Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall Fun: Leaf Explorations!

Hi! I'm Ayn and I am a Ga. Pre-K teacher, serving 4 and 5 year olds in an inclusive setting. I share my classroom adventures on my blog, little illuminations.

Fall has begun here and it's the perfect time to explore nature. We've recently discovered the book, "We're Going On A Leaf Hunt" by Steve Metzger written similarly to the favorite "We're Going On A Bear Hunt".

We enjoy taking nature walks and collecting interesting leaves, acorns, gumballs, pine cones and other natural items along the way. We often bring items back to class to put in our science center for independent exploration, as well as in our art center. 

We measure our leaves, both with standard and non-standard measures. Of course, as a true scientist would do, we hypothesize about what we think our results will be. (This is a great time for me as a teacher to ask questions and try to prompt critical thinking.)  We use math cubes to measure length.

We cover the leaf with pennies and try to guess how many it will take to cover it completely.

We explore the properties of buoyancy. Do leaves sink or float? What if we weight it down with pennies? How many pennies will make the leaf sink?

We explore how the leaves travel through the wind to land in various locations on our playground and recreate the wind with a fan.

On the playground, leaves and natural items are an integral part of our play. 

Gumballs are everywhere this time of year, and feature prominently in our outdoor play. The children often call them "meatballs".  

Sometimes, they are featured in our art, as well. 

In our art center, we make leaf rubbings.

After I saw this idea on Pinterest, we painted the back of leaves and made leaf print paintings.

Some of the kids made nature wreaths with found items.

Sometimes, we take the art materials outside to create with what we discover there.

One of our favorite fall books is "Leaf Man" by Lois Ehlert. 

The "Leaf Man" book often inspires the children to create their own "leaf people".

Leaf explorations are often a great way to help children begin to notice the world that surrounds them.  I get as excited as the kids when I hear, "Hey, Mrs. Ayn, guess what I found?!" They are always excited to share their finds.

There are so many ways to explore the nature that surrounds us. Sometimes, a simple nature walk can lead to so much more! 

Stop by and visit me anytime at or visit the little illuminations fanpage on facebook!


  1. Fantastic ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Loads of great ideas here.
    Thank you!

  3. Thanks for sharing. My PreKer and I read most of the books listed and then went on our leaf hunt and read the books again. I actually learned or relearned about leaves. Will be doing some of the activities later.


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