Preschool 2.2: Leaves and Bacon Flavored Dum Dums

It’s that time again… or it was last week, anyway.

Let me start out by breaking the ice a little with a joke. This comes directly from my 2nd grader who made it up last week. Question: How to the trees feel after the long, cold winter? Answer: Relieved (re-leafed)!

My topic for the last  preschool week was “leaves.”  I know there were other things I was supposed to talk about and a nursery rhyme and such, but besides a few books I threw in at the last minute (to talk about Love) we stuck with leaves.

Like always, we started with our circle time and shared things we had brought that started with the letter “L.” We ended up with 4 lions, a leopard, two lollipops, a lock, a leapfrog computer, and a lamb. I provided one of the lollipops… actually 8 of them, so we all licked our lollipops while I read to them a few books about love. (Side note: those dum dums are so gross! They are bacon, buttered popcorn, and pizza flavored! Eww! Don’t worry, I picked out the fruity flavored dum dums for the preschool kids.)

OK, so actually these books are about a boy named David who always -ALWAYS- is getting in trouble. He’s pretty naughty. The first book is all the things his mom says to him when he gets in trouble, things like, “Settle down, David,” and “Not in the house, David,” and “Stop it this instant!” And the second book is all the things David says when he gets in trouble, such as “I didn’t mean to,” “It was an accident,” and “But Dad says it!” The final page in each book, however, shows how no matter what happens or what anyone does or says, David’s mother really loves him and he loves her right back. (I was worried I didn’t have enough material for a full two hours so my kindergartner pulled out these books and suggested I read them. Sounded good enough to me. We didn’t read the third book)

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Then we talked briefly about what leaves do (photosynthesis) and why they change colors in the fall (chlorophyll, etc.) I wanted to go through a book with photos of leaves from different kinds of trees, bushes, and flowers, to show the incredible variety in these tiny power factories, but I didn’t have one on hand and I didn’t think of it the last time I went to the library. Oh well, there’s always next time.

We then put on our shoes, buttoned up our jackets, grabbed a bag, and headed outside on a little walk to gather some pretty autumn leaves. I felt like a mother duck with all her ducklings around her… but my ducklings didn’t quite stay in a cute line. (They were still cute, though, of course!) We found quite a few really beautiful leaves and shoved them in our bags. When we got back to my house I had them put their leaf bags into their books bags and told their mothers at pick up time that the leaves were now THEIR deal and they would have to figure out what they wanted to do with them. (The leaves my kids picked ended up in the trash. Sometimes, I am just that mom.)

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Snack was crackers with cream cheese and maple syrup. MAPLE SYRUP! It starts in the leaves, get it?

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And then our cute craft was a stained glass-ish looking (contact paper) pressed leaf and poem to hang on their bedroom windows, or wherever. I pressed these leaves earlier the previous week in my DIY last minute leaf press (cutting boards, parchment paper, and two C-clamps I found while digging through my husbands stuff in the garage. Thanks dear! I promise I’ll return them.) This craft was so easy for pre-schoolers! I had them try to cut the poem out themselves, because using scissors is hard but important to practice, and then they could just pick out a few leaves and stick them front side down on the sticky contact paper. When they were done, I sealed it up with another piece of contact paper and trimmed the edges. Viola! A poetic masterpiece! (The poems shown are from my own kid’s projects. They just made a few today.)

This method – the contact paper – is way easier than trying to lay everything out on wax paper and then slow melting with an iron or something. I’m pretty sure our creations won’t last for millennia, but truthfully, who really wants years and years worth of crafts from their children all in pristine condition so that whenever the thought crosses your mind that maybe now is the time to throw them in the trash, the guilt floods back and you have to hold onto their precious childhood of popsicle sticks, googly eyes, and hot pink feathers for just a few more years.

It’s just way easier if the craft falls apart after a week or two.

Sometimes I still feel kind of guilty. But hey! I just don’t have the storage space for 5 childhoods worth of crafts in my house. I figured I was doing these mom’s a favor by making a cute craft that would fall apart relatively quickly.

I worked with 2 to 3 kids at a time while the rest played with the toys. This just about ended up our preschool session. Preschool is always exhausting. But it is thankfully only once every 7 weeks or so.

Next time? Short U: Umbrella and “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.” That is going to be fun.

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