Finally, the beautiful autumn has revealed its full glory 👏 . It is such a perfect time to spend with children and embrace the diversity of nature - exploring the vast differences between leaves, their colour, shape and edges.
Let me share step-by-step what we did. If you have not already been outdoors with your children and haven’t yet embarked on the journey of leaf exploration – I hope this will encourage you to do so!
Step 1 – Before The Walk
To make this more interesting for children and me, I thought of turning the leaf exploration into a game. It avoids any potential conflicts and makes the exploration random so there is no chance to pick the “easiest” or “preferred” leaf.
So I went online to search for leaf types. I wanted to find something that shows a variety of leaves on one page and sticks to the same style. It proved to be harder than I initially thought. But eventually I dug up some research material (yeah, I got carried away! 😜) However, to make things simple for you guys, I made this printable and uploaded it on Pinterest. You can grab it here.
Now just cut the leaves one-by-one.
Tip: For this game to work, you must find a park or a forest with different kinds of trees. We are very blessed with that as Latvia (our home country) is amongst the greenest countries in the whole world. Also, we live just nearby a beautiful park with gazillions of trees.
Step 2 – Introducing the Game
As with every game, the ground rules have to be set and clear for everyone. How else are you going to succeed? 😊
I introduced my children with the types of leaf edges from the drawings I cut earlier. I showed an example of the most basic leaf type – a very smooth lilac leaf.
So we were ready to start! I turned all the sheets around, mixed them carefully and gave the children to pick two each.
I must say that I am not an expert in leaves by no means!
This was something very new to me too as I went together with my children and participated in the game. I want to encourage you too – even if you do not know all the answers, do not be afraid to find them together with your children. It will be a very valuable lesson to show that even adults do not know all the answers in the world, but it does not stop us from exploring. Even if it is as simple as throwing a question in the air!
The journey is more important than the destination.
Since I am not an expert in leaves, I am not sure if we found all the right ones, but we sure learned about the vast diversity of nature.
Step 3 – Game Summary
After an hour or so we returned to the play area. Our little brother’s prams were full of leaves and we started to group them on the pavement tiles. We used the tiles as a grid to organise the leaves better.
As you see we could not find the leaf number 9… however we found a workaround to that! All the shrivelled tree leaves looked very much like it. Does that count? 😋
Make sure you have the best of what the autumn can give. It is wonderful! Even if you do not have the time to explore the variety of leaves – just go for a walk and enjoy the fresh breeze, changing trees and the beauty of nature around us.