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Collecting Leaves

 Posted by on September 18, 2012
Sep 182012

The Virtual Book Club for Kids is featuring books by Lois Ehlert this month. When we read Leaf Man, Aiden really wanted to make his own. That meant we had to go outside and choose some leaves for our project. Collecting leaves proved to an adventure in itself, and I wanted to share with you our experience.

Collecting Leaves: a Preschool Learning Experience

The plan was to take a walk around the neighborhood and pick up some leaves. We took a small bucket as I didn’t really expect to find a ton of great leaves. Most of the leaves we had seen on our previous walks were very similar. We also took the stroller. Aiden will walk for a good while, but he usually asks to be carried when it’s time to turn around {it doesn’t really matter the distance; it’s something about the turn around…he doesn’t want to turn around}.

We crossed the street and saw this.


A patch of trees that I had forgotten about. We saw quite a few leaves on the ground, so I though we would start looking there for some to take with us.

We spent around an hour along this little patch of woods. What did we with all of that time?

We collected a lot of leaves and seed pods. Aiden had to pick up nearly every seed pod he saw.

seed pods and leaves

Examine Textures

The seed pods were fuzzy and soft.

Touch the pine needles.

pine needles

Fresh, living pine needles feel different than dry pine needles. Notice the color differences.

dry pine needles

Touch rocks. Are they rough or smooth? Are they warm or cold? Are all the rocks the same temperature? Why?


Shaking the seed pods produces a rattling sound. Crunch, crunch is the sound of leaves under our feet. Hear the wind blowing through the trees. Listen to the birds. What other sounds can you notice?


Make Observations

When collecting leaves, we noticed many of the leaves had these little bumps on them. Have you seed these before?

plant galls

They are called plant galls. Many plant galls occur when an insect lays its eggs in the leaf. The leaf is stimulated to grow abnormally around the insect. The plant gall provides a home for the insect to eat, lay eggs, and develop. Some plant galls are caused by infections. We didn’t want any of these leaves in our collection. I made sure Aiden knew to leave them.

Compare the different leaves you find. Can you see to which trees they belong? We found lots of pinecones – small ones and large ones.


Let your little one explore near plants that are familiar. I had Aiden stay on the outside of the woods. I wasn’t sure what was within the woods and since I had the stroller I didn’t want to trek inside. We only collected things that were already on the ground. Since we were in a neighborhood, I didn’t really limit the amount of seed pods and pinecones that Aiden collected. They were not going to be growing into any new trees along the edge of the woods. When we go hiking in the actual woods, we usually don’t collect anything. Occasionally, we’ll find a really cool something and take it home with us. We take pictures more than anything. We try to teach Aiden to be mindful of living things. Don’t disturb them or hurt them. Appreciate them. This includes not picking every leaf or flower that you see. If the flower is already on the ground, he can pick it up. Otherwise, we leave them for the bees and other insects. {Weeds in our neighborhood are a different story. If someone is going to mow it, you can pick it.}

I found a stick!

The next time you’re out on a nature walk or decide to go collecting leaves, take some time to explore and see what you can learn.

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  10 Responses to “Collecting Leaves”

  1. This post brought back so many good memories. My “little” boy is a senior in high school now. Thanks for sharing. Love the photos!

  2. Wow the trees there are gorgeous. What a wonderful setting for a nature walk. I really need to see if our library has Leaf Man.

    • I never really thought of our trees as being gorgeous. I actually thought they looked a little sad because of the drought. Looking at the picture again, they are quite nice. It’s funny how we take things for granted sometimes. And Leaf Man is really great! We like Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, too. Ever since we’ve made our own leaf scenes, Aiden has requested to read Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf instead of Leaf Man.

  3. adorable activity for an adorable little guy! thanks for sharing at tip toe thru tuesday!

  4. It’s beautiful there. I love this time of year. My kiddos love to go out and explore the leaves and stuff that falls from tree’s, too. I hope we see you at tip-toe thru Tuesday next week.

  5. I just love all of the ways that you explored leaves with your little one! Wonderful pics! Thanks for sharing. :)

  6. Love this post, I am so inspired. I hate to admit this but I don’t think I would have thought to teach my boys about leaving finds in the woods. It is a great and powerful lesson that I would have missed. Thank you. Also, had no idea what plant gall’s were, but now I do :)

    • Thanks, Alisha. I do think it’s okay to take some things some of the time. I just try to be mindful of why we’re taking it. If I left it up to my son, he would pick every flower and take every rock, stick, leaf, and seed he saw.

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