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Invitation to Create Fall Foliage with Play-dough

Since fall has been unfolding all around us the children have been noticing changes in the leaves due to the seasons shifting from summer to fall. We have been talking about why leaves change colors and the science behind it. Leaves change colors during the fall, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor.

Today we invited the children to explore the different

colors of real and fake foraged leaves as provocation first. A provocation is a technique used to stimulate children's thinking, to inspire them artistically, to empower them to take control over their learning, to open their minds, to create an environment for reflection, to challenge children, to observe the world around them, and to encourage creativity. After exploring, observing, and talking about the leaves, the children were invited to create their own fall leaves with colorful play-dough & tools.

Play-dough is a staple in early childhood. It is a powerful way to let a child use their imagination, strengthen the small muscles in their fingers, and encourage a child's language + literacy, science, math and sensory skills. It is quite possibly one of the most powerful props for learning.


When children explore and engage with nature, and their experience is further extended through creating, they are testing possibilities and working through understanding the world around them. Much like a scientist who experiments and finds solutions, hands-on experiences allow children to make their own assessments, while also teaching them that there are so many layers in the world around them. The child’s brain becomes engaged in the discovery of “how” and “why," when we let them connect with what is directly happening in the world around them.

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