Exploring Leaves Through Play

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me fluttering from the autumn tree.” -Emily Bronte

For many children and adults a natural interest in leaves re-surfaces each and every year when the leaves change colour. Fall is an amazing opportunity to nurture children’s natural curiosity in the environment and outdoor learning. Below are some playful invitations to play and learn that have supported our learners in exploring and making discoveries with leaves in the fall.

Student-led Leaf Experiments

Children are invited to test theories, problem-solve, ask questions, generate and explore possible solutions in student-led experiments.

fall-9Materials: mortar and pestle (I’m thrilled to say these gorgeous granite mortar and pestle’s are from Dollarama), bowls, various leaves, bowls, spoons, and water.


Books That Inspire Creativity with Leaves

We’ve been reading books like Zoe Hall’s, “Fall Leaves Fall” and Lois Elhert’s, “Leaf Man” that inspire innovation and creativity with leaves.

fall-nature-animals3D Leaf creations

fall-12D Leaf Creations

Fall Colours Art and Nature InquiryLiteracy Opportunity: Leaf Man transcient art that inspired story telling and writing

Leaf Identification

Wild Flower Ramblings has these amazing Leaf identification Cards that you can print off, take to the forest, and begin exploring right away. http://wildflowerramblings.com/homeschooling/leaf-identification-cards-free-printable/ 

IMG_0740Nature Walks with Leaf Identification Cards

Transcient Art with Leaves

Picture frames can encourage children to see themselves as artists. Transcient art provides opportunity for children to represent their thinking, design, and adapt their plans.


IMG_1314Outdoor transient art is a simple and fun way to connect the littles with natural loose parts.

fall-7Numeracy Focus: Foam Leaves with Loose Parts

Leaf Printing

Leaf-rubbing and leaf printing encourages children to look closely leaf design and parts of a leaf. We enjoyed this beautiful print on canvas. Attach a stick and twine for a decorative effect.

IMG_0763Leaf Print

Cinnamon Playdough and Foil Leaves

Many children gravitated toward creating and practicing fine-motor skills with cinnamon play dough and foil leaves.fall-13

Cinnamon Play Dough and Foil Leaves(from Dollarama)

Leaf Art with Print-Making Techniques

Many reggio-inspired educators are opposed to product-based art, but still appreciate of art techniques. Below are some simple art provocations that can be explored in open-ended ways. Since learning techniques can lead to newness some of our learners used the foil to make ” a bright sunset”, “a bushy sheep”, “a big storm”, etc. We invite children to create their own ideas. Some children practice with the guide provided until they are confident and then they try something new.  Children have endless ideas as to what a print of tinfoil or a clump of dots could be. It’s never just one thing is it?

fall-14Cork Print Fall Trees
img_8553Foil Print Fall Treesfall-10Paper-Cutter and Stamp Leaves

 Leaf Sensory

With authentic measurement and name recognition materials children have open-ended playful opportunities to experiment, .


Materials: Oats, wood coins with names, stones with names, artificial leaves(from Dollarama), metal scoops(from Dollar Tree), various metal bowls, and measuring spoons.

We would love to hear about what the children in your care have been exploring with regards to leaves.

Kind regards,

Mel J Maxwell


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