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Trees & Leaves

Language & Literacy



We read the story Fall Leaves Fall by Zoe Hall. The children had collected a bunch of leaves from a nature walk we went on, they choose a couple of leaves to glue on their papers and make them into Leaf People/Creatures, just like in the end of the story.

Another great story to read along with this activity is Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert.


Songs, Poems, & Fingerplays:

Rake the Leaves

(Act out as you say it)

I like to rake the leaves

Into a great big hump

Take two steps back

Bend my knees and JUMP!



Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves are 

falling down, falling down

Autumn leaves are 

falling down, all through the town.

Rake them up into a pile

into a pile, into a pile

Rake them up into a pile

Before they blow around.

Literacy : Leave off the words "town", "around" etc. see iff the children can come up with a rhyming word to end each line.


I am a Tall Tree
I am a tall tree,
I reach toward the sky,
Where bright starts twinkle
And clouds float by.
My branches toss this way
As the wild winds blow,
Then they bend forward,
Laden with snow.
When they sway gently,
I like it best.
Then I rock the little birds
To sleep in their nest.
                     Adapted Traditional

Literacy : Have this poem printed out on chart paper and ask a volunteer to point to the words as you read through them and act them out as a group. 

Five Little Leaves

Five little leaves so bright and gay,

Were dancing about on a tree one day

The wind came blowing through the town

(cup hands at mouth and make a big sing song whoosh sound)

Wooosh! (have the kids say it with you)

One little leaf came tumbling down (remove one leaf from the tree)

Four little leaves so bright and gay.... (repeat poem)

One little leaf so bright and gay

Was dancing around on the tree one day,

That one little leaf came tumbling down,

All goooooone! (Shrug shoulders)

Literacy :Five Little Leaves Felt Board Activity-  Cut five leaf shapes and a tree trunk shape from felt.  Invite the children to come up and remove a leaf after each verse.



Tree Talk- During a group time ask children what makes tree's so special?  Talk about how they give us food, air (oxygen) to breath,  they are homes for many animals, we use them for building our homes and for wood to build other things, to make paper products, and they are pretty and fun to climb.  Tell them we will be talking all about trees this week.  Ask them if all the trees look the same?  Is that good or bad?  Have some pictures of different trees to show them.

Tree Poem and Picture
Supplies: Brown and green construction paper, glue, a piece of tag board or a large piece of construction paper.
Directions: Give the kids a bunch of green and brown construction paper, show them how to tear pieces and make a picture using the torn pieces.  Tear a large rectangular piece for the trunk, and longer skinny pieces for branches, and round irregular shape pieces for leaves, have them glue them to the paper to form a tree.  Ask them why they like trees and copy it down and attach it to their tree picture.

Leaf Learning- Ask the kids to tell you what color leaves are.  Are they always green?  When do they change color?  What colors do they change to?  Do all the trees have leaves that change? (no evergreens are always green) Have a variety of leaves for the kids to look at point out how all the trees are alike because they have roots, bark, branches, trunks, leaves, yet they are all different, different sizes, different colors of bark, leaves, different shapes, kind of like people... and isn't it wonderful how we are all the same but different!


Math & Number Concepts

Sort leaves-  Use real leaves or make some different colored leaves out of construction paper.  You could also make up a few leafless trees each labeled a different color for the kids to sort the leaves and place on the correctly labeled tree.



Leaf Creatures-  Have a bunch of leaves out for kids to make leaf creature pictures if they want by gluing them to construction paper.  

Sponge Painted Trees- Give the kids small square sponges clipped to a clothes pin and let them sponge paint leaves all over a tree trunk that is already drawn on a piece of paper.

Leaf Print Pictures
Supplies: A variety of leaves, brown, red, orange, yellow, green paint, construction paper .
Directions: Let the kids dip leaves in the paint and press them on the construction paper to make different leaf prints.

spongeleaves.jpg (153710 bytes)

**This could also be done using sponges cut into leaf shapes!  We had some really pretty gold paint that made these turn out extra neat.  (It is kind of hard to see the gold leaf in the picture it is the one next to the green one.)

Wax Paper Leaves
Supplies: Old crayons a pencil sharpener or a cheese grater, wax paper, iron and ironing board again! (once again great care should be used when using the iron around the children)
Directions: Have kids make crayon shavings with pencil sharpeners or a cheese grater, let them sprinkle them out over the wax paper, iron the paper together and help the kids cut out leaf shapes from them... draw simple leaves for the younger kids right on the wax paper with a crayon for them to cut out, for older kids draw more complex leaves.  ( this is a really good small motor exercise) 

waxleaves.jpg (156470 bytes)

*Another idea is to paint them on the easel with small sponges clipped in a clothes pin. We added the tag so that the children had a place to write their name.  I reinforced the hole with a clear hole reinforcement sticker.  These are pretty hanging in a window.

Family Trees
Supplies: Large sheet of white tag board, small paint rollers (made for kids), or use a fat paintbrush, brown and green paint, black marker.
Directions:  Have the kids roll brown paint on the tag board to make a tree trunk with branches, you may need to demonstrate first, have them roll from the bottom of the trunk first and then turn the roller out to form the different branches.  Then have then dip their hands in green paint and press them on the branches in different places.  When dry on the trunk print "(child's name) family tree" then print the names of the family members on all the leaves.

Craft Activities

Leaf Window Clings
Supplies: Clear vinyl (found in most craft and fabric stores), colored tissue paper- (red, orange, yellow, brown , and green), freezer paper, iron and ironing board. (Take great care to iron in a safe place where children will not have access.)
Directions: Cut leaf shapes from the tissue paper of leaves like maple leaves and oak leaves... draw some simple leaf shapes on folded up tissue paper for the children to cut out,  let the kids arrange some of the leaves you have cut and some of the leaves they have cut on top of a piece of vinyl, cover it with a second sheet of vinyl and smooth out to remove air bubbles.  Cover with a sheet of wax paper waxy side down.  Use a dry iron on medium setting and quickly iron over paper several times.  Move the iron quickly to avoid transferring the wax from the paper to the vinyl.  Allow it to cool a few seconds turn it over and repeat the process (reuse wax paper)  when it is cool cut the edges to be even, rub on clothing to generate static and stick it to a window!
*** Adapted from the Book Preschool Crafts by Janelle Hayes


Dramatic Play

Add small rakes, garden gloves, baskets, and fake leaves to the dramatic play area.


Music & Movement

(Act out Tall Tree Poem)

Leaf Dancing- Play some classical music and invite the children to pretend to be falling leaves and move to the music. Give each child a fake leaf to hold and move as they dance.

Science & Discovery

Tree Parts Experiment-  Discuss with the children the parts if a tree.  If possible have a seedling available to look at the trunk, branches, roots, and leaves.  Explain to the children that the roots have the job of taking in water for the tree, the trunk carries the water to the branches which carry the water to the leaves, so that the leaves can make food for the tree.  Using a piece of celery or a carnation flower you can demonstrate this phenomenon by placing them in a glass of colored water.  The water will move up through  item and the color change will become apparent.

Leaf Identification- Trace a variety of leaves on black construction paper, cut them out and mount them on a piece of tag board. The kids can practice matching the leaves to their shadows. Encourage the children to notice the details in the different leaves. Label shadows with leaf names to promote reading.

Leaf Sorting- Encourage the kids to sort leaves into categories based on size, shape, color, or types of leaf edges (pointy, rounded, etc.)

Blocks & Building

Cover your blocks in fall colored paper to promote more color matching and sorting!

Add a play tree house to the area.

Puzzles, Games & Manipulatives





Dipping Trees- Broccoli and veggie dip.


Bulletin Boards

Other Resources



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