Building Speech & Language with Leaf Man {Lois Ehlert Virtual Book Club}

Welcome to another post for our Virtual Book Club for Kids! Today is also the day of our blog-hop launch so you can check out (or link up) all sorts of great activities by our spotlight author, Lois Ehlert. Last Week I shared about Building Speech and Language with Top Cat and today it’s all about Leaf Man!

Book Description

Follow Leaf Man as he travels where the wind blows him. From ducks and geese to spotted cows Leaf Man is taking it all in. Lois Ehlert’s amazing illustrations include real fall leaves making this one of my favorite Fall books of all time.

How We Used Leaf Man To Build Speech and Language

Books are amazing as they can be used to target an array of speech, language and communication skills. This week I used Leaf Man with my two children to work on building vocabulary, following directions, articulation, and communication skills, specifically for my 20 month old son. We did this by going on a leaf hunt and then making our own leaf people after reading the book!

First I gave each of my children their own bag to collect leaves, and then we headed out to our front yard where we (thankfully) had some fall leaves of different colors already falling. (And son is wearing a shirt, a cloth diaper, and his sisters shoes…and my daughter is wearing part of her Halloween costume…that’s how we roll around here.) My daughter thought that this was just to gather leaves for our leaf people, but in reality I had other motives for this activity. I wanted to work on my son’s vocabulary and articulation skills as we went along our leaf hunt. My little guy, despite having an SLP mom, is really just now starting to really use more words and those words can be hard for others to understand. So as we collected leaves, we practiced saying new words around us. Leaf. Rock. Flower. Grass. Plants. Sticks. Though my son knows these words receptively (meaning he knows what they mean when he hears them-evidenced by him looking at or gathering the items upon request) he has difficulty saying these words. In fact, he calls rocks “balls” because he thinks all round objects are balls 😉

Speech and Language is not learned in a bubble…which is why it is important to work on these skills throughout the day and with different activities. Highly motivating activities (like the leaf hunt) give way for more language learning and opportunities to use language in most cases. Everett was more than happy to try using these new words we were working on and for him it was play, not work. This activity wasn’t about the actual gathering of leaves but the process.

Targeting Skills while Making Leaf People

Once we gathered up enough leaves for our leaf people (and practiced saying new words) we headed in to make our leaf people. I realize that the idea of making leaf people to go along with the book Leaf Man is not exactly a novel one 😉 However even though my children thought we were making leaf people just for fun mom SLP here had other plans. Just like the leaf hunt, making our leaf people was really about the process and not the product (although the product sure did turn out adorable!)

For our leaf people, I was targeting my daughter’s fine motor skills and my son’s expressive (what he can say) speech and language skills. I was also working in his ability to follow directions and learn some new vocabulary along the way.

Requesting: We worked on Everett using words to request items rather than gestures and grunts (which he prefers). For example, Everett really liked the glue and wanted to put more glue on the page. Rather than just giving him the glue when he reached for it, I modeled the word “glue” and required him to attempt to say “glue please” in order to receive it. We did this over and over through out the activity.

Articulation/motor planning: My Sweet boy needs some practice imitating my speech and producing speech sounds so we worked on this during our activity. We mainly focused on the words leaf, glue and please during this activity. My goal wasn’t perfect articulation..he is only 20 months old. My goal, rather, was for him to attempt to imitate my speech and to try to get some of the sounds in the word right. For example, I don’t expect him to say the /l/ in glue so I was working on him saying goo or gwoo instead, which are age appropriate approximations for that word.

Fine Motor: My daughter’s fine motor skills are still a little weak from her juvenile arthritis so I love doing activities with her that require her to use those skills. In this activity, she had to pick up the leaves with her pincer grasp and then use her pointer to push the leaf onto the glue.

How to Make Your Own Leaf People

I wanted this activity to be simple so we could focus on the skills I really wanted to target. To make your own leaf people like we did you just need to do the following:

  • Collect leaves of varying sizes and colors (No leaves? You can cut out leaves from construction paper, use foam leaves, or other leaves from craft stores)
  • Cut out people from construction paper. We did one boy and one girl.

  • Cover the leaf people with glue (Elmer’s works well)
  • Have your children cover the leaf people with leaves.
  • Hang your leaf people in your home as a fall decoration.

See…super simple! Remember that when using crafts to work on speech and language, it is the process and not the product that is important. Oh..and have FUN!

Now you need to go check out these FANTASTIC blogs as they are all participating in the Virtual Book Club for Kids as well!

And…this is a blog hop! If you have decided to join us in the Virtual Book Club for Kids this month, link up your activities with us! Your links will show up on ALL participating blogs.

There are a few rules for this blog hop that we ask you to follow, so make sure to read them:

  1. Link up only posts inspired by Lois Ehlert that share children’s book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Add our Virtual Book Club button to your post if you’d like.



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  1. says

    Thanks for that post, it is great. Leaf Man is one of my favorite kids books (close to Lois Ehlert’s book on snow people) and I love the related activity. I’ll try that this fall!