Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Have you ever used fallen leaves to inspire music experiences with your students? It's a great way to get them moving and engaging in nature play! I've collected a few leaf songs, creative movement ideas, and art connections that have become early childhood favorites. Check them out below!
The Leaves by Arvida Steen
Respond to music through movement using “The Leaves” written by Arvida Steen (Exploring Orff, p. 109). This simple melody uses the full diatonic scale, first descending and then ascending.
All the leaves are falling down
Falling softly to the ground
Now the wind will lift them high
Lift them gently to the sky
Sing multiple times for the students. With each repetition, use guiding questions to inspire playful learning.
What is the song about?
What is happening to the leaves?
What is making the leaves move?
Can your body rise and fall like the leaves in the song?
Steen, A. (1992). Exploring Orff: A teacher’s guide. New York: Schott Music Corporation.
Fall Leaves Pitch Exploration by Chelsea Seapy
Follow the pathway of the wind blown leaves! When students see the red circle, listen. When students see the green circle, sing. What a fun way to explore higher and lower voices using melodic contour. My students really enjoyed this and it also worked great as a sub plan!
Blowing in the Wind by Stephanie Leavell
"Blowing in the Wind" is a beautiful and catchy scarf song that you and your students can learn right away. If you're exploring creative movement based around a theme, you can change the word "scarf" to "leaf. Kids love the "woosh and plop" ending!
Falling Leaf by Stephanie Leavell
“Falling Leaf” is a movement song where students pretend they're leaves! Spin, fly, float, and rest on the ground, letting the music guide the movement. Students love this movement exploration using a scarf prop. It also makes a great connection to "Blowing in the Wind."
Windy Weather by Lynn Kleiner
Windy weather, breezy weather. When the wind blows, we all get together...
This is a calming movement song invites students to explore spatial awareness and direction.
"Windy weather, breezy weather" - Sway from side to side
"When the wind blows, we all get together" - Blow to the middle
At the sounds of the musical breeze - Blow back to original spot.
"What Falls in the Fall?" by The Laurie Berkner Band
Whirl, twirl, crunch, and fall down! Grab a scarf (or some fake autumn leaves) and have fun moving to this song. The words guide the movement and can be acted out throughout the song.
Leaves in the Wind
I love using the musical story, “Leaves in the Wind” (click for a sample) to inspire creative movement. Using a scarf or other lightweight movement prop, follow the musical cues and imagine moving like leaves as you sway, twist, turn, float, and fall softly to the ground. What a wonderful way to explore focused listening, spatial awareness, tempo, and levels in music and movement!
Kindermusik. (2002). “Leaves in the Wind” [Hello Weather, Let’s Play Together, Disc 1].
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Read the Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert and notice all of the different leaf creations throughout the story.
In this beautifully illustrated picture book, a “leaf man” goes on an adventure. As the wind blows, the “leaf man” is blown away and becomes various plants and animals, like birds in the sky or fish in a stream.
The illustrations inspire students to explore their outside environment and create their own nature collages like the ones below.
Ehlert, L. (2005). Leaf Man. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, Inc.
Students collected leaves during their recess and I also brought fallen flowers from my backyard to use for their creations. Fall/Winter in Dubai brings foliage that is bursting with shades of yellow, pink, orange, white, green, and brown!
Leaf Art Student Creations
The students absolutely loved making their leaf art together and celebrating each other’s work. Exploring through art, movement, story, and song created a sensory rich and playful experience. What was your favorite part? Will you try any of these ideas with children in your early childhood classroom this week? We’d love to hear how it went!
Drop us a comment below.
Thank you for reading and happy creating!