Preschool and Kindergarten Story Time: Leaf Man

Preschool and Kindergarten Leaf Man Activities

Lois Ehlert’s book Leaf Man follows a group of autumn leaves as they are blown by the wind over fields, past orchards, through prairie meadows, and across lakes and rivers. The leaves start out in the shape of a man and take on different configurations as they travel east, west, north, and south, going where the wind blows. Children will love searching the illustrations for hidden pictures formed by the leaves as they make their journey. The text is poetic and celebrates the natural landscape of the countryside. As you read, engage children by asking questions and defining difficult vocabulary. Here, we share a few ideas for before reading, during reading, and after reading.

Leaf Man (Amazon Affiliate Link)


Leaf Man Story Time and Nature Walk

Learning Goals and Standards:

Literature: Key Ideas and Details
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text

Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding


Before Reading:

Before reading the title, have children spend a few minutes looking at the cover illustration. Turn the book to all sides. Ask:

  • What do you see in the picture? (leaves, acorns, seed pods)
  • Can you find a hidden picture? (Yes, the leaves and seed pods make a picture of a person.)

Read the book title Leaf Man and the author’s name, Lois Ehlert. Explain that the author, or person who wrote the words, is also the illustrator for this book, or the person who creates the pictures. She has written many, many picture books that children are most likely familiar with. Ask:

  • Does this book cover remind you of any other books you’ve read or listened to? (Take several responses.)

During Reading:

Turn to the inside cover page. Ask children if they recognize any of the leaves pictured and let them share where they may have seen them. Read the names of each leaf as you point to each one.

As you read the text of the story, pause to give children time to scan the pictures to look for hidden images formed by the leaves blowing across the page. Ask:

  • What do you see in this picture?

See if children can find the following images as you move through the book. You can even list them beforehand on chart paper (out of order) and check them off as children discover them.

  • squirrel
  • chicken
  • duck
  • mouse
  • turkey
  • carrots
  • potatoes
  • fruit trees
  • rabbit
  • caterpillar
  • cow
  • fish
  • turtle
  • butterfly
  • mountain
  • bird

As you come across more difficult vocabulary in the text, define the words in child-friendly terms:

Vocabulary Definitions

  • marsh: an area of land that is very wet and soft
  • orchard: a group of trees planted together
  • prairie: a large area of land covered with long grasses
  • flock: a large group of birds
  • rustle: a soft crackling sound

After Reading:

Let children share their favorite parts of the story and why. Ask if anyone has ever come across a leaf man before or any other leaf picture. Then, give each child a small paper sack and take children on a nature walk to collect leaves in the yard or around the neighborhood. Tell children to be on the lookout for leaf people or other leaf pictures they might see as they collect their leaves.

Preschool Activities: 

Upon returning to the classroom, have children place their leaves inside the pages of (or under) heavy books or a leaf pressing device. The pressed leaves can be used in science centers or craft activities for further leaf-related or autumn studies.  

Make Your Own Leaf Man Craft

Leaf Man Stick Puppet craft to retell the story

Activity sheet from Hartcourt Books: 

Felt Story Extentsion:

Ask children to list of all the animals from the story. Write the animal names on the board. Flip back through the pages of the book to help them remember.

I Can Make Leaf Art
by Jolanda Garcia, KidsSoup, Inc.

I can make leaf art
1, 2, 3
Look and tell me
What you see. . .

Make different leaf pictures with the cut-out felt or real pressed leaves. Let children describe the leaf picture they see.

Leaf pictures

Use the pressed leaves to make leaf pictures.

Let children make animals or leaf people with the pressed leaves and wiggly eyes.  

Preschool Activities: 
Preschool Activities: 

Preschool Activities: 

Preschool Activities: 
Preschool Activities: 

Preschool Activities: 

Attach the leaves. Demonstrate to children how to use a small paintbrush to spread glue on the back of the leaves and then press them on to the paper. After the glue has dried, brush a coat of Mod Podge over the entire collage to seal the leaves.

Frame the the finished artwork and display on a wall or bulletin board.

View more fall leaves preschool and kindergarten activities, crafts, games, and printables


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