Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles – Nature Discovery Activity for Kids!

Whenever we go to the park, my 2-year-old son has been collecting endless piles of leaves!  We had a lot of fun sorting different autumn leaves and then creating Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles together!

Although the activity seems simple and intuitive, it was a fun, language-rich opportunity to learn about leaves. Since we’re trying to raise trilingual children, we describe our observations in Mandarin Chinese to encourage speaking the minority language.

Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles - Nature Discovery Activity for Kids!

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Nature sensory discovery for multilingual families

Fresh experiences are important for expanding vocabulary and knowledge in addition to bonding as a family! 

The easiest and least expensive way to create new memories is simply going outside and exploring nature with our children.

If you have multilingual kids who are reluctant to speak the minority language(s), a change of scenery is a great opportunity to improve and focus on second language skills.

Our Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles is just one example of a wonderful visual and tactile learning experience for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners!

Try this: Fun Printable Scavenger Hunts for Kids (Chinese, Korean, English)

Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles - Nature Discovery Activity for Kids!

Important vocabulary related to leaf sorting

Below are important translations in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin, and English.

  • / 葉 (Yèzi / Leaf)
  • 采集 / 採集 (Cǎi jí / Gather, Collect)
  • 颜色 / 顏色 (Yánsè / Color)
  • 摸 / (Mō / Feel)
  • 我们数一数! (Wǒmen shǔ yī shǔ! / Let’s count!)
  • 瓶子 (Píngzi / Bottle)
Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles - Nature Discovery Activity for Kids!

What you need for leaf sorting sensory bottles:

  1. Voss water bottles – they are so pretty, and the label peels off easily compared to other bottles!
  2. Leaves!
  3. Water
  4. Optional: Adhesive remover – there was very little sticky residue on our Voss water bottles, so we skipped this step.  However, I have found other water brand labels to be more difficult to remove and require adhesive remover.
Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles - Nature Discovery Activity for Kids!

How to set up the fall leaf sorting sensory bottles:

  1. Remove labels from bottle; wash and dry bottle
  2. Place one type of leaf in each bottle
  3. Arrange other leaves in piles for younger toddlers; older children may enjoy a challenge by mixing the leaves together!
  4. Insert leaves to matching bottle
  5. Add water
  6. Close lid tightly
  7. Let your child shake and observe!
Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles - Nature Discovery Activity for Kids!

Nature sensory bottle teaching tips:

  1. Show your child how you carefully handle each leaf
  2. Let your child explore quietly without interruptions
  3. When the opportunity arises, ask him or her what she sees, feels, smells, and hears!
Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles - Nature Discovery Activity for Kids!

Our observations from our nature leaf sorting sensory bottles

Over the course of the day, some of the leaves in the sensory bottles may change the color of the water!

I wish I had a photo of the beautiful amber color that developed from the reddish leaves!

For the rest of the leaves that my son collected, we put it in a large plastic bin that we use for open-ended sensory play.  Then he had fun playing pretend with his little Schleich toy animals (similar Safari Toob Zodiac animals)!

Leaf sensory bin with Schleich toy animals

Have you made Nature Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles?

If you make Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles, please let us know!

Leave a comment and don’t forget to tag @CHALKAcademy on Instagram and Facebook!

We love to see how other families do educational activities!

Chinese and English books about nature and leaves

This was the perfect activity to go with our tree and autumn book theme this month!

More educational nature activities for kids

Nature activities are by far our favorites! Here are just a few highlights that you can try with your children or students!

Parts of a flower sensory bottles

For the complete menu of hands-on learning activities, check out our Activities Library organized by topic!

Happy learning, friends!

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