Yesterday in Pittsburgh was a bit dreary, but not raining. We decided that taking a walk was a good idea. These kids needed to get out of the house! I was in an early intervention session, so their Mom and I bundled them up and rolled out the door. With an almost two year old girl pushing a baby doll stroller, and a three year old boy pushing a regular stroller with a doll in it (two kids and one stroller just wasn’t jiving…so we had to improvise), we were on our way!
We didn’t have a particular path or plan in place, which turned out to be perfect. We made our way down one side of the street, waving to the mail carrier and talking about the vehicles going by (truck, car, bus!) Then we made our way back up the other side of the street. The kids were beginning to fuss over who would get to push which stroller, when I looked down…and low and behold, there, along the fencing were tons and tons of fallen leaves! I reached down and picked up a huge bundle and tossed them in the air! The kids stopped. Their eyes got wide as they watched the leaves fall down to the ground. The littlest one looked up at me and said “Again!”
We spent the next 20 minutes along that fence, picking up leaves and tossing them in the air, laughing. Mom was laughing, the kids were laughing, the delivery guy in the truck that drove past was laughing at us. Mom even started taking pictures! She planned to bring the kids back after her older son got home from school, so that he could have fun in the leaves, too!
Out of something so SIMPLE came so much FUN and LEARNING! Every time they squatted down, grasped the leaves, and stood back up, they were practicing GROSS MOTOR skills like squatting, core strengthening, and balance! And the LANGUAGE was incredible! We modeled words like “toss”, “more”, “crunchy”, “up/down”, “leaves!” and “again”. Touching, seeing and smelling the crunchy leaves added a SENSORY component. COGNITIVE skills like cause and effect, following directions (“Give Mommy some leaves!”) and impulse control, were all put in to practice.
So, the next time you think it’s just a simple activity like tossing leaves in to the air, think again! There’s so much more to it!
What other fun fall activities have you been trying?