You know it's fall when trees are shedding their leaves furiously, and heaps of fall leaves are strewn everywhere on pavements, roads, fields... It's a beautiful mess.
It's great outdoor sensory fun to stomp on the dry crispy leaves and pick bunches up to throw into the air. Sometimes Gwen and I end up collecting lots of maple leaves and I bring them home for art and craft. This is one Fall Tree Craft Artpiece we did previously!
I came across Happy Brown House's Raking Leaves Pretend Play and was excited to try it because I had a stash of leaves (and also because Gwen loves using the Swiffer sweeper.)
Fall Leaves Sweeping Gross Motor Activity for Young Toddlers!
- Leaves: I used real, dried leaves collected from the great outdoors. The crunching and rustling of the leaves added to the sensorial experience of the activity. I also threw in some pine cones for fun.
- Sweeper: Alternatives can be a real leaf raker, broom or mop!
- Painter's tape: I used tape to mark out a rectangular area for Gwen to sweep leaves into, so there's a target and sense of purpose to work with!
Demonstrate sweeping the leaves into the designated area for your little one to observe (remember not to issue verbal instructions at the same time. Learnt this from The Montessori Toddler book - talking while demonstrating simultaneously reduces what your child can absorb because she might not know what to focus on - your voice or hands!)
For older toddlers, issue a fun challenge for them to sweep up the leaves within a time limit, or to sweep up only one item vs all.
Benefits of this Activity
- Improve gross motor skills
- Enhance hand-eye coordination
- Builds imagination and creativity through pretend play (Tell your child she's a gardener!)
- Object and season recognition (Use this opportunity to teach your child about leaves and pine cones, where they can be found in nature and seasonal change)
- Enhances vocabulary and language skills (Introduce words to do with speed "fast" vs "slow", object weight "light" vs "heavy" and distance "far" vs "near")
Gwen's Play Experience
The play didn't last as long as I had hoped for, it was just a couple of minutes. Gwen was enthusiastic about using the swiffer sweeper, but she wasn't able to wield it well enough to sweep the leaves and pine cones in the intended direction. Soon after, she got too frustrated to continue.
I believe repeated tries would enhance her gross motor skills and proprioception (sense of self-movement) so she could manipulate the swiffer sweeper better. Would definitely try this activity sometime soon!
Now to hoard more fall leaves before winter creeps in!
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.