Keeping a toddler busy and active isnâ€™t always a walk in the park. You have to think of fun, creative ideas that are kid-friendly and promote their overall development. Leaf activities are perfect because they combine indoor and outdoor fun, and there are a lot of kid-friendly ideas for your toddler.
Leaf activities include leaf hunting, design bracelets, play counting games, teach them different colors, and create fun wall art. Thereâ€™s so much to do, but the best part is the leaves are readily available. So, itâ€™s easy to tap into your creativity and prepare fun activities for your toddler.
I have had my fair share of leaf games and know a thing or two, although my daughters outgrew the toddler stage years. Iâ€™ll share fun leaf activities that worked for me over the years, so you can keep your toddlers happy while stimulating their development.
Letâ€™s get started.
1. Leaf Hunting
As I mentioned earlier, leaf activities offer indoor and outdoor options. So, why not dress your toddlers in weather-appropriate clothing and go out for a walk?
Or better yet, go on a fun hiking adventure and collect as many leaves as possible. I prefer hiking trips for leaf hunting because hikes are highly beneficial for kids. You can read my full article here to find out why kids should hike.
For leaf hunting, the goal is to find and collect various leaves you’ll bring home for further learning. Ask your kids to point out different colors, sizes, and types and pack them in a zip-lock bag or container.
2. Sort the Leaves by Color
After the leaf-hunting adventure, encourage the kids to play fun color games. You might wonder how this helps your toddler, but sorting the leaves by color improves their fine motor skills and concentration. Additionally, an article in Psychology Today states that color games train kids to focus and develop language and socio-emotional skills.
Depending on the color group, ask the little ones to lay out the leaves and label each category. After all, nature provides a wide selection of brown, green, purple, or yellow leaves. Whatâ€™s more, you can join them in creating songs and identifying different colors aloud. Itâ€™s fun!
3. Sort the Leaves by Size
Sorting the leaves by color stimulates their creativity and positively impacts the kidsâ€™ moods. But you can shake things up and ask the kids to sort the leaves by size. They’ll stack the leaves depending on their size and shape, identifying the shape types and lines on the leaves.
This activity covers hand-eye coordination and improves your childâ€™s visual discrimination abilities. If you have more than one kid, divide them into groups and turn the task into a competition. Itâ€™s fun.
4. Play Counting Games
Leaves offer an array of learning opportunities, including mathematical concepts. Furthermore, an article on PennSate University states that children between 3-4 years donâ€™t fully understand concepts like measurement and numbers.
So, it’s only fair to include fun-counting games on your activity list. Ask the kids to count the leaves aloud, and include fun singing games to help them understand the concept of numbers. If your kids still need to grasp the concept of counting fully, lead the games and teach them as you go.
5. Make a Leaf Bracelet
Have you ever heard of leaf or nature bracelets? They’re easy-to-make hand accessories purely made of leaves. So, on your next walk, carry a string and tape for a DIY bracelet. Alternatively, you can pick out leaves and design a bracelet from home.
Not sure how to make one? Check out this article I wrote on how to make leaf bracelets with your kids.
This activity is perfect because it stimulates your childâ€™s creativity and offers an amazing multi-sensory experience. Whatâ€™s more, the kids learn to appreciate nature and its ability to provide various resources.
6. Incorporate Sensory Play
As mentioned in my article about the benefits of sensory books for children, sensory stimulation boosts your child’s brain function and encourages learning. So, for leaf activities, you should incorporate sensory play to improve your toddler’s motor skills and creativity.
Luckily, you only need a little for this activity. First, you’ll create a sensory bin or bowl and fill it with leaves. Next, find several toys and child-friendly objects and hide them inside the bin. The toddlers will then dig into the bin to find all the toys.
Here, they learn about texture, enhance their concentration and problem-solving skills, and engage all their senses. What’s more, the kids can help you design cute sensory bins, including pictures, colors, or the alphabet.
7. Identify Various Leaves by Name
Besides counting and sorting the leaves by color or size, toddlers should also learn the leaves by name. Theyâ€™ll embrace nature appreciation and responsibility, but this activity is also a safety measure. For example, theyâ€™ll identify poisonous, medical, and edible leaves.
Additionally, this activity is a fun way for kids to learn science and find out how fruits, seeds, and trees grow. These lessons will come in handy when your kids transition into formal education.
I have a free leaf hunt activity book. Download it here for 10 activities you can do with your child.
Things Children Will Learn from the Leaf Activities
Leaf activities are great for enhancing your childâ€™s development while keeping them busy. However, the kids also learn important skills and lessons by engaging in these activities.
- Although theyâ€™re still young, leaf activities lay a solid foundation for the kids to develop a sense of self. By running around and rolling in leaves, they become aware of their bodies, learn about texture, and develop the confidence to explore nature.
- Leaf activities are an excellent way to teach your kids about responsibility. Theyâ€™ll learn to clean up after themselves, take care of trees, and be accountable for their play areas.
- Developing your kid’s gross and fine motor skills is a never-ending responsibility. However, initiating fun activities like leaf hunting, coloring, making bracelets, and designing sensory bins will instill a habit of staying active and developing physical strength.
- As mentioned above, your toddler will learn to identify different leaves, including edible leaves and those perfect for medicinal use. After all, most of the food we consume comes mostly from leaves.
- Lastly, you can teach your toddlers basic science topics like parts of a leaf, types of leaves, physical properties, and the life cycle. It might seem like a lot to learn for toddlers, but thereâ€™s always and simple way for kids to understand, such as through songs.
These leaf activities are perfect for toddlers and kids outgrowing the toddler stage. Moreover, they can also engage in leaf drawing activities to help improve their memory. In fact, you can read this article to discover the science behind drawing and memory and why it merges well with leaf activities.