I’m Thankful Each Day by PK Halinan is one of my favorite children’s books about the concept of gratitude. Although it is a fitting book to use around Thanksgiving, this delightful story is appropriate to read anytime.
Create a class book in which each student contributes a page for something he/she is thankful. At home, ask your child to take photographs of people, places, events, animals or items for which he/she is thankful, print them, and make a book. Write text on each page. It will be a sweet keepsake to read each Thanksgiving.
Ask your child (or students) what he/she thinks happens to leaves after they fall to the ground? Why aren’t there piles of leaves on the ground forever? God has a plan for those leaves! Try this investigation. Collect some leaves that have recently fallen and discuss how the leaves feel. Place the leaves on a tray or in a shallow box and check back every few days. How have they changed? Do they feel the same now? Can they crumble? Why? If you had piles of leaves did the leaves at the bottom dry as quickly as those on top? Scientists observe and question.
Three days later:
Leaves decompose and enrich the soil. They are biodegradable. Decomposers, such as microbes, worms, and some insects, break down dead plant matter.
Why do gardeners love leaves? Watch this video to find the answers.
If you live in Georgia, you are familiar with the invasion of the Joro spider. This arachnid was first spotted in the state in 2014 and scientists speculate that the spider arrived in packing crates from China. Since then, their numbers have exploded! This colorful spider can grow to three inches (males are smaller), but it’s the massive orb web that faces multiple directions that has residents panicked.
So where are the spiders now? The adult spiders die in November after the female lays her eggs in late fall. The egg sacs can contain at least 400 spiderlings and they will float on the wind, sometimes long distances, when they hatch next spring. The spiders reach full maturity in the fall which is when they are most noticed by homeowners and hikers. Scientists are investigating their impact on the ecosystem. Click here to learn more.
If you’ve read Charlotte’s Web, you may remember her spiderlings “floated” away at the end of the story.
I look for ways to combine art with science, and I have been anxious to try this project inspired by my friend, Ellen. I collected brown leaves and pressed them for a week, so that they would be dry and flat. I placed the leaves between packing paper (parchment paper or coffee filters) and placed heavy books on top. I used fine point white paint pens to create the designs. Won’t these gingerbread leaves look lovely around my Thanksgiving table?
You could also design place cards with this project.
One of my favorite fall art projects is to print leaves. It’s a simple activity and the result is beautiful! I have used printed leaves to make cards, place mats, gift bags, and wall hangings. I’ve printed on tiles without glaze and on fabric, like muslin. I used acrylic paint below, but match the paint to your project. This project provides an excellent opportunity to study leaves-shapes, veins, edges, and petioles (how the leaf is attached to the branch).
Directions: Paint the back side of the leaf evenly. The veins are more prominent on this side. Place the leaf on a clean piece of paper and lay the project paper over the leaf, press gently, and slowly rub over the leaf with your fingers. Be careful that the leaf does not move. I usually hold it still by pressing on the petiole with one hand. You can also try an ink pad for this project. Experiment with white paint on black paper for a different look.
Wouldn’t a grandparent love to receive a home-made card with a sweet message inside?
Younger children tend to be more successful with one larger leaf.
As the holidays approach, parents are searching for creativity-inspiring toys that will grow with their children. KEVA planks is an open-ended engineering kit consisting of wooden planks. As children of all ages build, they apply math and science concepts while developing problem solving and fine motor skills.
Click here to go to the official website. There are numerous resources for Keva planks online.
“KEVA planks is a small, family owned business nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. We are a family of educators, inventors, and social workers. Ken, the founder, saw the educational possibilities with simple building blocks and started the company with a mission to bring families closer together and inspire the creative spirit in people of all ages. American technology along with our great KEVA team enable us to make practically perfect planks.”
Click here for the Safeshare link for the video below:
How can you introduce the concept of diversity to young children? I like to begin a discussion through observing creation. Examining items from the natural world is a simple and effective way to see the variety and uniqueness of both living and nonliving objects. I collected oak leaves from a single branch and cockle shells from a small area on the beach. The apples are all Gala apples. Although they are the same, they are different. What do you notice? Take a walk and look for diversity. Of course, discussing the similarities and differences in siblings is fun too!
The richness of diversity adds to the beauty of our world!
North Fulton Master Gardeners present lecture series every year on a variety of subjects. I’ve become a fan! This presentation is filled with creative gardening ideas for families and educators. At the end of the video, she presents valuable resources. Click here for a Safeshare link for the following video.
I especially enjoy connecting science with art. In my previous post, I made a bouquet of fall leaves. Afterwards, I was inspired to collect foliage and create seasonal bouquets. This activity would be fun to do with your family or students. As you collect items, look at the plant parts. Fall is an opportune time to look at seeds, especially in grasses. I only had white chalk, but use colored chalk to design a variety of vases to display your collection. Discuss color and composition. Take photos of your arrangements and create cards or transfer the arrangement to a jar or vase to display inside or outside.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou