Sorting Leaves  

Recommended for: Preschoolers

Materials Needed:

  • Bag or box to collect leaves
  • Leaves
  • Paper (can be newspaper, paper bags, magazines, notebook paper, etc.)
  • Pencil or something to write with

Developmental Goals:

  • 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 mathematical 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 hypothesis in the scientific process.

Activity:

  1. Go outside with your child on a leaf hunt and collect a variety of leaves in her bag.
  2. 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 her thinking about the different characteristics. For example, she may choose to sort by color, by size, or by how many points on the leaves.
  3. Once your child has chosen a characteristic, have her sort the leaves accordingly, helping as needed,
  4. Together, count each pile and assist in writing the numeral. Then, pose the question of “Are there more green leaves or brown leaves? Which number is bigger? How many more?”

For younger preschoolers: 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 he can count each category that has been sorted then compare which category has the most? Which category has the least? You could challenge him to figure out how many more one has over the other? Or how many less?

Contributor: Educare Chicago