Four lessons you can teach with a leaf!

Posted March 1, 2019 in Blog By Richard Ryan

A new season brings with it a host of ways to bond with your child and reinforce concepts that they’ve been learning at Wesley.

 

Today marks the start of Autumn here in Perth. After a long, hot summer it’s a relief for all of us. Well, all of us who don’t have deciduous trees dropping endless leaves in the garden.

But, as you find yourself suddenly surrounded by nature’s debris why not seize the moment to use it as a teaching opportunity for your child?

After all, with leaves coming in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours there are plenty of ways to engage younger children in the simple things that are happening around them.

Obviously, there’s the actual science behind why seasons change and why trees lose their leaves. However, beyond that, there are all sorts of educational adventures to be had with the leaves themselves.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  1. Hand your child a rake and have them gather some leaves into a small pile (the hidden benefit in this plan should be immediately obvious). But, before you get too settled into a garden chair, it’s time to put your educator hat on. Ask your child to have a guess about how many leaves are in the pile, then help him or her sort the leaves into little piles of 10 until you know how exactly how many there are. Now a basic garden chore has been turned into a lesson on estimation. Have a chat about how close the guess was and perhaps repeat the exercise the next time you get the rake out. Over the course of a few weeks you should see the child’s estimation skills improve.
  2. If you’re in the park, encourage your child to run around picking up leaves from under different trees. Once they’ve created a small pile, ask them to sort the leaves according to their size, or colour, or shape. With that done, perhaps invite them to order the leaves from smallest to largest. Whatever game you end up playing, the child is learning the essentials of sorting and classifying.
  3. Time for maths! This couldn’t be more simple. Perhaps you’re killing a few moments waiting for coffee and a juice box, so grab a leaf, break it into a few parts and do some basic sums – adding, subtracting, and so on. If the queue is particularly lengthy, ask your child to collect 10 leaves. Then work on the various ways to make 10, say a group of six and a group of four.
  4. Let your child pick a leaf that really catches their eye. Take it home and place it under a piece of paper. Invite him or her to rub over the leaf with a crayon. Once every ridge and bump is accounted for you’ll be able to clearly see the stem and veins of the leaf. Seize the moment to discuss how the stem delivers minerals and water around the leaf. It’s your own, easy, science lesson. Perhaps write the type of leaf on the paper and pop it on the fridge, so that if you find another interesting leaf you can repeat the exercise and compare the similarities and differences.

So, there you have it. The humble leaf – we’ll be walking on them all autumn long, but each one has a little something to offer young minds that are looking to learn!

 

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