Leaf Drawings

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A recent nature walk yielded up the first of fall’s changing leaves, and we knew we had to make art with them when we got home!

My original title for this post was going to be “leaf butterflies”, since when I saw all the pretty leaves, I immediately thought of little butterfly and bug wings. Travis had plans of his own, hence the more generic title of “leaf drawings.” Read on!

For the original butterfly idea, I drew a few bug bodies in crayon, and Travis helped select which leaves would be their wings.

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Liberal application with a glue stick was all we needed to attach “wings” and googly eyes to each critter.

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But Travis wanted to make his own picture with the remaining leaves, and began gluing and coloring.

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“It’s you and me in a leaf pile!” he explained proudly, showing me his first one. A second “leaf pile” work of art soon followed.

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What other drawings would you make featuring leaves from a nature walk? Please share in the comments!

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Nature Crate

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It seemed funny to receive this crate late into Travis’s Koala subscription, especially since we received glowing nature just about a year ago. But we’re always game to explore nature around here, and fall is the perfect time to do it.  So bring on the projects! As always, you can DIY these crafts with materials from your local craft store, with only a little variation.

First, we put together the Scavenger Hunt Box. Color in the provided stickers with the included pack of colored pencils, and decorate the provided cardboard box.

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The mechanics for the inside of the box are simple; slot three foam dividers together, and insert into the box.

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There are various scavenger hunt cards that then can be placed in the box (more on that later!), so choose which you’ll start with, place in the box, and top with the dividers. A simple Velcro sticky dot closes the box, then loop the provided cord through two holes for a handle.

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Travis was so proud of his box, which he toted all around the apartment.

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Indeed, your child may decide that it’s just as fun to fill it with treasures that aren’t from nature, and that’s ok!

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The second project (although actually the one we put together first) was Discovery Tools – a frog measuring tape and a magnifying glass. As with many Koala projects, this involved a nice opportunity to exercise fine motor skills. We folded up the provided green “frog box.”

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Then we pushed a foam ring onto the clothespin and inserted the clothespin into a hole in the box.

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Next, we attached two pieces of sticky pink felt at the bottom of the measuring tape. Now thread the measuring tape through a slit in the box, then through the clothespin. Seal the clothespin with a second foam ring.

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Now twist the clothespin so the measuring tape winds up.

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Travis absolutely adored his frog, and spent the entire afternoon winding up the tape, pulling the “tongue” out as long as it would go, and winding again.

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We took a quick moment to add the finishing touch, two frog googly eyes, before he was back to winding and unwinding.

With the third project, Nature Notes, it was time to put it all together! I confess I was initially disappointed this third activity wasn’t a “craft”, but rather a booklet of nature walk ideas … but I stand corrected, because wow was there lots to discover and do! First, the kit comes with bumpy plastic inserts that slip beneath the pages of the nature notebook to make “nature rubbings.”

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Travis loved watching the images appear!

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But the real fun is in taking it all outdoors. The notebook is so chock-full of activities there were almost too many for me to describe in this post.

For starters, now we could use those three scavenger hunt cards in the box. First we tackled the card simply looking for items: flowers, sticks, clovers etc.

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Next up was a color hunt – definitely the prettiest!

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The final card, a shape hunt, proved quite tricky, especially the rectangle and square.

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Perhaps this square of moss counted, but we couldn’t fit it in our box.

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As we walked, we also used the Nature Notes booklet for lots more activities, including: discovering with all five senses; peering at items with our magnifying glass;

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and his favorite, a bug hunt.

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He loved this worm.

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And look how huge this daddy long legs was!

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Don’t forget to measure with the Froggie, too! Soon we were measuring flowers, leaves, sticks, and more.

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Whoa, this branch was longer than our tape!

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The Nature Notes includes a few helpful prompts, such as finding out how wide across is a leaf…

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… or the width of two flower petals.

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As a final component of our kit, we put together the suggested set of DIY Binoculars, almost identical to a project we put together back in the spring, but we lost the old pair! I hot glued together two toilet paper tubes, then hot glued yarn on the edges. Cut a third toilet paper tube down the middle, and stretch over the top of the other two tubes. Glue into place.

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Travis decorated this set with bees and birds!

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So in sum, lots of fun, lots of learning, lots of getting out there in the dirt, and all kinds of exploration to be had. Thanks Koala!

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