Mother Nature has left beautiful supplies for story telling practice right outside. The colorful leaves that have fallen from the trees make a great addition to a speech and language activity for kids. Begin by reading the story Leaf Man by Lois Echlert with students during a session. This book includes illustrations that use actual leaves. Leaf Man goes on an adventure and takes us along while he is blown by the wind from place to place. As you turn the pages of the book, actively engage kids in the tale.
- Do you see Leaf Man?
- What is happening on this page?
- Predict what you think will happen when we turn the page.
Get the kids involved and have them repeat the refrain “A Leaf Man’s got to go where the wind blows” as it comes up in the book. When finished with the book, head outside to collect some leaves. As you wander around, discuss where they would love to go if they were a Leaf Person. If there is time, play a version of Leaf Man I Spy. Are they able to locate leaves that look like the ones in the book? Collect leaves in a small paper bag to use later on.
To make the leaf person puppet, you will need the following supplies:
- cardboard tubes
- leaves, twigs, pebbles, and other items collected from outside
- wiggle eyes
- buttons, sequins, and other decorations
- construction paper
- pipe cleaners (great for arms if no twigs are found)
- glue sticks and/or hot glue gun
Give each child their own cardboard tube. Have their paper bag of leaves and other autumn goodies ready for decorating. In addition to this, have the other supplies ready for dressing up the leaf people. Allow the kids to get started and have them think about who their leaf puppet is as they are creating them. Tell everyone that they will be making their own mini puppet show once the puppets have dried. They will be telling the story of how their leaf man, woman, or child came to a certain place. A nice tie-in for multilingual learners would be to tell the story of their leaf person as coming from the same place as their family. This activity will encourage everyone to be more confident when speaking.
Message families ahead of time to get some additional information on places that they have traveled to. Have they been out of the country and do they have family there. All of this will be helpful when chatting with children during the creative process for their puppet show. When the puppets are sent home, encourage kids to perform the show for their families.
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