Invitations to Nature-Based Play: Gobble Gobble Gourds

By-Laura Grunze Franz

gourd1

This week we brought home a few gourds from the market, and my son and I were joking about how they looked like birds. Thus was born the idea of turning our gourds into turkeys.

To set up this nature-based invitation, we collected maple leaves, oak leaves, gingko leaves, and maple tree “helicopter” seeds. I added small pinecones and whole cloves to the mix.

First we painted the helicopter seeds red to be used as waddles. gourd7

Next, I thought we could push the cloves into the gourds to make the eyes. I was so very wrong. Nothing can penetrate those gourds, although I did not try a drill. So the boys decided they would like to use googly eyes instead. This was a good, cute choice but the sticky backs wouldn’t adhere to the gourds.

gourd6

Finally, we decided that the boys would loosely tape their materials (eyes, waddles and feathers) to their gourd turkeys and then I would use the hot glue gun to secure it all when they were finished.

It can be a good learning opportunity to be part of a project that hits roadblocks; it allows for creative problem solving. This bumpy, but creative, process ended in some very cute birds and two very happy boys.

Happy Nature Crafting!

Fall Lesson Idea: “The Leaf Man”

“The Leaf Man” Fall Lesson

Themes: This lesson explores fall leaves and encourages free exploration in the fall woods and gathering of leaves of different shapes and sizes.

Ages:It is a perfect multi-age lesson and can be enjoyed by children from age 1-10 or perhaps even older.

Location: Meet outside in the fall in a piece of woods that will have diversity of fall leaves and plants

Time: 45 min to 1.5 hours depending on how much free exploration time is provided

Activities:

1.  Start by sitting in a circle and accessing prior knowledge by talking about what the kids already know about trees and leaves.

2.  Sing a fall leaf song

3.  Read the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Charlie Leafman

Reading the “Leafman”.

 4.  Each child then gets a large paper split into 6 squares with the part of the leafman they need to collect on a collection tray:

leafman setup

The Leafman design templates

5.  Then the children are free to explore the woods picking out what they want to represent each body part.

6.  They are then given glue and a new large paper and they assemble their Leafman.

charlie leafman building

Assembling the Leafman

7.  Everyone shares their creative designs together at the end.

Lucy and her leafman

An example of the final product

If time go for a hike and free play enjoying the Fall woods!

This fun lesson was designed by Corie Scribner and written by Olivia Griset