Sorting through the colors of fall

Exploring seasonal changes outdoors is a great way to enhance learning within your classroom!

Over the past couple of weeks my neighbor’s leaves, just down the street, have have been changing colors but my leaves have stayed green as ever.  Finally, the leaves on our trees have started to turn colors too and we took full advantage of that today…

Using a Book for Inspiration

We started our day by reading the wonderful children’s book, “We’re going on a Leaf Hunt” by Steve Metzger…

This book follows the traditional story line of “Going on a Bear Hunt” only the children in this simple to read book find different types of trees with different kinds of leaves as they hike through the forest…

Expanding on the Book

After reading our book, I had the children gather around our table to talk about the different colors of paper we had spread around the table and then explained to the children that as we go outside for our own leaf hunt, they need to see if they can find a leaf for each color on our table…

Exploring the Colors of fall Outdoors

And then, just like the children in the book did, we went for a leaf hunt in our own “forest.”…

Each child brought with them a paper bag to collect their leaves….

Collecting Items in Nature

It is so funny to me as to which leaves the children will choose to collect.  Some of the children really do seek out what I would describe as “pretty leaves” and other children will come running up to me all excited about the smallest, curled and dried up, brown leaf on the ground – but since brown was a color on our table – into the bag it went!…

I also collected leaves along our walk.  I would often stop when finding what I happen to consider a “pretty” red, yellow, orange, or green leaf and say, “oooh, I found a nice big red leaf! This often got the children searching around to try and find a red leaf too…

I mean after all, I really hoped to come back to preschool with our bags filled with something besides all brown leaves!  So we continued our hunt all through the forest for leaves of all colors, shapes, and sizes and along the way, the children did begin to pick up leaves of different colors…

Sorting Leaves by Color

When we returned back to our classroom, the children began dumping out their leaves then sorting them onto the colored construction paper by color…

The children did an excellent job sorting the leaves by color.  This was no easy task because the children often had to decide whether a leaf was more orange or more yellow or more red. Not every leaf had fully turned into one complete color…

But soon, all the leaves were sorted by color and we took a few minutes to review and admire all of the colors and the leaves we found…

And then…

Well, I will wait and share in my next post! But Mrs. Courtney took this photo of our “forest” I thought I would just throw in here because I think it is kind of cool…

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By |2018-12-17T14:56:20+00:00October 17th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Brenna October 17, 2012 at 6:47 am - Reply

    Nice way to sort the fall colors with paper. We did something similar when we investigated leaves

  2. Nicky October 17, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

    We recently did a hike with a local nature center, and they gave the kids paint chip cards (the ones with 3 shades of similar colours) with a hole cut out of them. We had to look for leaves that matched (you slide the leaf under the card and see it through the hole). It was great fun hunting for leaves of just the right shade (though my 3 y.o. was more interested in how they smelled!), and made me realise just how many different yellows there are on the ground right now.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      This is an amazing idea Nicky! Marking that down for our next leaf hunt!!

  3. Maro October 17, 2012 at 7:50 am - Reply

    Wonderful activity and I like that you went out and collected the leaves!

  4. Megan @ CoffeeCupsandCrayons October 17, 2012 at 8:35 am - Reply

    So jealous of your beautiful leaves!!! Ours are not as colorful here in Tampa, definitely a little different than when we lived in PA. We came up with a lot of brown on our leaf hunt on Sat. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2012 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      We did foil leaves which I will write about in just a few days – great for brown leaves or green leaves! And also may I suggest you use “Colorstix” by Crayola to color green or brown leaves a new color? The colorstix work wonderfully on the leaves!

      • Megan @ CoffeeCupsandCrayons October 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

        Ooooh! I have never seen the Color Sticks before! I am definitely going to get them for us and our Floridian neices and nephews. Thanks so much for the tip!!! And I can’t wait to see the foil leaves!

  5. Mary October 17, 2012 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this topic, Sorting through the colors of Fall. Fall, Fall, Fall, and all things associated with it. This activity is one of them teaching the children so much about Fall. Best, [email protected]

  6. Trisha October 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Oh you have such a beautiful property/area! It’s neat that preschool is “in the woods.” So jealous:) I love the way you extended this fun book. Thanks for posting this.

  7. Janet T. October 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    Do you regularly read a book at the beginning of your day?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Yes almost always at the beginning of the day but there are times when we read the book after snack instead. It depends on what else we have going on during circletime and how long the children will have to be sitting or sometimes we read both first thing in the morning and after snack to begin the last half of our day:)

  8. Maureen October 18, 2012 at 12:15 am - Reply

    Beautiful sort – that has been a favourite book of ours too. Instead of a colour leaf hunt we went on a leaf matching hunt.
    They really enjoy it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  9. School Sparks Renee October 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    I’m impressed that your children could find leaves in all 5 colors! I like the decision making aspect of the sorting activity, too! Wonderful book recommendations, also. Thanks for sharing this great lesson. Renee

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