We love autumn! Here are our favorite activities for learning through play for this time of year! This post includes 15 autumn leaf activities for preschoolers and toddlers. Most play ideas can also be adapted for kindergarteners as well.
Fall Tree Art Project for Preschoolers & Toddlers
Here is a simple way to use leftover materials to make a simple fall craft for your little ones.
- One paper bag
- 4+ coffee filters
- Glue stick
- Do A Dot Paint or Markers (Red, Orange, Yellow)
- Cut the bag to look like a tree. See below for an example.
- Twist the top cuts to become four branches for the tree.
- Place the bag to the side, and flatten the 4+ coffee filters into one pile.
- Then using markers or Do a Dot paint, cover the entire filter paper with ink. By layering the filters, the ink will bleed into two or more at a time.
- Dry the coffee filters.
- Then, using glue, attach the colorful filters onto the tree.
- For a more upright tree, glue the finished tree onto construction paper.
Eric Carle Painting Leaves Craft Idea for Fall Fun
We love painting like Eric Carle. Please see our post with dozens of our favorite projects to do after reading his books.
For this activity, we used Eric Carle painting techniques to make colorful leaves after reading The Leaf Thief. These can also be used to count, create a wreath, or even hang around the room as decoration. We use them in sensory bins as well. We did a similar project with our Under Water Counting Unit and made 50 fish with this idea.
- Paint (red, orange, yellow)
- Various paint brushes
- White paper
- Laminating pouches
- Laminating machine
- Optional- Cricut machine (saves time if you are making a large number of leaves)
- Use different types of paint brushes and mix the colors on construction paper, covering the entire page.
- Let the paper dry completely. (If it is wet, it will ooze out of the laminating machine.)
- Place your art into a laminating pouch and laminate.
- Cut out in desired leaf shapes. (You can redraw the figures, we found it easier to do the design last, especially when using the Cricut machine.)
We LOVE Eric Carle painting techniques, here is a post I wrote about Eric Carle Activities.
Leaf Stamping Painting Project for Fall Learning:
We made a paper tree in our house and created the leaves from construction paper and using stamps from sponges. See examples below for more information.
- Thin sponges
- Sharp scissors
- Paint (yellow, red, orange)
- Paper plate or reusable paint tray
- Construction paper
- Paper bag
- Cut a leaf shape out of the sponge.
- Fill a plate or reusable paint tray with red, yellow, and orange.
- Stamp leaves onto construction paper.
- See the rainforest craft idea for the finished wall tree project. Click here for that post.
Tissue Paper Fall Tree Craft for Children
This simple craft will help fine motor skills as kids pick up tissue paper squares and place them on their paper tree with glue. The kindergartners I worked with years ago loved this project. My toddler loved blowing the tissue paper on the floor and my preschooler enjoyed crumpling the paper the most.
Using a glue stick, have kids draw a tree trunk and roots. Then place brown tissue paper on the glue. Then make branches for the tree using the glue stick and more brown tissue paper. Lastly, fill in the top part of the paper with more glue and attach yellow, orange, and red/pink tissue paper squares to make fall leaves on the tree.
Tissue Paper Window Art
Try letting your kids fill a laminating pouch with yellow, orange, and brown tissue paper squares; once the pouch is filled, laminate the paper. Then, using a permanent marker or expo marker (if you don’t want an outline), draw leaves around the cooled laminated sheet. Lastly, cut out along the lines. Attach to windows, glass doors, or just around the room. Another idea is to create a tree on the wall and use these as the leaves on the tree. See my rainforest tree idea for more examples of how this could work.
Materials for This Autumn Leaf Activity for Preschoolers:
- Laminating machine
- Laminating pouch 8×11 (3mm thickness)
- Tissue paper (yellow, red, orange, brown)
- Permanent or expo marker
- Tape (optional for hanging)
Another way to attach this is to use a hole punch and string.
Autumn Carousel Sensory Bin for hours of fun for Preschoolers
I placed different fall-themed materials in Learning Resources carousel containers. My kids would grab this resource every morning and start playing. I have seen them make farms, vet clinics, and apple tree orchards from these materials. Their creativity has been evolving as the days go on.
We also LOVE the fall sensory kit from Young, Wild, and Friedman. The materials in last years kit, we still use now.
- Farm animal figurines
- Gem apples, leaves, and other shapes
- Tools; magnetic wand, mini tongs, shovel, sift, scoops
- Magnetic letters (to spell out farm animal names)
- Fabric leaves
Nature Exploration Leaf & Seed Hunt
We went for a walk with a basket and magnifying glasses. The kids collected different shapes, sizes, and textures of leaves and seeds from our walk. We brought them inside to have a closer look. We counted, sorted, measured, and weighed the findings. The kids asked to plant some seeds, so we will see what happens next with these seedings.
Leaf Comparison Center for Elementary Students
The kids looked for similarities and differences between the leaves. We also talked about textures, colors, and other attributes of the various types of leaves.
Autumn Scavenger Hunt for ABC Leaves
I printed, laminated, and cut out the ABC leaves I made on Canva.com. Then I hid the leaves around the house for my kids to find. Cutting with the Cricut machine can save time. It was just easier for me today to print and use them this way. But usually, I prefer using the Cricut machine for cutting out items like this.
See my other letter recognition activities for more examples.
Click here for this FREE resource!
Fall Leaves ABC Matching Activity for Preschoolers & Kindergartners
I made ABC leaves on Canva.com. After the scavenger hunt was finished, the kids and I worked together to find the matching uppercase and lowercase letters.
Farmer in the Fall Sensory Pretend Play Activity
After reading The Old Truck, my kids and I made a sensory bin together to show what farmers do in their fields. Next, we added autumn sensory items to show how the harvest changes in the fall.
- Mini Tuff Tray or sensory bin
- Green, yellow, red, and orange sensory filler materials (corn, lentils, chickpeas, rice painted)
- Wheels, lego pieces, scoops, cups, mini farming tools
- Read the book The Old Truck by Jarrett & Jerome Pumphrey.
- Gather materials needed to make a field of crops and a truck.
- Together complete the field of crops.
- Then, make a truck, adding wheels and a window, lastly.
- Have fun and play- we added farm animals and magnetic words for extra fun.
Counting Leaf Activity for Preschool & Kindergarten Math Fun
I made another set of leaves on canva.com, this time inserting numbers 1-30 on the leaves. After printing, laminating, and cutting out these leaves, the kids could make a number line with the leaves, practice counting 1-30, and tried putting the numbers in order.
To download these number leaves please visit my TPT page here.
Growing Patterns with Fall Leaves for Early Education Math
I placed an ABC pattern on the mat for my preschooler to try and match and then continue forming. She used gem, paper, and fabric leaves for this activity.
Finding Symmetry in Nature with Autumn Leaves for Kids
My children loved painting leaves with this simple craft. I did a mini-lesson with my preschooler to explain symmetry.
Materials for this Autumn Leaf Activity for Preschoolers:
- Paint (green, yellow, red, and orange)
- Construction paper (red, yellow, orange, green, and white)
Tip: When the paint dries, use a marker and cut out leaves.
- Cut paper into four equal pieces; I also folded the pieces in half to show the line of symmetry before kids added paint.
- Add paint to make a leaf design.
- Fold in half and press lightly down.
- Open to reveal symmetrical leaf design.
Read Aloud Best Autumn-Themed Books
My kids have loved the new books about Autumn, leaves, apple trees, and acorns. Here is a list of our favorite ones.
Amazon Products to help complete these autumn leaf activities
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Thank you for visiting Live Learn Literacy!
Hopefully you found this post helpful. Please view more posts for additional ideas. Thanks again- Chrissy