L is for Leaves
Welcome to Alphabet Sensory Activities! 26 amazing bloggers have gotten together to share a sensory experience based on a letter of the alphabet… think sensory bin, sensory bottle, gross motor outlet, tactile craft or fine motor activity. But these are all guaranteed to be fun!
Every day this month, there will be a new sensory activity you can use with your kiddos. Be sure to mark this page or Pin It! These alphabet-inspired activities are the perfect way to introduce and reinforce the alphabet with your kiddo throughout the year!
You can easily find an alphabet activity to fit the letter you are currently working on or do a new sensory activity every week.
Today, I am presenting the letter L.
L is for Leaves
In most places, colorful leaves are plentiful in Fall. Even here in Mississippi where we are wearing shorts well past Halloween, our leaves turn brilliant shades of color and fall on our lawns.
Visually they are beautiful. They present a range of colors and a variety of shapes.
Tactilely they are soft at first and then grow crunchy the longer they lie around.
Auditory-wise they make a pleasant sound when you swish them around or a big crunch when you jump in a pile.
Leaves are truly a sensory delight.
At Bambini Travel, I talk a lot about learning through adventure. Books and replicas of materials and experiences have value in supporting learning, but to truly experience leaves one has to get outside. We started our L is for Leaves activity by walking outside, watching the leaves fall, and gathering several bags full of different leaves from the ground.
Once we returned home with our leaves, we spread them out and then we did these 3 sensory activities.
Leaf Color Sort
We started exploring the leaves by sorting them by color. Older children might also enjoy sorting them by type of leaf or simply by shape. To do this activity all you need is a pile of leaves in different color. You can also bring a piece of construction paper in each color, but this is optional.
By sorting the leaves together it gave us a chance to feel the leaves with our hands, notice the colors with our eyes, listen to them crumple in our hands. We talked together about what we were seeing, touching, and hearing and I helped by assigning vocabulary where appropriate. For example, color names and texture words like soft, rough, crinkly, smooth, etc.
I hung one of each color up in our play space and then we saved the rest of the leaves for our next activity.
Painted Leaf Collages
For this activity you will need to gather: a large piece of paper | Fall shades of paint | Plates or cups for paint | Paint brushes | Leaves (optional, but it helps if you flatten the leaves out before you use them)
Our twins love the texture of paint, so combining it with our leaf exploration was natural. To prepare, I taped a large piece of paper to a table top and then provided each child with Fall shades of paint, a paint brush, and a huge pile of leaves.
Allow the children to explore how the paint interacts with the leaves. Perhaps they will paint the leaves. Perhaps they will paint the paper and stick leaves onto the paint. (Once dry, the paint acts as a good adhesive)
This is another tactile and visual way to explore the colors and textures of leaves. While they paint, pay attention to what interests them. Perhaps they enjoy the feel of the paint and the leaves. You could comment that "it looks like you are feeling the paint and then the leaf. Do they feel similar or different?" Maybe they are interested in the color. You could point out "You are painting with a bright red that looks just like the color of this leaf!"
Playdo with Natural Materials
For this activity we added some sticks to the leaf exploration. Sticks are one of our favorite things to collect outside right now. If your child is interested in pinecones or acorns or rocks, perhaps you would like to include those.
Prepare a spot for each child. I set up a space with leaves, sticks, a rolling pin, and some homemade playdo.
This exploration is more about exploring the prints that leafs and sticks made in the playdo. Playdo is a wonderful materials for sensory exploration and fine motor development. After your child has had some time to explore the different materials and textures in front of them, you may want to demonstrate this for them. Offer to show them how a leaf makes a print. If they are interested, roll out the playdo and then press a leaf into the dough. When you pull away the leaf will leave a print. Help your child notice the shape of the leaf and then perhaps ask what they think the stick will do if they put it in the playdo. We have textured rolling pins (like these) which were also available to offer another comparison.
It is entirely possible that your child will be more interested in breaking the leaves and playdo into tiny pieces or building a boat out of playdo and sticks. This is important work for them. Value it and trust that they are learning what they need to. Printmaking can come another day.
A Big Pile of Leaves
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