by Lois Ehlert
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf is a book you and your child will pull out year after year with the first signs of autumn. The first person narrator of this charming story describes how the maple tree in her yard began as a seed, sprouts, is transplanted to a nursery, and is then purchased and planted by her family. The book chronicles the tree in each season, ending, of course, with fall with its red and yellow leaves. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf will appeal to children of all ages: preschoolers will love the vivid collage illustrations; emergent readers will enjoy reading the labels of items on the pages, such as ‘garden gloves,’ ‘maple tree seeds,’ etc.; and independent readers will find the facts on maples at the end of the book fascinating to read. You may even be inspired to visit a nursery and plant your own maple tree!
In this Issue
This cereal box tote is a perfect repository for all the treasures your young reader will find on their autumn adventures, and will keep everything safe until further observations can be made with a magnifying glass. Made from a cereal box and string, and decorated with torn construction paper (inspired by the endpapers of Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf), it will come together in no time at all so that you can spend the most time outside.
Cereal Box Nature Tote
- Cereal box
- Construction paper
- White glue
- Hole punch
- Ribbon, twine, or string
- Cut the flaps off the top of the open cereal box.
- Tear the construction paper into various shapes, resembling leaves.
- Apply glue to the back of a piece of a ‘leaf.’ Place on the cereal box. Repeat with the other pieces, overlapping so that you can’t see the box. Repeat on all sides of the box.
- Once the glue is dry, using the hole-punch, punch two holes on each side at the top of the box.
- Cut ribbon to desired length. Thread the ribbon or twine through the holes, making a knot on either end to hold it in place.
- Get ready to head outside!
Autumn Treasure Expedition
Grab your Cereal Box Nature Tote and head outside for an autumn treasure expedition. Encourage your young reader to collect interesting leaves, small twigs, seeds, nuts, or any other Mother Nature treasures they can find, and deposit them in the tote.
Once you have returned home, carefully examine all the treasures. Then try the following activities:
- For a different perspective, use a magnifying glass to find details you might have not seen before.
- Try organizing items by color, size, texture, or any other categories you and your reader can come up with.
- Try to identify the tree or plant the items came from.
For an expedition of another kind, try an autumn scavenger hunt. Depending on where you live, you may see signs of the changing season all around you. Discuss some of these changes with your reader.
1. Together, make a list of signs of the changing season, such as:
- Red Leaf
- Brown Leaf
- Yellow Leaf
- How Many different colors of leaves can you find?
- Leaf with two different colors
- Animals, such as squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, especially those collecting food for winter
- Pine cones
- Blue Jay
- How many types of bids can you find?
2. Watch the sense of accomplishment grow as your young reader spots the items on the list and checks them off!
or Treats for the Tweets
Invite some new, feathered friends to your house by making the bird treats featured in Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf. They require just a few, simple ingredients and are just messy enough to make that lots of fun will ensue. Once the treats are finished and hanging outdoors just remember to be patient – birds take a bit to warm up to something new, but once they do they just might start knocking on your door and asking for more!
All of the following activities were adapted from the following website: A Home for Wild Birds
- 1/2 cup lard or Crisco
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup wild birdseed (purchased, or mixed from the suggested ingredients, at the bottom of this post)
- Stir the lard or shortening and peanut butter together.
- Add the other ingredients and mix well.
- Use to make a Hanging Bird Treat (see below); spread on a wooden platform bird feeder; or fill muffin tins 1/4” full and freeze, then use in a suet feeder (this last option works best in cold weather, as the peanut butter and lard will melt!).
Hanging Bird Treats
- Bread slices
- Cookie sheet
- Cookie cutter
- Bird Suet (see above)
- Drinking straw
- Ribbon, yarn, or twine
- Lay bread slices on a cookie sheet.
- Using the cookie cutter, cut the bread into the desired shape.
- Using the plastic drinking straw, press a hole near the top of the shape. This will be used to hang the treat.
- Leave the bread on the cookie sheet to dry. (It will take a day or so. Young readers can keep turning the bread shapes over from time to time if they choose.)
- Once the bread is dry, use a plastic knife to spread one side of the shape with the prepared suet.
- Slip the ribbon or yarn through the hole.
- Tie the treat to a tree branch outside.
Pine Cone Bird Feeder
- Pine cone
- Peanut Butter
- Ribbon, twine, or sting
- Spoon or plastic knife
- Pie plate or large plate
- Tie a piece of twine or string to the top of the pine cone.
- Use a spoon or plastic knife to fill all the openings of the pine cone with peanut butter.
- Pour the birdseed into a plate or pie plate.
- Roll the peanut butter-covered pine cone in the birdseed (If needed, gently press the seed to help it stick to the peanut butter).
- Hang the feeder from a tree branch outside.
Note: You can also use the Bird Suet recipe, above, to fill the pine cone. Roll the coated pine cone in more birdseed, if desired.
You Might Also Enjoy: Homemade Birdseed Treats
While our craft of Hanging Bird Treats is certainly not for your readers to eat, they will enjoy making their own version, perfect for an afternoon snack after going on a nature walk. Our 'birdseed' is a mix of dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and a few mini chocolate chips, but any chopped nuts or dried fruit would work.
Reader's Bird Seed Treat
- Bread slices
- Peanut butter
- Mini chocolate chips
- Sunflower seeds
- Dried cranberries
- Chopped nuts
You Might Also Enjoy: Spiced Apple Cider
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