Crunchy, Colorful Leaves

crunchy colorful leavesSchool has started, fall is around the corner, and the leaves are starting to change. So it’s the perfect time to post a simple sound and color story time featuring fall leaves!

We recommend reading Ska-tat! by Kimberly Knutson (Macmillan, 1993). Leaves are falling off the trees with a “Sh-kah sh-kah” sound, and there is so much to do! Scoop them up with a “Krish-krash! Ka-rak!” or jump into piles with a “Sha-shoo! Ska-tat!” This highly poetic book beautifully creates sound words for various fall leaf activities. It’s a fantastic and fun read aloud.

You’ll need:

  • Green, orange, yellow, and red cellophane
  • Scissors

First, a word about cellophane. While rolls of green, yellow, and red cellophane can be founds in most dollar stores (and this is a good, cheap option for tight budgets), the color orange can be a little elusive. Also, when you use rolls of cellophane, the shapes you cut out tend to curl back into their original roll positions. It’s rather annoying. So I was very happy when I discovered cello sheets:

cello sheetsI bought these 8.5″ x 11″ cello sheets at Discount School Supply ($7 for a pack of 48). The sheets are flat, so no problem cutting out shapes and having them curl up on you. The trade off, of course, is volume. In the above pack of 48 sheets, there are only 6 of each color. However! I did spot a 104 pack on Amazon with 13 of each color for $9. If you ultimately decide go with rolls of cellophane instead of sheets, try flattening the shapes under a stack of books overnight to see if that helps uncurl them.

four leavesFor the story time project, cut various leaf shapes out of cellophane. Then have the kids crumble and crunch them, crinkle them madly, stomp on them, toss them in air, slide with them under their shoes, put them over their eyes to see the world in red, yellow, orange, and green…in short, PLAY. When you’re done, tape the leaves to a window to brighten things up!


Whip up this amazing batch of donuts for your friends to enjoy! All you need are tape cores and felt (or construction paper). These beautifully crafted delectables were created by Marissa, whose love of donuts knows no bounds!

We recommend reading Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony, (Scholastic, 2014). Mr. Panda has a box of tasty looking donuts to offer (and a cute little hat), but he very bluntly changes his mind every time a customer demands a donut. The problem? Everyone forgets to say “Please!” Finally a lemur utters the magic word and receives the entire box of donuts (and the hat)! To the politest, goes the prize.

You’ll need:

  • Several masking tape cores
  • Stiffened felt or construction paper
  • Scissor, hot glue and/or tape for construction

I love Marissa’s creativity and ingenuity…the “donut” is actually a masking tape core!

donut masking tape core 3 Wrap the outside of the tape core with felt and secure the felt in place with hot glue. The top of the donut is a circle of stiffened felt. Marissa left the donut tops unattached so you can mix and match your donut styles. Genius.

felt donut 3If felt isn’t your thing, construction paper works for this project too – and you can use tape instead of hot glue. Here’s my construction paper donut with self-adhesive foam sprinkles to give it some texture (but construction paper sprinkles work just as well).

construction paper donut 3Marissa crafted a custom cardboard box for her set of donuts and, best of all, made a cardboard panda hand to smack away greedy donut eaters. You can see the whole thing in action on her Instagram. You can also check out her fully stocked alphabet refrigerator, shadow puppets, bug sculptures, and 7 foot hand-crafted wall hanging. Girl is on FIRE!

Brown Paper Packages

packages tied up with stringA brown paper package tied up with string? Check! It’s up to you and your partner, however, to guess what’s INSIDE the package!

We recommend reading Send It! by Don Carter (Roaring Brook Press, 2003). On Monday, a boy wraps, tapes, addresses, and mails a special package. Off it goes, traveling through the remaining days of the week (and from truck to boat to plane to train) until it arrives Sunday, just in time for the big birthday party!

You’ll need:

  • A number of brown cardboard boxes, different sizes
  • A number of objects to go inside the boxes
  • Package labels to decorate (optional)

This project is very simple! Cut the top or back off a number of boxes. Put objects inside the boxes, but don’t let the story time kids or grown-ups see what the objects are.

Next, have kids partner up with another kid or a grown up. Ask the kids to reach inside the box and describe what they feel to their partners without actually saying the name of the object. The partner has to make the best guess as to what’s inside the box. Continue the game with multiple boxes.

dino in boxIf you’d like to add a little craft project to the story time, we found these old package labels in the office supply cabinet and used markers to decorate them. Or you can fashion your own using card stock, a hole punch, and string.

package name tags