Fall leaves in bright shades of orange, yellow, and red transforming our trees mark the change in seasons. Long before children can read a calendar or understand the mystifying concept of daylight savings time, kids notice the changing leaves.
The fact that leaves are a sensory treat for the eyes, ears, and fingers is just a bonus. This story time encourages kids to use their senses to explore Fall and its brilliant leaves with fun books and activities. Make sure to also check out the other Fall Leaf ideas included at the end!
Fall Leaves Preschool Story Time
Note: Our story times always have the same parts; We start with a hello song. Next, I read 2-3 books about a topic with a rhyme/song and group activity that works on a developmental goal in between each book. We end with a goodbye song and then head to the table. At the table there is an invitation of some sort that works on another one of the developmental skills they are building. These elements are all listed below so you can move them around into whatever order works for you!
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Children’s Books about Fall Leaves
Featured Book: Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
This is the Virtual Book Club for Kids book for the week! Lois Ehlert’s gorgeous leaf illustrations are the highlight of this one for me. Their colors burst off the page.
More Books about Fall Leaves
Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka
Bears are gathering nuts, Geese are hibernating, and Squirrels are flying South in this mixed up and hilarious tale about Fall. Kids will laugh out loud at the outrageous contradictions held within these pages. They will lean forward eager to catch the next oops and explain things right again. Raszka shows how well he understands his young audience with this perfect Fall read aloud.
We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger
Based on the song “Going on a Bear Hunt” this Fall twist on a classic makes for a fun read aloud. Filled with Fall colors and repetitive language the illustrations and words will draw in young readers for a playful romp in the woods and leave them eager to go on their own leaf hunt.
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson
Sweet Fletcher the fox is worried. His favorite tree is losing leaves and despite his best efforts he can’t make it stop. None of the other animals share Fletcher’s concerns, in fact they seem delighted. It isn’t until all the leaves are gone and the seasons truly change that Fletcher comes to see his tree in a whole new and beautiful way. The muted pastel drawings make this Fall story seem more whimsical and dream like than most bright, bold stories of the season. This choice makes Fletcher ever more endearing and his Fall like world more akin to the Winter that is drawing it in. A warm and gentle story about Fall, friendship, and childhood discoveries.
Songs about Fall Leaves
Tune of row row row your boat
Leaves leaves leaves will fall (stand up and sway)
Gently all around
Falling left falling right (arms move left and right with fluttering fingers)
Fluttering to the ground. (flow to the ground)
Group Activity about Fall Leaves: Leaf Sorting
You will need at least one leaf per child. It is best if you can use the real thing. Try to gather a collection of leaves that vary in size, shape and color. If you’re doing this at home or with a classroom of kids, consider including them in the leaf gathering before you do this story time together.
Pass out a leaf (or two) to each child. Give them a minute to investigate.
Encourage them to explore the leaf with their senses by modeling, describing what you are doing, and asking a couple of questions. For example, you could say “I’m seeing that my leaf is a lovely deep red color” or “What does your leaf feel like between your fingers?”
Introduce Sorting Activity
Explain that everyone has a leaf and that they are all different. Today you are going to work on sorting your leaves.
Depending on what you gathered, be prepared to sort by size, shape or some other category. It is helpful to make some visual cue indicating the categories. For example, if you are sorting by size. Have an outline of a really big leaf and a really little leaf with the words BIG and SMALL printed out will aid the sorting process.
Introduce the sorting categories and show the example visuals. Next, use your leaf as an example. You could say, “My leaf is tiny. It fits inside my hand and looks like a baby leaf. I am going to put it in the SMALL pile”
Have the kids each take a turn putting their leaf where they think it should go.
Once all of the fall leaves are sorted you might want to work together to count and see while category has the most and which has the least. For example, “let’s count together and see how many BIG leaves we have.”
If you are doing this at home or in a classroom, I encourage you to let your kids know that you will be putting the leaves in specific spot so they can explore them more later. For example, you could say “we’re going to set these aside right now, but you can investigate them some more on the science table after our story time.”
The Goodbye Train is Leaving. (Watch on YouTube) from Jbrary
Fall Leaves Activity for After Story Time: Cooperative Tree
Cooperative Fall Tree Art
Print out a copy of the FREE leaf printable for each student. I encourage you to use tag board or cardstock to make the leaves more durable.
Put the leaves on the table with coloring supplies and scissors.
Prepare a Fall Tree. Take brown construction paper or packaging paper and twist it to make a 3D trunk in the corner of a room or around a doorway. Have tape ready to attach the leaves when they are ready.
Encourage each child to make their leaves colorful and then cut them out. The leaves offer an excellent opportunity to work on cutting rounded edges.
Do not worry about the leaves being Fall colors or perfectly cut out. Neither is the point. However, you could notice some Fall colors as you observe. For instance, “That red you’re using on your leaf reminds me of the deep Red leaf I had during our story time” or “That orange leaf you’re making looks a lot like Fletcher’s leaf in the story.”
For younger children – cut several leaves out for each child and then encourage them to practice cutting one or two leaves before coloring to avoid frustration.
For older children – encourage them to write either something they are thankful for or something they love about Fall on their leaf.
As children are done, invite them to add their leaves to your class, library, or family tree.
- Make individual Fall trees. Brown trunks glued to paper or 3D trees using toilet paper rolls both work to make fun Fall trees.
- Use the leaves for further sorting at your math table or next group time. This time you might have more creative categories, such as rainbow leaves or leaves with purple vs leaves without.
More Fall Leaves Activities
Are you a member of the amazing Weekly Virtual Book Club community on Facebook? It is free and fantastic weekly fun. Together a team of co-hosts (including yours truly) share a favorite children’s book and related activities each week. Join our community of over 6,000 creative parents, teachers, and childcare providers!
These are the activities from our team of co-hosts this week! I can’t wait to see what you do with our bookclub book this week.
The activities are divided by developmental / curriculum area to help you plan!
Leaf Printing from CrArty
Looking for Fall Colors with Viewer from JDaniel4’s Mom
Learning with Fall Leaves from Clare’s Little Tots
Pre-Writing Leaf Themed Activity from The OT Toolbox
Fibonacci Fall LEGO Garden from Planet Smarty Pants
Cinnamon Leaf Cookies from Rainy Day Mum
Fall Leaf Movement Activity from The Educators’ Spin On It
Fall Leaves Printable Play Dough Mat Pack from Play Dough & Popsicles
Foil Leaf Preschool Art from Preschool Powol Packets
Autumn Leaves that Last All Year from Mama Smiles
Leaf Rubbings Watercolor Resist from To Be a Kid Again
Learn About Leaves from Faith and Good Works
The Sugar Science of Autumn Leaves from FrogMom
Leaf Activities for Kids from Look! We’re Learning!
Building a “Real” Family Tree from Extremely Good Parenting
Leaf Science Activities for Kids from iGameMom
Leaf Chromatography STEM Activity: Remove Color from Leaves! from Schooling a Monkey
Why Do Leaves Change Colors? from Slap Dash Mom