Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Autumn tree (and the Gruffalo)

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Back to school and it suddenly feels like Autumn. A walk in the park on a very windy day and we collected autumn leaves, acorns, beech nuts, pine cones, sticks and even an early conker. Our house is usually littered with bags of stuff we have collected on walks in the hope that we'll do something creative with them. They usually rot and we have to throw them away, but this time we managed to get them out and do something. This is a really simple activity which can be put away as easily as it appears. Making the tree was fun but we happened to have a copy of 'The Gruffalo' lying around (it's never very far away), and turned it into a 'deep, dark wood' tree with soft toys to act out the story (you of course don't have to do this bit!) ... We also added a bit of colour with some hand-prints that we turned into leaves.

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You will need:
  • Collected items: lots of different coloured leaves, conkers, acorns, beech nuts, branches - anything you can find.
  • A long sheet of paper (wallpaper ideal) or a sheet.
  • Magnifying glass
  • Something to make the trunk of the tree: we used some packing material that came in a parcel but you could use scrunched up brown paper, cardboard, a brown scarf or material.
  • Paint (autumnal colours) for hand printing.

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Activity

  • Collect autumn leaves and anything else you can find that is lying around at this time. Discuss where things have come from, look up at the trees and see if they can see seed heads, conkers, pine cones, coloured leaves etc.
  • Put your collection into a large box or basket.
  • Lay out a roll of white paper or a sheet on the floor.

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  • Put your tree together. If you are using paper or cardboard for the trunk of the tree, you can lay bits of bark on top to make it more authentic. Start with bigger branches and work outwards, putting on smaller twigs. Add leaves and other things you have collected.
  • Put a layer of leaves at the bottom of the tree and add acorns, conkers, pine cones etc.
  • Finally, add cut-out hand prints that act as colourful leaves.
  • For the Gruffalo activity, collect toys that can be the characters and act out the story as you read...

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