The bright and colorful leaves of fall just beg you to have fun with them! From jumping in piles of leaves to creating fun art projects, the possibilities are almost endless. I love when the trees around us start to change color and all of the beautiful fall decorations start to come out. We decided to embrace the fall season and have some fun with colorful leaf activities!
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Leaves by David Ezra Stein follows an adorable little bear as he experiences the changing seasons. When the leaves start to fall off the trees, he gets worried and tries to put them back. When he wakes from his winter nap, he is happy to see that the trees are growing new leaves again. This is a great story for talking to kids about the changing season. For young kids who worry about the trees dropping their leaves, this book can bring them comfort, knowing that the trees will grow new ones in the Spring.
Learning with Leaves
Raking Leaves Dramatic Play – My daughter loves to do housework. She loves it so much that she has insisted on using her bubble lawn mower in the snow! So I knew that she would enjoy an activity based on yard work. This is an easy game to set up for young kids that gets them moving. Tape a small square on the floor with masking tape and spread fake leaves around it. Give kids a small rake or broom and encourage them to get all of the leaves into the square only using the tool (not picking them up with hands!). She had a lot of fun trying to get all of the leaves into a pile. When kids get more comfortable with it, you can make it more challenging by adding different shapes and calling them out for them to rake leaves into.
Leaf Letter Matching – Upper case and lower case letters can be confusing for kids. Give them practice matching them together with this easy quiet bin activity. Print out the leaf template and create 52 leaves in different colors of construction paper. Write the alphabet in lower case letters on half of them, and in upper case letters on the other half. Have kids match the correct pairs together. There are two leaf shapes on the template, so you can mix and match shapes of leaves, or create all of your leaves with one shape.
Leaf Scavenger Hunt – We love going for walks, and my daughter is always picking things up and collecting them. When the ground is covered in leaves, this kicks into overdrive! I decided to make our walks a little more fun by encouraging her to find leaves of different colors and shapes. With older kids, you could have them find leaves from certain tree types around you as well. This not only gives you a reason to get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather, but also makes kids more aware of the trees and plants around you.
Creating Leaf Art
Leaf Sun Catchers – These easy sun catchers are a fun way decorate the windows with the bright colors of fall. Cut two squares of clear contact paper and tape one down on a tabletop with the sticky side up. Have kids rip pieces of tissue paper and lay them in a single layer on the sticky surface. When they have it covered, lay the second piece of contact paper down on top of the tissue paper and lay some books on top of it to make sure it seals. Trace a leaf shape (or your child’s hand) onto the contact paper and cut it out. If the paper comes apart at the edges, use a little glue to stick it back together. Hang them in front of your window to catch some of the fall light.
Using Leaves to Create Art
Leaf Rubbing – There is something so fun about creating art out of leaves. This activity can be done with all ages, making it a great project for the family to do together. Gather leaves outside (or use fake leaves like these), and place them on a table. Lay a sheet of white paper over them and use the side of an unwrapped crayon to shade back and forth over the leaf until you see it’s shape come through the paper. See how many different leaf shapes you can color onto your page! Talk to kids about the different shapes of the leaves, as well as the characteristics of the leaves that you see coming through the paper.
Leaf Stamping – Create beautiful pieces of artwork by using leaves as stamps. Pour some paint onto a plate in different fall colors. Have kids carefully lay a leaf in the paint (you may need to help if they are younger) and then push the painted leaf onto a piece of white paper. Carefully pull the leaf off to leave an imprint on the page. Mix and match colors and leaf shapes to create a piece of fall art for your home.
There are so many fun ways that you can use leaves to teach kids a variety of important skills. What are some of your favorite leaf activities or crafts?