I am excited about this fall season and all the beauty it will bring to the world around us. We recently moved from the desert to the mountains, so we actually are experiencing seasons. To most of you out there this may seem like a silly thing to get excited about. But please come with me and experience, for the first time, through my eyes that the wonders of fall and leaves can be so magical.
I have always found beauty in nature, yes even in the desert. But I am giddy at the possibilities of what we can experience with the leaves this year. In the mountains there are several different types of trees, which mean several different types of leaves. Leaves that are big, small, odd shapes and each will change colors and experience fall in their own way and in their own timing. Sound like any children you know? Development takes time, patience, and gentle guidance. Right before our eyes, before we know it, the change just happens. Young children especially need time to grow, time to change, and time to experience the new seasons in their life. Every child is developing and experiencing life’s changes in their own way and timing.
When you look at the Aspen, you don’t compare it with the Sycamore asking yourself, “Why is the Aspen still shorter than the Sycamore? It is behind and we should do more to help the Aspen.” No, you look at both realizing that they grow at different rates and the Aspen is going to develop when and how it develops and so will the Sycamore. Also during fall, you don’t start pulling the leaves of one, “helping” it shed its leaves, just because the tree beside it has already lost all of its leaves. No, you let nature take its course and eventually it will get there and accomplish what the other trees have already accomplished.
This fall I am determined to allow my children to experience this new type of fall with all of their senses. Here are a few things we have or plan on doing this season.
- Go hiking and go on a nature scavenger hike. Picking up leaves, touching the bark of trees as well as pulling some leaves off the trees.
- With the leaves you can do crayon rubbings. This will allow you to see different veins and textures from the leaves that you might miss.
- Weaving the leaves with a needle and allowing the leaves to dry out on the string. These make beautiful indoor decorations for the fall season.
- If it can be painted, paint it, then paint some more.
- Printing with leaves. Paint them and then press them onto white paper and see the leaf transfer its beauty.
- For a fun sensory experience, pick up dry leaves off the ground and crumple them in our hands.
- Crumpled up leaves can be glued, making a different texture to your artwork.
- Making pictures with leaves. This is inspired by Lois Elhert’s “Leaf Man”
- Lay out all your leaves; include magnifying glasses, paintbrushes and water, colored pencils and paper. Allow your children to explore the leaves and take in every detail.
- Rake up those leaves and who doesn’t love throwing handfuls of leaves into the air and experience the joy as they fall down around you.
So, go out in nature and experience the wonders of fall. The colors, the sounds, the smells and let your little ones touch and experience firsthand the beauty all around you.