We have been reading a lot of books about autumn and trees lately, and my son has really taken an interest in collecting leaves. He has found some great ones from around the neighborhood, our yard and my mother’s garden. He memorized all of the leaf names, and then I was able to print off photos of each leaf so we can play a matching memory game with the cards and real leaves. Nomenclature is really his thing. Seriously. He loves learning the names of things. He also loves crumbling up the crisp, dried out leaves and then helping me get the vacuum to clean up, but that’s a different story. The leaf matching and collection activity would be great for 3-4 year olds.
I’m not sure I could name them all without some help. Obviously there is the maple tree, oak tree, and English Ivy that are easily identified. He is holding the magnolia tree leaf from our front yard, and I see the small euonymus leaf. The rest are much more difficult. Anyway, it’s been a fun activity and has really added to his interest in our bedtime reading. We have read quite a few tree-themed books this season, but the two below are our favorites.
The concept of the book is simple: a boy plants an acorn and an oak tree grows. But the beautiful part of the story is watching the tree and the city grow at the same time. The story begins in 1775 and spans the tree’s 200 year life span. With one book we were able to talk about children growing up, the “olden days” of farms, and communities without cars or electricity, and the shift from a forest, to farmland, to a city similar to ours today. We also talk about nature, storms, and how trees can fall when they get old, as well as rebirth from acorns. All from one book! I can see us reading this book more in the years to come as well. At 3 1/2 my son is just old enough to begin to understand these concepts, but I expect that he will get even more out of this book over the next few years. Maybe our leaf collection will continue to grow next year too.
This is another book about trees that we have enjoyed reading this fall. My husband, son and I all learned how an acorn grows up to be an oak tree from this book. Who knew it takes 30 years for an oak tree to produce acorns?! That answers our question of why the baby oak tree in my parents backyard still has no acorns. The photographs are crisp and vivid, as I have come to expect from a National Geographic book, but the non-fiction text is a refreshing change from our usual fictional children’s books. This is another book that will grow with us in the years to come.
I think this is the end of our leaf matching game for the season. It’s almost time to shift to winter and Christmas!
What are your favorite fall activities and books?