For a lot of the parents I know, fall brings anxiety.
Not back to school anxiety, but the looming inevitability of the cold weather and the fact that soon everyone will be forced inside. Together. All the time.
Sometimes these parents freak themselves out so much they forget there is good stuff to do in the fall…before the scary cold happens.
This week, after I picked up the boys from daycare, I decided that we would play outside for a while and enjoy the freak warm weather we were having in Michigan (almost 80 in October is pretty freaky for us).
Eddie grabbed his net that he got this summer for catching toy fish in his pool, and decided to grab leaves.
I decided Charlie needed to feel some leaves for the first time too.
While Eddie ran all over the yard (burning energy that would normally annoy me while I am making dinner), Charlie wiggled his toes in the grass and crinkled dry leaves in his chubby hands…all the while giving me stink eye for making him try something new.
So Charlie got some sensory and fine motor skills fun, and Eddie worked on his hunting and gathering skills. You know, in case that becomes a necessity in our lives.
Actually, I told Eddie to find as many different colors and shapes as he could find. Which was cool because at three, he is totally into showing off his mad skills in naming shapes and colors.
He even went so far as to start pulling leaves off bushes and trees.
Once he had a full net, he decided he would also like a full tummy, so we went in for some dinner while discussing the plans we had for our “catch” of leaves.
Over dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and yogurt, we decided that since Thanksgiving is next month, we should really make a turkey with the leaves.
So I traced Eddie’s hand to make the turkey shape, and he chose leaves he thought would look great as turkey tail feathers.
I put down some glue, and he would hold each “feather” while we practiced counting to 20. There were six leaves we used total, so by the time we got to the last “feather”, Eddie was counting all the way by himself.
To let the glue dry, we went and did bath time. When we came back, I cut a circle out of paper for the turkey head, and Eddie colored it.
By the end of the night, we had a Leaf Turkey.
You know, I am the least crafty person in the world, but stuff like this is totally easy, and takes up the night so we didn’t have as much issue with “the witching hour” like we usually do.
Plus Charlie was super content to hang out in his highchair and suck on some melon while his brother and mom got all artsy fartsy.
Eddie wants to make something out of twigs next.
I’ll have to get more glue.
Katie Sluiter is a freelance writer and teacher who should probably be grading papers or changing diapers but is more likely blogging, tweeting, or just overusing social media in general. She chronicles all this on her blog, Sluiter Nation.