Getting outside and exploring the beautiful fall colors is a great way to enjoy the autumn season. If you are looking for ideas and inspiration for how to study leaves with your kids you are in the right spot.
These fall leaf printables and activities are great for kids of all ages!
Don't get me wrong I love summer, but there is something about the changing of the leaves in the fall and the cool crisp air that the fall season brings.
Autumn is a great time to get outside and do some exploring with your kids.
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The Benefits of a Changing Season
All of these fall printables can be printed off at home and taken outdoors. Observe different leaf shapes, patterns, and colors while enjoying the autumn season together.
As the season progresses, activities can be done a second or third time. Each time, your kids will learn new things and make new observations.
Up here in New England, the maple leaves in the wetlands are the first to change color, about a month before the rest of the trees.
Then as the season progresses, the landscape is filled with orange and yellow leaves, and soon you forget what it looked like when it was mostly green!
Fun Fall Activities
This post is broken down into several different activities all with a fall leaf theme. You can use these as fun weekend activities or as part of a fall leaf unit study.
Free printables for the following activities can be downloaded as pdf files. Check out the end of the post for directions.
For printables found in other blog posts, there will be a link to the post that has access to the downloads.
List of Fall Leaf Activities:
- Fall Leaf Identification Cards
- Leaf Rubbing
- Free Leaf Templates
- Fall Leaf Math Activities
- Leaf Hunts
- Fall Leaf Art
- Leaf Tracing
Age Range for Activities
All of these fun activities can be modified up or down depending on the age of your kids. When teaching your kids science, remember, it's not just about learning facts, but practicing science skills.
Younger children including toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners can do these activities along with older children. You know your kids best, so use the activities that you feel they will enjoy the most.
My goal is to give you ideas so that you can create meaningful experiences with your kids. Hopefully, you will find some fun activities that instill the love of learning science within your kids.
Whether you are celebrating the autumnal equinox with your kids or looking for resources for a fall leaf unit study. Sometimes the simplest ideas allow kids to be the most creative.
Fall Leaf Identification Cards
Designed with little learners in mind, these leaf cards can be printed off then used as a learning resource. As you find leaves outside or in books, use the cards to reinforce the name and shape of the leaves.
The cards include printable pictures of an orange maple leaf, reddish brown oak leaf, yellow beech leaf, and a yellow aspen leaf. When you head outside together, see if you can find real leaves that look like the pictures.
Then hunt for different color leaves of the same type of leaf. In a small patch of backyard, you maybe able to find several different sized maple leaves all with unique color patterns.
Even brown leaves have a variety of tones and leaf patterns for kids to observe.
Oak leaves are another great example of a tree species where each one has different leaves.
White oak trees, red oaks, and swamp oaks will all have different shaped leaves along with fall leaves of varying colors.
To create a matching game for your young kids, print off two sets of the images of the fall leaves. Then flip them over and scramble them to create an easy paper based matching game.
How to Adapt for Older Children
If you have older kids, use these leaf cards as a starting point for them to create their own using real leaves they find outside. Bring along a camera and a field guide on your next nature walk.
As you explore the outdoors, your kids can take photos with a camera of different species of leaves they find outside. Then, using a tree pocket guide, they can create matching word cards.
As a fun game, they can then match the leaves to the correct species written on the name cards. Bonus if they include the scientific name along with the common name!
If they clip the cards together, they can take it along with them on hikes as their own handmade pocket chart.
Honestly, as an adult I would enjoy doing this activity! Yes, I am one of those people who walks two feet then stops again to observe something amazing I found.
Our nature walks don't involve that much walking, rather observing and picture taking.
But really, exploring the outdoors and learning about nature really has no age limit. While your kids are collecting leaves, pick a few of your own and make your own set of leaf cards. Kids love sharing experiences with you.
Leaf Rubbing Nature Journaling
If you haven't started nature journaling with your kids I highly recommend it! It is one of the easiest ways to learn and explore science. With this art style entry, kids can make their own leaf rubbings.
The first step is to head outside and find some real fall leaves. Once the fall season is in full swing, you should be able to find a new variety of leaf every week.
For the best leaf rubbing, use a leaf with ridges or bumped up veining.
Flat leaves with little to no raised textures will not create as detailed as an image as raised leaves. However, exploring and trying out different types is a wonderful learning opportunity!
Encourage your kids to try out different types of leaves then discuss why some worked better than others.
Sometimes it is best to let kids figure it out on their own without giving them all of the information up front.
Directions can be found on the printable leaf rubbing worksheet. Only a few supplies are needed including fresh leaves, crayons, and the printable.
In preparation, print off the printable on regular printer paper or cardstock. Another option is to have kids create leaf rubbings directly into a blank nature notebook.
Very young children will need some guidance to learn how to hold the crayon. It may take a few tries for them to get the hang of it, but the look on their face is priceless when they see the outline of the leaf on the page. Pure leaf magic!
Printable Fall Leaves
If you are looking for leaf outlines for fall themed crafts, these coloring pages can be printed off then used with your kids.
Young children can color, then cut out the simple leaf shape of the beech leaves. Older children can practice fine motor skills by cutting out the maple and oak leaf outlines.
I have found that these kid safety scissors will cut through cardstock along with these scissors for older kids. I know scissors seem like a basic supply and they are, but the right brand makes all the difference!
Sometimes, using a fall leaf template is helpful when crafting with kids. A simple art project such as a fall tree filled with colorful leaves would be a fun way to celebrate the autumn season with your kids.
All six of the free printable leaf templates can be found in the linked previous blog post. DIY fall crafts always make the best fall decorations.
There is something about hanging up your kid's artwork that gives them a sense of pride every time they pass it!
Observing Leaves Nature Journal
Another nature journal printable involves making observations of fall leaves. Head outside together to hunt for colorful fall leaves. This time bring along a magnifying glass or field microscope.
This small field microscope is great for kids and small enough to take with you on a nature walk or hike.
Kids can stop and make sketches of the leaves they find outside. Bring along some crayons, colored pencils, or watercolor paints.
If you are doing this with older children, they can look up the type of leaf in a field guide such as the Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-ups. A beautifully illustrated guide book about trees for children.
Many kids benefit from using tangible items when learning math. Head outside and collect some fall leaves together. Real leaves found outdoors make wonderful math manipulatives.
Kids can also analyze the leaves they collected. Data collection, graphing, and interpenetrating data are all important science skills.
There are endless ways to integrate math with a leaf hunt.
If you have a young child they can sort then count the leaves. You can even arrange real leaves into a pictograph on the ground. Graphing is such a fun way to integrate math into a science lesson!
Fall Leaf Art
If you've read any of my other art posts then you how much I love using watercolor paint and watercolor pencils when doing art projects with kids. There is just something so special about using these official supplies.
This final art project is super simple and a great way to enjoy being outside this autumn together. Simply find a few of your favorite colorful leaves and experiment with creating your own watercolor fall leaves.
There really is no messing up. Kids can add more color to blend and change the look of their art work. I made the image above, but even my toddler loves using watercolor paint.
Remember art and learning is all about the process and not always about the end result!
There are so many ways to use leaves as learning tools. Leaf tracing is a fun way to to observe the different shapes and sizes of fall leaves.
We have many large oak trees on our property and with a quick search, I was able to find so many different shaped oak leaves. No two leaves were exactly the same.
Kids of all ages can do this activity, but it is especially beneficial for younger kids. Toddlers and preschoolers can practice fine motor skills along with logic.
If you have ever observed a toddler trying out something new, it can take them time to problem solve and figure out how to get a task done.
You can even take it one step further and color in the leaf outlines or cut them out. DIY paper leaf garland can be made out of the leaves that they trace.
My little one, enjoyed coloring in the outlines with his favorite colors using crayons.
Additional Leaf Themed Activities
These ideas and just the beginning of your adventure into learning about fall leaves. As the fall season goes on, try out a few additional activities with your kids.
- Read a few book about trees, The Giving Tree is a classic
- Use a field guide to identify trees and their leaves
- Head out for a drive on an overcast or rainy day to observe the colorful fall foliage
Hopefully, these free fall leaf printables and activities gave you some ideas an inspiration on how you can learn about leaves with your children.
Make sure to leave a comment below if you try out any of these activities. I love hearing from you!
How do you learn about fall leaves with your kids? Let us know in the comments below!
These sheets were created by Nature Inspired Learning and are for personal use only for your home or classroom. All of these fall leaf printables are for non-commercial use. See full disclosure. Have questions, send me an email at julie (at) natureinspiredlearning (dot) com