Crunchy leaf science and math in preschool

Crunchy leaf science and math in preschool

The trees in my back yard are all starting to change colors. I live in the middle of the woods so finding an ample supply of fall leaves is not a problem…

Fall leaves lend themselves to wonderful opportunities for scientific discovery. For every science activity, I like to start with a question…

How long does it take for the leaves to get crunchy?

Go outside and gather a bag full of leaves. Seal them in a baggy at first to keep them from drying out too quickly…

As young children observe the changes, you can help them build new vocabulary and record their observations.

These leaves have been off of the tree for 1 day. The leaves are soft and pliable.

These leaves have been off the tree for two days. They are starting to curl up around the edges.

These leaves have been off the tree for three days. They are starting to get dry and stiff.

These leaves have been off the tree for four days or more. They are starting to turn brown and crunchy.

Put all the fresh leaves on the first tray. As the leaves begin to change, have the children move them to another tray.

Integrate the study of leaves into other content areas….

  • Literacy: Let the children keep a Leaf Journal to record their observations. They can draw pictures of the changing leaves and mark the number of days it takes the leaves to get crunchy.
  • Creative Art: Set out some glue, crayons, paper, and leaves for the children to create their own leaf pictures.
  • Sensory: Place the extra leaves in a tub for further exploration!

  • Math: Invite the children to sort leaves by color or shape or size.


  • izzy Posted October 18, 2010 3:22 pm

    I like all the ideas!!! Especially the documenting idea! And the leaves are so pretty! (The reason why i love using nature for lessons so much too)


    • Deborah J. Stewart Posted October 18, 2010 3:44 pm

      I just loved gathering up the leaves – they were so pretty and all the while I was thinking of all the ideas we could do in the classroom.

  • Scott Posted October 18, 2010 5:39 pm

    Great ideas, Deborah, as always.

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