It was inspired by a perfect fall day: a leaf hunt where we gathered a bag full of all sorts of different types of red, orange, yellow, brown, and burgundy leaves, followed by a cozy story time where we read "Leaf Man" by Lois Ehlert. After snacks, we were ready to create leaf men of our own.
Leaf Man is on many lists of the best fall books for preschoolers, and with good reason. It is one of those unique children's books that works on every level. The text tells a captivating story of journey that "Leaf Man" (a leaf) takes as he blows in the wind. As Leaf Man travels, kids learn to identify the sights and signs of fall, from fields of pumpkins to forests of red, yellow, and orange, to geese migrating south for winter. The words are simple but lyrical, with a regular refrain that "a Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows" which kids quickly pick up on and are able to join in on as you read.
As engaging as the text of the book is, it is even more visually stunning. Each picture in the book is a collage made of various leaves. Maple, catalpa, ginko leaves and more are arranged to take the shape of different animals and objects. The pages are also die cut. adding additional textures and shapes to the story. This is the sort of book that both kids and adults pour over, discovering something new everytime they look at it. What is more, the book is educational. The book also includes a field guide to leaves. Pictures of a variety of different leaves are labelled with the names of the trees from which they originate, allowing kids to identify the types of leaves that they are able to find in their own neighbourhoods.
Head out on your own fall leaf hunt, use the book to identify the leaves you have found, and then make an easy "Leaf Man" puppet to take on an autumn adventure.
Here's what you need to do to make a Leaf Man puppet of your own:
1. Glue a leaf on the bottom flap of the bag to form your puppet’s face.
2. Glue on additional leaves to make your puppet’s arms, legs and any other features.
3. Add googlie eyes, and scraps of tissue paper to create any additional details such as buttons or a nose. We used cut up foam alphabet stickers for our mouths, but rolled tissue paper or all sorts of other things could work too.
The neat part about this craft is that your leaf man is a bit of a science experiment too. He will change in appearance as the leaves you have used dry out. Here is our leaf man after a day: