LEAF ACTIVITIES FOR TOTS
There are so many leaf activities that you can do with your tot. The differences in shapes, sizes, colours and textures inspire great creativity and offer so many opportunities for learning. Whether your tot enjoys arts and crafts, physical play, storytelling, acting or fact-finding, I guarantee that they will enjoy at least one of the leaf ideas I list here. With the slight drop in temperature and showers this last week, you may be happy to know that these activities can be done indoors once you have been on your leaf hunt.
1. Leaf Rubbings
You will need: leaves, white paper and crayons.
Place a leaf (veiny side up) under a sheet of paper.
Rub the crayon over the page pressing firmly.
2. Leaf Painting
You will need: leaves, white paper and paints (non-toxic acrylic or water colour paints).
Paint the veiny side of a leaf.
Press the painted side firmly onto a sheet of paper.
3. Leaf Art
You will need: leaves and loads of imagination.
Arrange the leaves to make a face, a person, or a landscape. Why don’t you create one first and then encourage your tot to have a go? Try using other natural objects like dandelion seeds, daisies or small sticks to help your tot’s ideas grow (pardon the pun)!
4. Leaf Memory Game
You will need: 4-12 different leaves. Try to select leaves that are easy to distinguish from one another.
- Spread the leaves out on a surface for your tot to see. The number of leaves you choose will depend on the age and ability of your tot. Select as you see appropriate.
- Before you start, talk to your child about the leaves using simple descriptive words. You may also name the tree or plant they came from.
- Ask your tot to run to the other side of the room or garden and back whilst you hide a leaf from their view.
- Ask your child which leaf is missing. You may need to help them along with some prompts like “Is the spiky one missing?” “No Mummy, the spiky one is there.” “Where is the heart-shaped one?”
To increase the challenge for older tots, you can also rearrange the leaves at the same time you take one.
5. Leaf Bunting
You will need: leaves, string or thick wool, a large plastic needle, hole punch or some scissors. This activity works best with older tots as it requires a degree of fine motor control and concentration. Note: I used ivy leaves as they don’t rip easily when being handled. Choose the older, bigger ones if you can find any.
Cut a piece of string to at least the length of your arm and tie a large knot at the end.
Thread the string onto the needle.
Pierce the needle through the leaves to make your bunting. If you have not got a needle, you could punch a hole in the leaf to make leaf confetti or cut a small hole in the leaf with scissors before helping your tot thread the string through the hole.
6. Run Leaf Run Game
You will need: Three bundles of leaves (of three different types) and 4 containers. Optional: a timer.
Mix your leaves in a container and place them at one side of your room or garden.
At the opposite end of your room or garden place three empty containers. There will be one container for each leaf type. Place a leaf in front of the container so your tot knows which leaf goes in which container.
Ask your tot to select just one leaf from the bundle of mixed leaves and run an put it in the correct container. Ask them to repeat this one leaf at a time until all the leaves are sorted into the correct containers.
This game can be made more exciting by using a timer. When we played it in our garden, we got pretty tired, so we turned it into a relay. We also had a few red herring leaves that didn’t belong in any container and we pretended that those leaves bit you if you touched picked them up! We were exhausted afterwards, so we sat together in a sunny spot of the garden with a copy of Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert.