Which Leaf? A Learning With Nature Activity

Which Leaf?  A Learning with Nature Activity

Hi!  I recently did this activity with my children and thought I would share it with you…

When my children and I are out walking during the fall, it’s a compulsion for them to bring home a collection of leaves (okay, so I might bring home a few myself).  We preserve some and admire the variety of colors for a while.

While the colorful maple leaves have all gone by and have been raked up around our neighborhood, there are still plenty of oak leaves hanging around.  They have all browned at this point but my children still admire them and, yes, collected a handful to bring home.  They were fascinated with just how many different types of oak we have around here.

I had spread the collection out so that we could identify them and as I was thinking about returning them to nature another learning opportunity occurred to me.  I have one reluctant writer and an emergent writer/speller but I knew I could motivate them to write by focusing on nature and by trying to stump each other.

I started by reading Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins, a great introduction to the variety of leaves to be found.  It is written for preschool-age children but I love the descriptive language it includes.  There are phrases like “so thin and fine…they look like smoke” and “leaves shaped like paddles”.  It’s a great primer for this activity.

With all the oak leaves spread out I asked my children to secretly choose one leaf (but leave it in its place), look closely at it’s texture, shape, distinguishing marks, etc., and write all the descriptive words and/or phrases they could think of about their leaf.  Each child then read his/her descriptions one by one and the others tried to pick out which leaf it is (during the second round of playing we decided to remove any leaves that could be eliminated after each description).  Since all of the leaves were brown, color would not be a giveaway.

We made a quick video for you…

They enjoyed the activity so much they did it over and over, each time getting better at coming up with creative clues.  It’s a fun way to practice looking closely and describing what you see.

Thanks for stopping by!


P.S. It may help to have a printable of parts of a leaf available for your child to refer to.


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