One of the nicest places to observe colors and shapes in fall leaves is on the light table. Early learners get the chance to investigate natural materials indoors. The leaves get illuminated and their stripes, spots, and beautiful colors become even more noticeable. And best of all, there are a lot of learning possibilities in this light table leaf exploration activity.
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Supplies To Collect
Gather the following supplies for this low-prep, economical nature play invitation:
- leaves in different colors, shapes, textures, and sizes
- overhead transparencies
- black permanent marker
- “leaf” word strip
- transparent alphabet letters
- magnifying glasses
- artificial flowers in vases
Light Table Leaf Exploration
To collect the leaves, take your little charges on a nature walk. Give everyone a bag and ask each participant to find leaves in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Back at home or in class, set some of the leaves on a light table for the children to view. Invite everyone to explore, sort, and arrange the foliage.
Extra leaves can be placed in an indoor DIY mud kitchen or added to a sensory tub.
Include magnifying glasses for early learners to see leaf veins and midribs clearly.
Place a word strip with the word “leaf” on the table, and include transparent alphabet letters. Encourage children to say and spell the word.
Fall flower sprigs in vases add ambiance to the center.
Overhead Transparency Leaf Silhouettes
Trace some of the leaves onto overhead transparencies using a black permanent marker. Invite your early learners to match the light-enhanced leaves to their silhouettes.
Light Table Leaf Exploration Benefits
This simple sensory activity has so many learning opportunities. Here are some possibilities this leaf light table setup offers:
- recognizing leaf colors
- counting and sorting leaves
- shape matching
- ordering leaves by size
- alphabet letter identification
- learning to make and spell a word
- discussing leaf midribs and veins
- creating designs with leaves
Related: Eyedropper Leaf Art
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