Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is one of my favorite-ist picture books ever. Although it is an autumn book, it can be uses for leaf observation at any time of year.
The sweet story of the Leaf Man’s journey always makes me happy, and I’ve never met a kid who didn’t feel the same way.
When I worked at the library, I created a story time for the library a couple times with this book. It lends itself so well to crafts and projects.
My favorite line in this books is this:
So listen for a rustle in the leaves,
Maybe you’ll find a Leaf Man waiting to go home with you.
I love the idea of that. Listen for a rustle in the leaves. How often, as adults, do we let that sound wash over us without thinking about it? I try not to be that girl. I try to teach my Littles not to be Those Boys. So when we read Leaf Man, we do it outside on a slightly breezy to a full-on Blustery Day, when we can listen over and over for the Leaf man rummaging about near the ground. That’s the best way to enjoy this magical book. There is something so mysterious about a pile of leaves being swished about by the wind. Evocative, isn’t it? Your littles should know that feeling. You can even make a game of guessing what kind of creature might be there in the leaves. A Leaf Man? A mouse? A dragon? Let your littles get their imaginations firing on all cylinders.
Leaf Man Activities
So. Many. Options. This 18 page packet includes a sequencing project, a place to write their own story, and an acrostic poem project. Plus, I threw in a couple of science projects and some other fun stuff.
The first place the narrator guesses Leaf Man might be going is a marsh. Marshes are interesting environments, and your littles might not yet know much about them. Never fear, the Lit Mama has a Free Download just for you, with 9 pages of information and questions about marshes.
One of my favorite things Leaf Man does is fly with geese. Canada geese are my favorite birds. I love to watch them fly in their V formations across the meadows to the pond, skimming the treetops to disappear against the forest, then looping back up again before they glide gracefully down to land with a soft splash in the water. More than that, I love to wake up to their plaintive calls as they greet each other in the morning or welcome a new flock. I don’t think there’s a more beautiful sound in the world. ell, maybe my gorgeous husband’s voice.
Because Leaf Man seems to love geese, too, here’s a Free Canada Geese Worksheet Download for your littles to enjoy.
Types of Leaves
Finally, of course, your littles should learn a little about leaves. The Man being made of leaves, you see. So here’s a Free Download to help them tell different Types Of Leaves apart. (And yes, there is an answer key, in case Mama needs it. 🙂 )
Create your own Leaf Man
One of the easiest crafts to do for a Leaf Man study is to create your own Leaf Man. This can be done by cutting leaf templates from construction paper, but this is the perfect time of year to gather some leaves from the yard or the park and make a Real Leaf Man.
What you need:
- A variety of Leaves
- Some acorns or other found fall objects
- 12×12 card stock in autumn color
What you do:
- Arrange your leaves to make Leaf Man’s body, head, arms, and legs
- Glue to card stock
- Use your found objects to make Leaf Man’s face
- Glue to head leaf
That’s it. Easy peasy. And here’s how he turns out:
You can make Leaf Man….
Or you can make geese.
Let your littles use their imaginations, no matter which of these projects you try. It doesn’t matter which leaves you use for what body parts. Just have fun and make new friends. Out of paper. Or rustley leaves. (Is rustley a word? It is now.)
I have mentioned before that we like to melt paraffin and dip brightly-colored leaves in it to preserve their color. This makes for a fun afternoon. Just dip the leaves and set them on wax paper to harden. You can run a threaded needle through the stem end and hang them from the ceiling. I decorated an entire room like that once for an autumn dinner party. It was a huge hit.
Another way to preserve leaf color is with decoupage. You can decoupage them onto anything–they keep their color quite well. But do so as soon as you’ve gathered them while they’re still supple, otherwise they start to curl up and crack and it doesn’t work quite as well.
Apple Cider Biscuits
Because Leaf Man flies over fields and orchards on his journey, these delicious Apple Cider Biscuits are a great addition to your Leaf Man day.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 pound (about 3/4 cup) sweet potato, peeled and shredded
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 Tbsp honey
WHAT YOU DO:
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Grease a cookie sheet.
- Combine dry ingredients.
- Cut in oil.
- Stir in sweet potato.
- Add juice and honey and stir till a dough forms.
- Knead for about 30 seconds.
- Tear off a piece of dough slightly smaller than your palm and roll until smooth.
- Flatten into a biscuit shape.
- Bake 12-15 minutes.
We thought these would make an even sweeter treat if we had added cinnamon or maybe some brown sugar to the mix, but they were delicious just the way they were.
Listen, lovely readers. What’s the Number One Thing you should do with your littles after reading Leaf Man?
Go jump in a leaf pile. Go now. You may have forgotten how fun it is. Remind yourself. And keep an eye out. Leaf Man just might be jumping around in there with you.