The Song Of The Acorn Fairy
To English folk the mighty oak
Is England’s noblest tree;
Its hard-grained wood is strong and good
As English hearts can be
And would you know how oak-trees grow,
The secret may be told:
You do but need to plant for seed
One acorn in the mould;
For even so, long years ago,
Were born the oaks of old.
~Cecily Mary Baker
Invitation to Play:
This week’s provocation was an invitation to create art. Along with plain white paper, I put out bowls of acorn caps, apricot pits, aluminum foil and dried apple bits. I also set out Crayola “twistables” which are really fun crayons to color with. They have a unique, squishy texture which the children enjoy–we call them “lipstick crayons”. And glue…lots of glue! There is something very empowering about being able to create one’s own art with no preconceived images or ideas but just a variety of open-ended materials to work with.
I introduced a charming new autumn poem this week:
These are the brown leaves tumbling down (fingers flutter down to touch ground)
And this is the tall tree bare and brown (reach up high, arms are branches)
This is the squirrel with eyes so bright (crouch down with hand in front like paws)
Hunting for nuts with all her might (dig around for nuts)
This is the hole where day by day (cup hands to make hole)
Nut after nut she stores away (put nuts into hole and then cover it up)
When winter comes with its cold and storm (hug self and shiver)
She’ll sleep curled up all snug and warm (curl up into a ball) ~anon.
Children resonate to the music of the words that one finds in poetry. If there are accompanying actions, that is a bonus! As an aside, this is a lovely verse to add to your naptime repertoire! It is so much more fun to be a little squirrel curling up “snug and warm” in a cozy little hole in a tree than a little person being told to take a nap!
We discussed how squirrels must gather acorns and nuts to get ready for the winter and considered why. There is a cute little 5,4,3,2,1 poem about 5 Little Acorns that we chanted together:
5 Little Acorns sitting in a tree.
Along came Mr. Squirrel as hungry as could be.
Then the autumn winds blew and rustled all the leaves
Down came an acorn; Mr. Squirrel was pleased!
We learned the song “Gray Squirrel”. This is a perennial favorite because the littles love to wiggle their bums back and forth pretending that they are swishing their bushy tails!
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel
Swish your bushy tail
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel
Swish your bushy tail.
Wrinkle up your little nose,
Hide a nut between your toes,
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel
Swish your bushy tail!
I read the book, Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday I read the book, Little Acorn Grows Up by Edward Gibbs. We did lots of acorn exploring. We counted how many acorns we could hold in our hands. We estimated how many acorns were in a pile. We weighed acorns. We dropped acorns into a bottle to make music shakers and then sang our autumn song,”Autumn is Here” (see The Storm That Broke The Back Of Summer ). We collected acorns and sorted them into three piles: acorn caps, acorns with no caps, and acorns and caps. Many of these ideas came from a really good preschool website called Teach Preschool
Hunting for acorns
1. Acorn Cap Jewels for our autumn fairies and gnomes. The inspiration for this came from the Kiwi Crate website. I have made these before and they turned out great, but this year I was inspired by an idea on the Kleas website which suggested using glitter glue and so we did! To make acorn cap jewels, gather large acorn caps. Have your children color the inside of the acorn caps with washable markers. Then drizzle either white glitter glue or white school glue into the acorn caps. The color from the washable markers will bleed into the glue and turn the glue vibrant colors. The littles loved watching the glue change color. We set the acorn caps into little containers of rice. This allowed the acorn caps to rest upright to dry.
2. Felted acorns–sort of. The idea for creating felted acorns using wool roving is all over the internet. I bought my wool roving at Heindselman’s Yarn and Needlework store in downtown Provo. A roving is wool that has been combed and then slightly twisted into a long, narrow bundle of fiber. It is mainly used for spinning wool into yarn. But you can also use it to felt with. I put out several basins of warm, soapy water and gave each child a bit of roving. Then, I showed them how to get the wool wet and how to roll it in their hands to make an acorn shape. I had them continue to get the wool wet and roll it for as long as they wanted. Some of the children just loved the water and rolling their wool and stuck with it for quite awhile. Others enjoyed the washing process and the wool, but never quite got the idea of rolling the wool into a ball. And for a few the project held minimal interest and they preferred outdoor play time! I had planned to glue gun on acorn caps to their little balls of felt, but so many of the littles were enjoying the process of washing their wool so much, that I thought that it would be a shame to spoil the ability to take their wool home for a bathtime play.
3. Acorn sponge art. For this project, I enlarged an acorn outline and then printed that on cardstock. I cut out the acorn shape. I gave each child a dollop of orange, brown and gold tempera paint and small squares of sponge and a large pom-pom ball. Then I let them paint the acorns. Some stamped the paint. Some spread the paint. But all of their acorns looked great! To make the texture of the acorn cap, I shook cotton balls in cocoa powder and let the kiddos glue those onto their acorns.
4. Paint with acorns. I cut drawing paper to fit into a shoebox. Then into the shoebox I put a squirt of red, blue and gold paint. We added acorns to the box and rolled the acorns around to cover them with paint. I taped the drawing paper onto the lid of the shoebox using painter’s tape. We put on the lid and slid two rubber bands around the box–one on each end. Then we shook, shook, shook the box! This is always wonderful fun. And then the question…what will each piece of art look like? A wonderful Jackson Pollackesque piece of art!
Acorn Books We Enjoyed