20 Autumn Nature Study
Integrating Nature: Studying Fall Leaves in the
Have each child bring a bag of autumn leaves back to the class-
room. Keep the bags in a separate area. You will be using the leaves
in many of the following fall leaf activities in the areas of science
and discovery, math, blocks and building, language arts, reading,
writing, dramatic play, art, and music.
Science and Discovery
• In a table or large bin, allow a small group of children to explore
leaves. Provide magnifying glasses for more scientific discovery.
• Encourage children to draw a picture of what they did while
exploring leaves in the discovery area. When you ask what
they’ve drawn, write the children’s verbal responses alongside
their drawings. Certainly it is advisable to ask open-ended ques-
tions about any pictures the children did not explain thoroughly.
Simply point to a picture and say, “Tell me more about this” or
“Can you share more about this?”
• Provide color paddles for children to look through as they dis-
cover the leaves and examine the autumn colors.
• After leaves dry in the table or large bin, let it become a leaf
crunch table. As they crunch the leaves into tinier pieces, the
children can discuss the different sounds and textures leaves
• Include various sizes of leaves for independent comparing and
estimation. Give the children measurement tools, such as rulers
and lengths of string. Ask children what they notice about the
• Model for children how to make a pattern using leaves that are
small and large or have other characteristics. Examples might
be small, large, small, large, and pointy, round, pointy, round.
Use any leaf characteristics in creating an individual autumn
• Allow the children to sort through tubs that include math items
in various colors. Focus on the sorting of autumn colors, such as
red, yellow, orange, and brown. Model for the children how to
sort autumn colors from other colors.
decipher color and other
characteristics is a fine early
math skill to offer in the
Celebrate Nature_4th pages.indd 20 2/18/11 6:24:06 PM