Arboretum News

Kids Activity: Shape Matching with Leaves

Preschoolers will enjoy matching shapes while older children can challenge themselves to identify plants with leaves.

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Start by collecting a variety of leaves to trace and match. Photo by Reba Luiken.

By Reba Luiken, Arboretum coordinator of informal interpretation

This twist on a classic preschool activity pairs shape matching with nature play.  Enjoy a nature walk to collect leaves. Then, challenge your little ones to match them with chalk drawings. Elementary-aged kids will find this a bit easier, but might enjoy the challenge of learning to identify plants by their leaves. This idea comes from the Silvan Reverie (the.silvan.reverie) on Instagram.

Photo by Reba Luiken.

– Chalk
– Leaves


1. Take a walk around the yard, neighborhood, or local park to collect leaves in a variety of shapes. You only need one of each kind! Leaves of all sizes work, but larger leaves are much easier to trace.

2. Trace your leaves on pavement in chalk. (You could also use a marker on a reused grocery bag or other paper.)

3. Optional: Name your leaves! The iNaturalist App is a great resource if you’d like to learn more leaf names yourself.

Try identifying the leaves for an extra challenge! Photo by Reba Luiken.

Extensions: If you’re familiar with the Montessori method or looking to challenge older children, you might be interested in expanding the project by enriching the language you use to describe leaves. This infographic shows many useful (and scientific!) words used to describe leaves.

1 comment on “Kids Activity: Shape Matching with Leaves

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