We’re going on a Leaf Hunt: Autumn Activities with Leaves

Autumn has arrived and the beauty of it certainly gives us something to smile about! Watching the leaves steadily change colour, jumping in the crunchy ones when they’ve fallen to the ground and discovering shiny conkers – there are so many things to enjoy in this season. Officially, autumn equinox is 22 September and according to the National Trust, autumn colour often reaches its peak from mid-late October.

It’s a wonderful season for children to discover and connect to our natural environment. And with the abundance of free art materials falling from the trees, it’s the perfect time to get outside and see what treasures we can find!

Going on a leaf hunt gives children the opportunity to observe what autumn looks, feels and even smells like! As well as leaves, children can collect sticks, acorns, conkers and seed pods that they can use for a number of different, fun activities. Below are a few of our favourites:

Leaf Crowns

Become an autumn prince or princess! Measure a strip of card to go around your child’s head and staple/stick it together to make the crown. Spread glue on the outside of the crown and then stick leaves all around it to create the crown peaks.

Leaf Rubbings

Create a beautiful piece of autumn art. Place the leaves, rough side up, under a piece of plain paper. Use the side of a crayon and rub on top of the paper to reveal the pattern of the leaf.

Nature Collage

Toddlers will love this one as there are no rules! By arranging all of their natural treasures onto some plain paper, watch their creativity shine as they create a masterpiece!

Leaf Person / Animal

Arrange the leaves to create a body, head, arms and legs. If you have also collected sticks and seed pods, these make excellent arms, legs and eyes! Another fun alternative is to print out a picture of your child and let them decorate themselves with their natural treasures!

Leaf Rainbow

This is a fun colour sorting activity, arranging the leaves by colour to make a leaf rainbow.

Leaf Printing

Experiment and create colourful pictures by painting the leaves and printing them onto plain paper.

Leaf Wreath

Perfect for hanging on your wall or door (inside!) Using paper plates, cut out the centres, cover the circle that is left with glue and decorate with leaves.

Leaf Sorting

Another fun sorting activity. Together with you child, help them by ordering and arranging the leaves from smallest to biggest.

Jam Jar Tea Light

Save your jam jars and get sticking! Your little ones will enjoy painting the outside of their jar with glue and sticking lots of colourful leaves to it. Place a battery tea light inside and you’ve got a lovely autumn tea light!

Keeping everyone safe:
Keep a close eye on what your little ones are picking up when outside, especially if you’re in a public space. Exploring outside can result in mucky hands so make sure children wash their hands before getting started on their creations.

Books to read and inspire your child:

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert, 1-4 years

‘Leaf Man’ is made up of illustrations made from leaves. In this poetic, original book colourful autumn leaves become ‘Leaf Man’ and take off on a journey.

Leaves by David Ezra Stein, 1-4 years
A simple, but adorable book about a confused little bear experiencing autumn for the first time.

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson, 3+ years

The tale of a happy-go-lucky father's epic journey to make it home in time for Christmas.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, 3+ years

As the leaves fall from his favourite tree, Fletcher the fox worries that something is terribly wrong. He is concerned about nature and wants to understand the changing of the seasons.

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger, 3+ years

A beautifully illustrated story about a lone leaf that doesn't want to let go of the branch (a story of courage).

Find out more:

Beautiful autumn walks.

For more information on why leaves change colour and fall off the trees.

A fantastic way to help children learn about trees is with these printable tree ID guides. They cover all four seasons so youngsters can discover how trees change throughout the year. Use these ID guides to identify leaves, winter twigs, spring blossom and autumn fruits.