Fall is the perfect time of year to teach a leaf preschool theme, and these preschool leaf activities are a sure fire way to get your little learners excited! Even if you live in warmer climates where the leaves don’t change from green to burning red, these free leaves preschool lesson plans are sure to engage and captivate.
Teaching a leaf theme in preschool is a captivating journey into the world of nature’s wonders — how do leaves change colors?
It’s all about diving into the vibrant colors, varied shapes, and textured patterns that leaves bring to our environment.
From exciting leaf hunts and crafts that mimic the autumn foliage to exploring how leaves change as the seasons shift, this theme sparks curiosity and engages preschoolers with the wonder right outside their windows.
Get ready for hands-on exploration, creative art projects, and an opportunity to teach foundational science concepts in a truly enjoyable way. Leaf-themed lessons make learning come alive with the magic of nature – a learning adventure that’s as direct as it is delightful!
Free Leaf Theme Preschool Lesson Plans
Whether you live where leaves fall and make a terribly large mess to clean up, or you need to buy some silk leaves to pretend it’s fall, this preschool leaf theme is sure to help you have a magical time together!
And they’re not just limited to the fall season, either. These leaf lesson plans include a wide range of activities that can be done any time of year!
FAQ About Preschool Leaf Activities
You may have some questions about teaching a leaf theme in preschool. Here are some tips and tricks to building and planning a great leaf theme.
All preschoolers have had some experience with leaves before they ever walk through the door.
They already come to school with some background knowledge of leaves and trees, and since leaves are so common, we can give preschoolers even more experiences to explore them, allowing them to make even more meaningful connections.
My recommendation is to always start off with two things: realia and lesson plans! I have the lesson plans covered in this post, you just have to come up with the realia…that’s the leaves.
You can, of course, use real leaves collected from trees, or you can keep things extra simple and just grab some silk leaves from the dollar store.
Then, play, interact, and play some more! The more hands-on and playful the activities, the more interest develops. Encourage the use of magnifying glasses and science center activities where children can compare, contrast, and make observations.
Leaf Activities for Preschoolers
These leaf activities for preschoolers cover a wide range of content areas, so I’ve arranged them into different areas of topic for you. Math and literacy are included, of course, but be sure to read about the online activities and art activities, too!
Literacy Activities for a Leaves Theme
Uppercase and Lowercase Leaves – Grab some silk leaves from a dollar store and write a set of uppercase and lowercase letters on them. Hide them around the house and invite your preschooler to go on a leaf hunt to locate the matching uppercase and lowercase letters.
Start by using the letters in your child’s name and go from there. After collecting them, throw them in the air and let them fall to the ground. Dance and play in your alphabet leaves!
When the Leaf Blew In – Go to YouTube and listen to the story When the Leaf Blew In by Steve Metzger. Enjoy the funny story that all started with the cow sneezing, “Ach-ooo!”
After listening, ask your preschooler to share the cause and effect events by asking them to retell…”What happened when the pig dove into the bucket? And after the sheep leaped over a barrel?”
This conversation helps children see natural cause and effect. Share cause and effect examples in real life, such as “the ice melted because it was sunny.”
Books About Leaves for Preschoolers
Every theme needs great literature! We hand-selected our favorite leaf books that we love to use in our preschool classroom.
Math and Science Activities for a Leaves Theme
Leaf Color Sequencing – Silk leaves from the dollar store come in lots of different colors. Invite your preschooler to put them in order from lightest to darkest, or from red to brown.
Fall Graphing Game – Grab this fun graphing game that helps to reinforce simple math and uses easy-to-print materials.
Leafy Science Exploration – Head outside on a nature walk looking for leaves of all sizes and other natural materials. Collect them all in a bin and bring them back home.
Set all the items on a table and invite your preschooler to explore and make notes about the items. Use a child-safe magnifying glass if available.
Playful Learning Activities for a Leaves Theme
Imaginative Games – Invite your preschooler to think of a new game. Allow them to make up the rules (within reason) and play it through. Do they want to change any of the game rules after the first play? Model being flexible and thinking outside the box.
Making Mistakes – Pretend to make a mistake, like spilling a box of crayons. Model an appropriate response and model a disproportionate response. Allow your preschooler to try.
Windy Day Leaf Pick-Up – Pile up some silk leaves and then use a blow dryer to scatter them about like the wind. Then say, “Ready, set, go!” and race to pick up the leaves.
Social-Emotional Activities for a Leaves Theme
Gratitude Leaf Garlands – Trace leaves on construction or cardstock paper or grab some silk leaves from the dollar store. Invite your preschooler to cut out the leaves and think of things they’re thankful for. Encourage them to share why they’re thankful for these things.
Sometimes it’s helpful to model gratitude sentences like this: “My ___ makes me happy because ___.”
Using a black marker, write the thankful words or notes on each leaf. Then hot glue or clip the leaves to a piece of yarn or string. Knot the end and wear or display it proudly!
This garland is perfect to use in other themes or holidays, also. Sharing gratitude is always important and helps develop a growth mindset.
Big and Small Problems – Using silk leaves, invite your preschooler to select 3 different sized leaves. Each size represents the size of a problem a preschooler might have: a big problem, a medium-sized problem, and a small problem.
Discuss appropriate responses for each size problem and how to manage said problems with various strategies. Model sharing examples of grown-up problems that are small, medium, and large, and various ways that adults solve and cope with challenging situations.
Just Plain Fun Activities for a Leaves Theme
Leaf Suncatcher – Grab some white coffee filters and use watercolor paint to paint the filters. After they dry, cut them up into pieces and then place them on contact paper to make a suncatcher.
Paper Plate Wreaths – Using paper plates, cut out the center of the plate, and leave the plate border wreath. Paint, decorate, and get creative using silk or real leaves and fall-colored items.
Leaf Painting – Grab some paint and invite your preschooler to make a tree with colorful leaves. Paint the arm brown and stamp it onto white paper. Paint the branches and use your fingertips to paint leaves with various colors.
Get Online Activities for a Leaves Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the book The Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. After reading, invite your preschooler to make their very own leaf man.
Using real or silk leaves, arrange them on a piece of construction paper and encourage them to make a face or body.
The Leaves on the Trees Song – This catchy and colorful song is a great singalong, which is perfect on a nature walk or during learning time.
Autumn is Here – Learn why the leaves change color and why they fall from the trees. This factual video is great for learning a little more science about the season.
Make Your Leaf Theme Even Better!
Here are some great leaf-themed manipulatives and add-ons for your leaf theme! Sometimes adding in additional themed materials can really amplify your theme. We’ve put together a list of some of our must-haves for a leaf theme.
Get Your Free Leaf Preschool Lesson Plans
Use these free preschool lesson plans this fall. They include 16 preschool leaf activities, all of which are almost no prep and are completely free! Grab your copy by clicking the image below.
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.