Don’t underestimate the incredible thinking skills that young children have. Through this activity, your preschooler will collect and sort leaves by different characteristics to practice early math concepts.
This fun leaf activity helps preschoolers practice classifying objects and grow their problem-solving skills.
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- Bag or box to collect leaves
- Paper (can be a newspaper, paper bags, magazines, notebook paper, etc.)
- Pencil or something to write with
- Promote the use of problem solving and inquiry
- Practice classifying objects
- Provide practice counting and quantifying objects
- Promote conversation and teamwork
In the Future:
- The ability to classify objects by different characteristics is a stepping stone for understanding the math concept of one-to-one correspondence which will eventually build into simple addition and subtraction.
- The ability to generate guesses in an investigation is the skill of making hypotheses in the scientific process.
- Go outside with your child on a leaf hunt and collect a variety of leaves in her bag.
- Next, look at all your leaves and decide how to sort them. You might ask, “How should we organize these leaves? What things are the same and different about these leaves?” to get your child thinking about the different characteristics. For example, they may choose to sort by color, by size, or by how many points on the leaves.
- Once your child has chosen a characteristic, have them sort the leaves accordingly, helping as needed.
- Together, count each pile and assist in writing the number. Then, pose the question “Are there more green leaves or brown leaves? Which number is bigger? How many more?”
For younger preschoolers and toddlers: you can stop at collecting leaves and just talk about how they look and identify characteristics instead of sorting.
For older preschoolers: you can see if your child can count each category that has been sorted and then compare which category has the most? Which category has the least? You could challenge them to figure out how many more one has over the other? Or how many less?
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