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3 min read

With colder weather just around the corner, now is a fantastic time to squeeze in some last minute sensory and messy play outdoors...

...Before we have to bring it in for the winter and deal with the clean up šŸ˜¬

Here's five of our favourite Montessori leaf activities, and while they're a little messy, none of them require any set up:

1.Ā Cut up fallen leavesĀ - For children interested in working on theirĀ scissor skills, leaves offer something fun and new to practice with. You can use then cut leaves for 'leaf confetti' that you can throw around outside or just dump the cut pieces back outside when you're done.Like cutting strips, you can find smaller leaves that can be cut through in one snip, perfect for children new to scissors.

2. Hole punch leavesĀ - hole punch activities are great for strengthening the hands. Just be sure to choose dried out leaves because fresh leaves will get stuck in the hole punch.

The punched leaves are also great for natural confetti.

3. Make leaf fossilsĀ - Press leaves into play dough or clay to make leaf fossils.Ā Once you've made the impression, use a magnifying glass to inspect all the veins and texture of the leaf.

When you're done, you can let the pieces of dough/clay dry out to keep the fossil or just ball up the dough/clay to be used again.

4. Crushing leavesĀ - For older child (3+) crush leaves with a mortar and pestle to explore differences in dryness of leaves, i.e. dry ones will crush easily while freshly fallen ones may not.For younger children, you can practice ripping or crunching the leaves to explore the different feel and texture of the leaves.
5. Make a nature sensory bin - Add some leaves, twigs, acorns, or any other outdoor materials to a bin, along with bowls and scoops.

My children also loved the idea from Busy Toddler, where she adds a little bit of flour to water in the bin. This makes the water murky.

The "search and find" part of the activity makes it even more engaging.
And if you've already raked up all your leaves or there's no leaves on the ground where you are, you can download our leaf printables that we made in the spring:

Leaf Scavenger Hunt

Recommended Age: 18 months - 6 years

For young children, under ~2.5 years old, you can make the hunt more simple by just "hunting" for 1-3 leaves. You might even look for just 1 type of leaf and find as many as you can, rather than different kinds.

We also know that not all leaves might be available in your area so don't stress about completing it.

If you feel your child will feel compelled to complete the hunt, you can cut out each box and glue only the boxes that you know are in your area to another sheet of paper.

Leaf Matching

Recommended Age: 2 - 4 years

Cut the leaves in half down the dotted line. For younger children, start with just 2 sets of leaves. For older children, you can offer all 4 sets of leaves.

You can also print the "control sheets" (pages 2 and 4) which shows the leaves whole. This gives your child the chance to check and see if they've done it correctly.

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