In this digital age, time for the great outdoors is more important than ever. Nature is the best place to fully be present with our kids. Both children and adults need “down time” to observe and explore nature and enjoy fresh air! Although this website typically features literacy activities, I want to emphasize the importance of new experiences as a tool for expanding vocabulary and communication skills. For multilingual families with kids who are reluctant to speak the minority language(s), a change of scenery can be a great opportunity to speak exclusively in the target language. Leaf collecting was a wonderful opportunity for my trilingual 2-year-old son to learn about leaves and how to describe them in Chinese without distraction. We had a lot of fun making Leaf Sorting Sensory Bottles together and engaging in imaginative play with fall leaves!
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This nature discovery activity lets kids enjoy and focus on observation and speaking skills! Leaf sorting sensory bottles are a wonderful visual and tactile learning experience. Bonus: they are easy for kids to make on their own!
- 叶子/ 葉子 (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)
What you need for leaf sorting sensory bottles:
- Voss water bottles – they are so pretty, and the label peels off easily compared to other bottles!
- Optional: Adhesive remover – there was very little sticky residue on our bottles, so we skipped this step that was suggested by Rhythms of Play. However, for non-Voss bottles which sticky residue, I did find this to be very effective.
This Montessori inspired activity is FREE and educational for young children (toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners)!
How to set up the fall leaf sorting sensory bottles:
- Remove labels from bottle; wash and dry bottle
- Place one type of leaf in each bottle
- Arrange other leaves in piles for younger toddlers; older children may enjoy a challenge by mixing the leaves together!
- Insert leaves to matching bottle
- Add water
- Close lid tightly
- Let your child shake and observe!
This was the perfect activity to go with our tree and autumn book theme this month!
- Feel and observe each leaf
- Let your child explore quietly without interruptions
- When the opportunity arises, ask him or her what she sees, feels, smells, and hears!
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!
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!
Click here for a list of beautiful books about trees and autumn!
Other fun nature learning activities that you can do with your child…
- Rain Stick Sensory Bottles – A Musical Activity for Kids!
- Parts of a Flower Dot Sticker Sight Word Matching Activity
- Chinese Nature Words with Pipe Cleaners
- Water Painting Chalk Raindrops – Sight Word Activity
- Who Likes Rain? Book Review & Bottle Cap Raindrops Craft!
- 小星星 Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in Chinese – Constellation Sticker Activity!
- Autumn Leaf Painting & Chinese Literacy
- Writing Chinese With Fall Leaves
- It’s Raining Paint!
- Sun & Moon Paper Roll Paint Stamp
- Writing at the Beach
- Decorating 花 with Flowers
- Learning About 雨滴 with Raindrop Stickers
- Parts of a Flower Sensory Bottles
Click here to see all of our favorite nature learning activities for kids!
For all of our hands-on learning activities, click here!
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Happy learning, friends!