Lois Ehlert is one of my favorite childrens' author/illustrators. Her stories highlight family creativity and her collages feature fun papers and fabrics as well as natural materials and everyday objects to illustrate her tales.
Leaf Man is a favorite this time of year. The rhyming text follows the main character, Leaf Man, through beautiful fall landscapes featuring plants, animals and gardens and all created from collages made of leaves. This can be wonderful inspiration for kids to craft their own leaf animals and people.
Begin by collecting a great variety of shapes, sizes and colors of leaves. Also look for acorns, sead pods, dried flowers and other end-of-season garden treasures. Kids can arrange these to create fun characters and animals. Add additional materials to create a backdrop for your character. Perhaps it will move through different landscapes as leaf man does in the book.
Another approach is to have fun making funny faces. Choose a leaf - how can different materials make different faces and expressions. Photograph your favorite arrangements.
Kids can glue their creations to colorful paper. Also be sure to take photos to record the brilliant colors of leaves before colors fade.
Practice literacy skills by telling stories about your creatures - what happens at the beginning, middle and end. What is the setting of the story? What is the conclusion? Enjoy some fun family story telling time inspired by your leaf art.
Learn more about Art at the Center at www.artatthecenter.org