shocked he was still playing along!

  • Later on we went on a leaf hunt walk.  I took Carter in the stroller and we searched for leaves.  I was so excited to find some red leaves which are my favorite.  We didn't have anything but brown and yellow at our house!
  • I really wanted to rake leaves into a pile and let Carter play in it, but there weren't enough leaves.  I was even going to bring his slide up front and let him slide into the leaves.  We'll have to wait a while for that activity!
  • Throughout the week we collected lots of leaves!  We hunted in our front yard, on walks, and on trips to the library.  I would point at trees and we'd talk about the colors of the leaves.
  • Fall is a time for being outside!  The weather is perfect and the sun isn't beating down quite as much.  We went on a nature hike at a really neat nature trail relatively close to our house.  During the hike we were on the look out for leaves and even collected a few to bring home and add to our collection for crafts.  I invited Jeremy to come with us and brought along a Wal-Mart sack which I looped through my short's belt loop so we could easily collect leaves as we walked.  We planned on taking a short little hour walk, but took a wrong turn and ended up on a trail we'd never been on before.  We started to wonder if we were ever going to get back when we'd been walking for an hour an a half.  Finally we came upon a map for the trails and realized we were 2.2 miles out and the trail basically just turned and went back so we had 2.2 miles left to walk.  Our short little mile or so walk turned out to be over 4 miles!  On the way back Jeremy carried Carter so we could make it back sooner because Ty and I had an event to go to and were going to be late.  It was still a fun hike although much longer than planned!
Getting some help on a tricky part of the trail.
Jeremy carried Carter the majority of the last 2 miles of our walk.

  • With the leaves we collected in the front yard and then sorted, we created a fall leaf wreath.  Carter made red, yellow, orange, and brown handprints which I cut out.  Carter caught me by surprise when after his first handprint he started putting his hand down on the paper to make a handprint all by himself.  He is getting so independent!  Then I cut the middle out of a paper plate and we glued his handprints to the paper plate.  I put glue on the plate and showed him how to put leaves on the wreath.  I thought he'd have a blast picking out the leaves and putting them on, but he wasn't interested so I ended up doing it.  Then I added an orange ribbon loop and hung it over the butterfly suction cup Great Grandma Shupe got Carter so it could hang on the back door.  Later on in the week Jeremy came over to watch Carter while I tutored.  He said while they were outside playing Carter pointed at the wreath and wanted Jeremy to look at it.  It was so cute to hear he was proud of his wreath!  I saw the idea for the wreath here.
Carter's adorable wreath!
  • Leaf rubbings was another leaf craft we did.  I put a leaf under the paper and showed Carter how to make a rubbing.  He wanted to try and even held the leaf down as he colored, but he wasn't quite able to color hard enough so his didn't work.  I did a few more leaf rubbings because he really enjoyed watching and thought it was so cool to see the leaf appear and then I let him color on the page.
Trying to make a leaf rubbing.
Coloring the picture after I made some leaf rubbings.

  • We made a picture by gluing leaves to paper to make a picture.  I let Carter choose the leaves while I put glue on them and then he picked where he wanted them on the paper and I helped him push them down.  When his picture was finished he ripped one of the leaves off, silly guy!
Gluing a leaf down on the paper.
 Special Snack:
  • Carter loves to cook so much!  One day we made pumpkin muffins for a snack and another day he helped me make pumpkin waffles as part of our dinner.  It is so much fun to have him help me make foods.  He is such an adorable chef!
Making pumpkin muffins Sunday afternoon at Grammy and Grampy's
Making pumpkin waffles for dinner one night.
 Make Believe:
  • We each picked a large leaf and glued googly eyes to our leaf.  Then I glued a popsicle stick to the back and we used the leaves as puppets.  I made mine talk to Carter's and asked Carter for a hug which he happily gave it  Immediately upon grabbing his to play with he ripped the eyes off and then wanted mine so he could rip the eyes off it as well.  He may have been a bit young for this activity, though he thought it was hilarious when I talked to him using my puppet.  If I were to do this again at his age I would just make one puppet and play with Carter using the puppet.
Our puppets before Carter destroyed them.
Ripping the eyes off my puppet.
  • I planned to read the book "Leaf Man" by Lois Ehlert and then play make believe with the leaves and creat different things with them, later gluing a favorite creation to paper.  Unfortunately there were 6 holds on the book ahead of us at the library, so we didn't get the book in time to do our activity.

I swear most of the fall themed songs I found on youtube were atrocious!  I found one I liked and then I found lyrics to Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down.  So I sang to Carter and he loved it.

Scarecrow Song:

Lyrics for Autumn Leaves are Falling Down can be found here.

Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • Over the weekend we went to visit Ty's family and on Saturday went to a weenie roast hosted by his Great Uncle Gary.  The roast was on their farm and was complete with a bonfire and a  hayrack ride.  Carter had a blast checking out the tractor, playing with the hay bales, watching the fire, and running around with the other kids.  It was the perfect fall day and the perfect ending to our week of fall fun!
Posing with the tractor.
Scaring grasshoppers off the hay bales with daddy.
Ready for the hayrack ride.
Ty snapped some pictures of us riding by before he hopped on.

I love fall so much and reading books about fall got me so excited.  On the first day of fall I told Carter what the day was and then we read a book about fall.  It was a great way to introduce it and he loved looking at the leaves in the pictures.  I debated whether to include pumpkin books in with our fall books because we will be doing a pumpkin week in October.  I decided to go ahead and include a few pumpkin books because it never hurts to re-read books!
  • Fall Leaves by Liesbet Slegers
  • Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
  • Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
  • The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
  • Mouse's First Fall by Lauren Thompson
  • It's Fall by Linda Glaser
  • It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall
  • Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
  • Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
  • The Little Yellow Leaf by Caroline Gerber
  • Spookley the Square Pumpkin Colors/Numbers by Joe Troiano
  • Fall Leaves Change Colors by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
  • Sam the Scarecrow by Sharon Gordon
  • Clifford's First Autumn by Norman Bridwell
  • Fall Leaves Fall! by Zoe Hall
  • The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano


  1. Very cute. I loved the puppets. I used them on facebook, and said they were a selfie of Dad and me. haha Our wreath is up. It made me want to do all the fun things, but I think the dogs would think I'm silly.

    1. You could make a wreath with their paw prints, haha!

  2. LOVE the wreath idea! And I love the look of intense concentration on Carter's face in the second rubbing picture. So sweet! Our leaves haven't begun to fall yet AT ALL. We were talking about leaves changing colors and Liam looked out the window like I was crazy because they're all still green and still very much attached to the trees!

    1. lol, that is so funny! Liam would totally know what's up with the trees.

  3. Haha-ripping the eyes off the leaf puppets is the funniest thing to me! Such a boyish thing to do! :-)

    1. Yep, he definitely wasn't interested in the fun banter and playfulness of the puppets. It was all destruction!