Leaf lessons: Autumn learning ideas for your young children

The wonderful hues and changes of autumn can be a fun way to learn for younger children, writes ISV's Lili-Ann Kriegler. She shares her ideas for families in this article and short video.

The trees have put on their autumn colours, providing a wonderful learning opportunity for younger family members.

When we are all experiencing lockdown, daily walks are a way for families to expend energy and leave the house for a short reprieve.

Autumn walks encourage mindfulness, because we can’t help but notice the constant changes all around us.

But they are also the source of many small projects and learning opportunities at home and on the move.

It’s fun to spend time collecting autumn materials and taking photographs of the splendid colours. The collections can be used for creating various kinds of artwork.

During the act of creation, ask children to notice the structure of different leaves and introduce new vocabulary. Comparison is foundational thinking skill and autumn is a wonderful time to discuss similarities and differences.   

Children can also generate digital artwork. A unique postcard, or painting, can be made as a gift for someone special.

Time is a difficult concept for young children to grasp, but the botanical changes in the trees throughout the seasons is one way they can perceive, remember and track cyclical time. 

Other ideas about time, like hours, months, years, and even minutes and seconds, can be part of the conversation. It can lead to an exploration of measuring instruments  like hourglasses, clocks or calendars.

Children can use mobile devices to time things, set alarms, or add things to the digital calendar so they gain a sense of agency around the concept.

Families might like to use the time out walking to have relevant conversations about change, transformation, growth and life cycles.

Besides the idea of time, autumn is a good time to learn about patterns, counting and making tens and other numbers.

Enjoy autumn and all it brings with it.

Lili-Ann Kriegler is an Education Consultant at Independent Schools Victoria.

Watch the video, below.