There are always a lot of projects to do regarding pumpkins during the fall season. Though this makes sense, I find two drawbacks with projects involving actual pumpkins. First of all, depending on the project, a pumpkin can be a hard to involve multiple children. Second of all, pumpkins can be messy (guts!) and will rot quickly.
So instead, I’m coming up with ideas for leaves.
The Younger Set (Toddlers-Twos)
- Collecting leaves is a simple activity that teaches toddlers focus and task completion. You can have older toddlers look for a certain color leaf. We had the toddlers help us collect leaves on the playground, and they loved it.
- Count the leaves you collect!
- Throw the leaves you collect into a sensory bin. Question toddlers about texture, colors, shapes, and size (big/small).
- Use real or fake leaves to make a leaf collage. With our toddlers, we were using glue, so we used fake leaves because we felt they would stick better and be less likely to break off.
- Show toddlers leaves and ask them to draw their own. Create a tree on which to hang the leaves.
- Have toddlers paint using leaves. Leaves will create an unique design with the paint and it’s good for toddlers to try painting using all materials.
The Older Set (Preschoolers)
- Preschoolers can also collect leaves, and look for a specific color. With multiple preschoolers, divide them into teams and have them look for a certain number of a certain color, or have them try to find the most unique leaf, in color or shape.
- Preschoolers can use the leaves they collected to create bar graphs. Leaves can be organized by color, size, and students’ favorites.
- Leaf rubbings! White paper + leaves + crayons = science and art! Make sure leaf/paper is secure to ensure an accurate rubbing. Look up leaves found ahead of time so kids can label their rubbings.
- I really like this project, but it would require close adult supervision. Have preschooler use a needle to thread string through multiple leaves (fake or real). Hang up leaf banner!
- Either have a leaf pattern, or have preschoolers use leaves found. Have them trace and cut out leaves. Next help them make a tree with branches (individual size, nothing huge) using brown construction. Glue on leaves!
Books about Leaves
- Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro (PK)
- Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert (PK)
- Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace (PK/Toddlers)
- Fall Leaf Project by Margaret McNamera (PK)
- Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber (PK)
- Leaves, Leaves! by Salina Yoon (Toddlers)
- Ready for Autumn by Marthe Jocelyn (Toddlers)