Fall is my absolute favorite time of year! The temperature is mild, the leaves are beautiful, and there is even that certain, autumn-like smell in the air. It is an excellent time to get outdoors with the kids; take a walk, ride a bike, or visit the parks in your area. While you’re at it, why not take advantage of nature’s wonders to create a fun, Montessori-inspired, botany lesson?
This is a two-part activity involving both leaf collecting and leaf identifying. In our case, the kids and I collected a variety of different leaves while out on a nature walk. (We were careful not to get into anything poisonous or itchy.) We collected leaves of different shapes, sizes, and colors and often made note of how the leaves grew on the tree, i.e. in bunches, pairs, or irregular patterns.
Next, we needed the cards. There are many ways to go about getting these kinds of “botany” cards. You can download them for free at websites such as Nature Detectives, or purchase them from Montessori supply sites such as Montessori for Everyone.
However, if like me, you find that the trees in your area are a lot different than those in ready-made cards, you may want to just make your own cards. I went to a local forest service website and was able to make beautifully illustrated cards of exactly the trees I needed. You can always laminate such home-made learning cards if you want to use them again and again.
Now, your child can identify the trees and leaves by matching them with the appropriate cards. I learned from this activity as well. I never knew that the trees I pass by almost every day are Mesquite trees. Live and learn!
Before you get rid of those leaves, here is an additional activity meant to develop small motor skills: leaf transferring from one bowl to another using a clothespin. This idea comes from Discovery Moments.