We are finally starting to see Autumn creep into the our lives. There is a definite chill in the evenings, and the dewy grass has been tickling our toes on our morning nature walks. It is not quite cold enough for shoes. Then again, Squishy would go barefoot in the snow if I let him, so that is probably not the best indicator. We are starting to wear sweatshirts on our nightly wind down walks, as well. It is the curse of living in California. We never truly get to experience the beauty of fall. The bounty, yes, but not the magnificent explosion of color I have seen in New England or the brilliant golden skyline of the Colorado Aspens. Most of our trees are either Ever Green, or their leaves don’t fall till winter comes around.
Squishy has always had a love for this season. Probably because all the cousins have their birthday around this time and so does he. I try to fill our lives with the warmth and coziness of fall, even if the temperature outside is still reaching for the 90’s. Our house smells like pumpkin spice, we eat pumpkin butter by the pint, cook cozy soups and chilies, and collect as many Autumn books from the Library as we can.
Check out our A Pipkin of Pepper with Bonus Pumpkin Chili Recipe for more Autumn goodness
I am savoring my time with Squishy right now. His preschool years are so precious and fleeting. That is hitting home even more with his Birthday coming up in a week. Next Autumn he will be a big boy. The big 0-5. I know that his curiosity will still be strong, but inevitably some of his wonder will have faded. I am praying it doesn’t fade too much, and I am dedicated to keeping the sparkle in his eyes for as long as I can. He has an insatiable need for knowledge, always looking for answers of how things work. I strive to meet that need while maintaining the magic of childhood.
We don’t do the traditional circle time in the morning. Mostly because it’s just the two of us. I tried it for a week, I really did. I felt completely silly, and he was bored. Squishy is not one for sitting still for very long, if you couldn’t tell. When we wake up Squish makes his habitual cozy chocolate milk, and I make my
gallon cup of coffee, then we do our Learning Time. That is just what we have been calling our morning cuddle with books on the couch. It gives us both a chance to fully wake up and enjoy our morning together. Then we head outside fast. This is where our real learning happens. We memorize our weekly poem, we sing and we dance. Pretty sure my neighbors think I’m nuts.
Our favorite leaf song is “Autumn Leaves falling Down” and It goes along perfectly with our favorite leaf book. (I have no idea who the author is but found this YouTube Video that is similar to the one we sing. We only do the first verse though.) We sing it loudly and off key, but I’m sure if you sing it in key it’s just as fun.
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We have picked out a lot of our favorite books, and a couple new ones this year. One that Squishy keeps having me renew our check out on is called “Autumn Leaves” By Ken Robbins. It has been the inspiration behind many of our nature walks and discussions. I am a sucker for a children’s book that engages conversation and furthers learning.
I really can not say enough good things about this book.We added it to our pile based solely on the cover as an accompaniment to Leaf Man. I always like to add in a non-fiction book to our Learning Time. This book delivered in spades. It is not surprising that “Autumn Leaves” found its way into our night time reading as well as our morning. The Pictures are just stunning. They show life size depictions of a wide variety of leaves, highlighting what makes each one special and unique.
Squishy would dart to each stray leaf that blew in his path on our walk and try to decipher what kind of tree it came from. Many of them came home with us. He would compare them to the book pictures before they claimed their place in his collection. He successfully identified a magnolia and sweet gum tree on our walk this morning. I really love that it has trees from all Climate Zones, not just the typical fall leaves you think about.
In a fun sing song verse, the author takes you through the different textures and shapes that leaves come in. “Leaves are different on each different tree. Look at them carefully and see what you see…” He then moves on to specific trees, giving fun facts that will stick in a child’s mind. Squishy’s favorite part of the book, though, comes at the end. After all that leaf collecting and examining that has happened, Ken Robbins tells us the answers to the “why” questions that are sure to pop up. Why is a leaf green? Why do they change colors and fall to the ground? Where do all the other colors come from? Okay, that wasn’t a “why”, but I am sure you will be asked it anyway. The good news is, the answers are in the book. Its written in such a way that even the scientific process of Photosynthesis is fun and memorable.
These are our favorite books to accompany “Autumn Leaves”. I would love to hear your favorite.