These simple, fun, and virtually free fall activities for toddlers and preschoolers are a great way to help kids explore the world around them and learn about fall, too!
I don’t like winter. Let’s just be clear about that. I grew up in California, and although I’ve been living in Utah for almost 15 years, I still have not gotten used to that mysteriously cold white stuff that shows up every year and makes it hard to drive.
Fall, on the other hand, I LOVE. I love the bright oranges and reds, the crisp mornings, the smells of pumpkin bread and autumn soups and hot cider.
Little Man has been loving fall, too. He’s fascinated by the leaves that are falling off the trees. I love how he tells me not to worry because new ones will grow in the spring. Every time we go outside, he has to stop and look for new leaves on the ground.
In an effort to encourage his curiosity (and to do SOMETHING with the rapidly growing collection of leaves on our kitchen counter), we’ve been using them for all sorts of activities during “Mommy School” time.
Here are some you may enjoy, too!
Five Fun Fall Activities Using Leaves
- Fall Scavenger Hunt – We LOVE scavenger hunts. It’s a great way to give Little Man something to do while we go on walks/bike rides. We bring our list, and a colored pencil We found a great one for fall here, and Little Man enjoyed it so much that he begged to do one every day for a week.
- Categorizing – by color, shape, size…it doesn’t really matter what criteria you use, but it’s great for getting those little brains using their critical thinking skills. I didn’t know if Little Man would really be interested in this one, but he wanted to keep finding new ways to organize them.
- Leaf Rubbings – A classic. We unwrapped crayons, covered the leaves with paper, and watched with amazement as the shapes magically appeared as we rubbed. It was a great opportunity to talk about how leaves have veins that carry nutrients, just like people do. We also talked about the different shapes of the leaves.
- Play Dough Imprints – A similar idea to leaf rubbings, you press the leaves into play dough and see the “fossil” it leaves behind (we like dinosaurs around here, so Little Man liked the reference to dinos). Word of advice: Use fresh leaves, not dried out ones. The dried ones might crumble as you press them into the play dough, leaving you with the awesome task of picking tiny fragments of leaves out of your play dough. Not that we had that problem…
- Negative space painting – To be honest, I wondered if this one was going to be a complete disaster, but it turned out great! Basically, we taped the leaves down on a piece of paper and then used red and yellow paint to brush from the center of the leaves over the edges. We were left with some great silhouettes. It also gave us a chance to talk about color mixing (red+yellow=orange).
BONUS IDEA: Use your leaves as inspiration for making your own watercolor fall leaves. Ours turned out absolutely gorgeous, and it’s a project that kids of ALL ages will enjoy. Even toddlers can do it! Click here for the full activity tutorial.
Want more fall activities for kids? Try these: