Studying leaves during an autumn theme is a given, but have your ever done color sequencing with your preschoolers using autumn leaves? It’s so fun! This post features two autumn leaf activities for preschoolers you have to include in your fall theme lesson plans.
Autumn Leaf Activities for Preschoolers that Teach Color Sequencing!
Are the trees changing colors yet where you live? Some of the maples have just barely started changing colors, and as I walk in the evenings with my husband I breathe deeply waiting for the day when it smells like fall. You know that smell. I can already tell the earth is tilting differently as the light is starting to feel different, too.
But the colors of fall are simply remarkable, which is why I include autumn leaf activities for preschoolers a part of my lesson plans every year.
And even though we tend to think of autumn colors in reds, oranges, yellows, and browns, if you look hard enough, you can find autumn leaves in every color.
Autumn Leaf Activities for Preschoolers
I have lots of autumn printables for preschoolers. But nothing replaces the natural learning that takes place when you use the outdoors as your classroom in autumn.
Your preschooler is going to love these leaf activities! And, they include teaching color sequencing, which is an important math skill.
Algebra skills, to be exact. That’s right…your preschooler can do algebra!
- leaves in a variety of colors
- small canvas tote bags for collecting leaves
Ideally, the leaves you need for these activities would be natural. Maybe collected from a nature walk along the greenbelt. Small canvas tote bags are perfect for collecting nature items on a fall walk. It’s even better if the preschoolers can use cut up sponges to paint them in vibrant fall colors.
The thing is, sometimes it’s hard to find natural leaves in a “rainbow” of fall colors, so I pull out the silk leaves. I have these sets of silk leaves:
FYI: You can purchase silk leaves from the dollar store, but there won’t be any variety and they won’t last very long. I have learned from years of teaching that in this case, the craft store or Amazon is best.
Autumn Leaf Activity – Collecting Your Leaves
So, here’s the thing. It’s going to be the most fun to collect leaves on a nature walk.
But, if you can’t make it out, (or if you live somewhere warm where the leaves don’t really change colors), it’s also fun to scatter leaves about a room and invite the preschoolers to collect them. Of course, if staying indoors, you might appreciate using silk leaves over natural.
Now that your preschoolers has a “large collection” of brightly colored fall leaves, let’s do some color sequencing.
Autumn Leaf Activity – Sequencing Colors
Your preschoolers will naturally want to sort the leaves. It’s almost like an “If you give a mouse a cookie” kind of situation…
If you give a preschooler a handful of autumn leaves…he will want to sort them into groups of like colors…
And this is fantastic to watch! As your preschooler “plays” by sorting the leaves into color groups, that’s when you want to start talking to your preschooler and engaging him or her verbally.
- How is she sorting the leaves?
- Why did he put this leaf in that pile?
- Where should this leaf go?
- This leaf doesn’t seem to fit in. Now what?
As your preschooler explains his thoughts while sorting, you might end up with something that looks like the following photo.
Talk to your preschooler about the darkest color leaves and the lightest colors, and all the colors in between. Challenge your preschooler to figure out a way to show the darkest colors leaves on one end the lighter leaves on the other. (This is a really similar concept to size sequencing, a measurement skill).
Your preschooler might notice that the leaves all seem to blend into one other. That there are many versions of the “same” colors.
At that point, you can do the next fall leaf activity.
Autumn Leaf Activity – Leaf Color Wheels
Now that your preschoolers has noticed that the colors tend to fade into one another, invite her to help you arrange the leaves in a circle.
Essentially, by doing so, you make a color wheel out of leaves, and it’s really cool!
The Most Important Thing About These Leaf Activities
Don’t spend too much time “teaching”. At least, not directly. Preschool activities like this one are best when the teacher acts more like a facilitator of an activity rather than a director.
This allows your preschoolers to think like scientists.
Part of teaching science, at any grade level is allowing from time to question. Time to explore the “what ifs?”. As a teacher or parent, you don’t want to impose too much and risk losing that curiosity.
I believe there is great value in allowing a child to explore and “do something wrong” and allowing them time to “correct” their mistakes.
Looking for Printable Autumn Activities?
I’ve got you covered! Check out these fun autumn printables for preschoolers!
Looking for more Autumn Activities for Preschoolers?
This page hosts all my BEST autumn activities for preschoolers all in one spot, so you don’t have to go looking for them! Enjoy!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.