Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Leaves Activities for Teaching

Here is a fun fall activity to do with your kids at home or in the classroom that includes working on language, vocabulary, and math concepts while building those crucial fine motor skills.  Throw in some creativity and your children will have lots of fun too!  And if you are wondering why I chose turkeys to put in the trees, keep on reading for links to explain why turkeys roost in trees.  It's always great when you can add some nonfiction real facts along with a fun math activity.

I love to use paint sticks to make games. In fact, my next few posts will be on making games and activities out of paint sticks and crafts stick.  Be sure to sign up by email at the top right corner, so you don't miss any of the fun.

If you are a teacher, you can make a tree to model in whole group and then make 2 trees for small groups.  I have my students work in pairs.  One builds the math tree and the other provides the "math conversations."  Then they switch roles.  If you are a parent, each child can have their own tree or they can work together.  Are you having a fall party?  This would make a fun craft to make that has a learning object too.

As with any activity, free play is so important.  Children need lots of opportunities to play as they learn. And remember this game builds fine motor skills because the children will use their pincer grasp (squeezing their thumb and pointer finger) to open and close the clothespins.

Materials Needed
  • 1 paint stick 
  • 10 jumbo craft sticks
  • Elmer's glue or equivalent
  • Fall color leaves
  • Clothespins
  • Animals
I bought my leaves at the Dollar Tree.  They came in a small package, and we had a few left over.  You can also use felt or construction paper leaves.  

I purchased the felt owls and turkeys at Michael's craft store (remember Michael's 40% Sunday coupons), but they also had turkey shapes at the Dollar Tree.  I included turkeys and owls in the FREE PRINTABLE.

Holding the tree with one hand while putting the animal on the branches requires fine motor skills.  If your child is younger, you can help hold the tree while he puts the animals on the tree.  Practice, play, practice, play, repeat. 


For older children,  let them make their own tree from beginning to end by using the Elmer's glue and allowing the sticks to dry.

For younger children build the base of the tree using a glue gun to attach the branches to the tree.  Then they can build the rest.
  • Place the paint stick vertically.
  • Place jumbo craft sticks in the arrangement desired.
  • Use glue or a glue gun to secure branches.  See above for older or younger children suggestions.
  • Let tree dry.
  • Place drops of glue on the branches.
  • Lay leaves on top of the glue.
  • Let dry.
  • Glue animal shapes on clothespins with a glue gun.



Level 1

Goal:  Fine Motor, Counting
  • Children play by putting owls or turkeys in the tree.
  • Children count as they add animals.
  • Children say, touch, and count or use one-to-one correspondence.  
  • Children say one number for one animal and count in sequence (1, 2, 3, 4 . . .).
Level 2

Goal:  Fine Motor, Number Recognition, 
  • Add number cards or use playing cards. 
  • 10 clothespin animals.   
  • Number cards are included in the free PRINTABLE.
  • Put numbers in a small container or sack.
  • Children draw a card.
  • Children put the number of _______ on the tree to match.
  • Children remove animals.
  • Repeat.
Level 3

Goal:  Addition
  • Add a die to the game.
  • Roll the die.
  • Name the number.
  • Put that many _______ on the tree.
  • Roll the die.
  • Put that many _______ on the tree.
  • How many ________ are on the tree?
Goal:  Subtraction
  • Put 10 animals on the tree.
  • Draw a card.
  • Take that many ______ off the tree.
  • How many _______ are left on the tree.
Glue animals on both sides of clothespins to provide a balanced tree and to give both hands fine motor practice.

Math Conversations to Have with Children

Tell me about your tree.
How many ______ are on your tree?
Do you have more _______ or _________ on your tree?
Do you have fewer ______ or ________ on your tree?
Are they equal?


I've included some internet sites that explain more about wild turkeys.
Click HERE for a website that tells more about turkeys and listen to the different sounds that a turkey makes.  There is also some video of turkeys.

Click HERE for an explanation about why turkeys sleep in trees.


Did you like this post?  I can wait to share the next post with you - more paint stick fun!

I purchased a box of these paint sticks to use with my children. I like them because they are smooth and without any markings.  I'm a paint stick fan and Home Depot and Lowe's can't keep up with me :)

Amazon links are included for your convenience.


  1. These are so pickin' cute! I found your blog about a week or two ago, but this is my favorite so far. I love cute and practical things:).

    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've had so much fun with this one. I love incorporating creativity, fine motor, language, and math together. I'm glad you liked it :)

  2. This would be fun to act out the old folk song One Little Owl: