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Autumn Outdoor Play Ideas: 101 Things To Do With Leaves

OK, so this post is a little tongue in cheek, but have you seen how many trees there are around the edge of our display area? The grounds here at Wicken completely covered in fallen leaves, making good use of them is all I can think about.

Have a day of fallen-leaf inspired activities, thanks to these craft and games ideas borrowed from Pinterest.

Leafy Creature Collages

There's two ways of approaching this. Firstly search through the leaves and see if any resembles an animal. This is activity is great for exercising visual discrimination skills. Then use coloured pens to draw on faces, and you can even stick on googly eyes. Alternatively, layer the leaves up on a piece of paper to create an animal. Hedgehogs are easy to make but drawing the body onto the paper, then lying the leaves from left to right to fill the space.

Autumnal Colour Chart

Sort through the leaves and group the colours together, then arrange them on a long length of paper to create a colour chart that blends from green, through yellow, to orange, then ending in brown. Sorting the colours helps develop visual perception skills, and the final chart helps children to see how one leaf will change over its lifetime.

Rebuild The Tree

Decorate the top of an empty kitchen roll or toilet roll, by sticking on the leaves, and you can create your own bonsai tree.

Leaf Painting

This works best if you have large leaves that haven't got too crunchy yet. Paint one side of the leaf, then push down onto a piece of paper. This provides a great opportunity to look into the science of the leaf, its structure, and the role that each part of the leaf plays in keeping the tree alive.

Hole Punch The Leaves

You can aim for pretty patterns or just punch at random. This is a great stress reliever, and helps develop hand strength in younger children, which supports fine motor skills.

Leaf Water Slide

Rake up the leaves into a huge pile at the bottom of the slide, and enjoy a leafy splash landing. Get the children to do all the hard work raking the leaves back into a pile, as this sort of light gardening work is useful for exercising gross motor skills, bilateral co-ordination, and working the large muscle groups.

Ghostly Leaves

In preparation for Halloween, you can make your own decorations. Paint the leaves white and draw on scary eyes and grimaces, then hang from your ceiling with a piece of string.

Outdoor Maths Lesson

Whenever you have a lot of something, you have the perfect opportunity for an impromptu maths lesson. Younger children (aged 6 years and under) can sort the leaves by colour, size and shape. This is an opportunity to learn about comparisons like bigger and smaller, darker and lighter, longer and shorter. Older children can use these grouping to create bar chart graphs, or as physical representations of addition and multiplication sums.

So wrap up warm, and spend a sunny Autumn morning gathering leaves, before snuggling up indoors for an afternoon of crafts and games.

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