The 6 Best Ways to Learn & Play with Leaves

pile of leaves with one red leaf on top

There are so many ways to get outside and enjoy the changing leaves – the colors and textures can be so much fun! Of course, who doesn’t love raking leaves into a big pile and jumping in them? But when you’re finally done picking the remaining leaves out of hair and wiping them off of red-cheeked faces, what next? How can you play with leaves AND learn?

Sorting Leaves

Collect lots of different leaves, then find different ways to sort them:

1. Can you sort leaves by shape? Use a tree identification guide to figure out what tree your leaf came from.

2. Can you sort them by size? Find items around the preschool that are similar sizes and compare: is this leaf as long as a crayon or as wide as a mug?

3. Can you sort them by color? Create a rainbow out of colorful leaves and take a picture to remember.


Using Leaves for Art

Leaves can also be used as temporary art tools:

4. Paint one side of a leaf, then press it down on paper to see what sort of print it makes – can you see the veins of the leaf in your print?

5. Leaves can also be used as stencils: set a leaf on a piece of paper, and paint over it. Lift up the leaf to see the shape it left.

6. Leaves can be good for scissor practice, as well. Take safety scissors outside with you to the preschool playground and you don’t even have to clean up the cut scraps!


Just because the weather is cooling off doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up inside the classroom. Bundle up and head outside to the outdoor classroom!


Use The Adventurous Child Art Table as a basis for leaf exploration! The Art Table provides the perfect surface for examining, sorting, painting, cutting etc. and can be rinsed off with water for easy cleanup!

Art Table

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We strive to create fun and informative content that will help young children learn and grow. However, it's important to keep in mind that all activities should be performed under the supervision of an adult. The Adventurous Child website is intended to serve as a reference and guidance for educational activities, and it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent, guardian, and/or educator to determine the appropriateness of the activity for their child’s age and maturity level. Thank you for your understanding and support!