Pack a lunch and go on a leaf hunt!
Here are some items you may want to take along with you:
A container to put your leaves in, a camera, drawing paper and a pencil
Optional: Tree identification book, your Nature Backpack
What to look for…
Look for every tree leaf you can find! Look in your own yard, in a park, the woods, the playground, in parking lots, and anywhere leaves can be found.
Tip: If you walk in the woods, it’s a good idea to wear closed-toed shoes.
Look for unusual leaves, whole leaves, leaves with holes in them, green leaves, leaves that are starting to turn colors, leaves that have turned colors, small leaves and big leaves, and don’t forget pine needles and evergreens too! Make sure you take a few of each kind.
Look for pine cones, nuts, acorns, seed pods, and berries as well.
Note: Do not eat berries.
If you’re going to identify your leaves later on, take pictures of the trees you get your leaves from, or draw a map of where each tree is located so you can find it again later.
If you’re not going to use your leaves right away, it may be a good idea to press them so they don’t dry up, turn brown and curl up on you!
You will need: Newspaper, recycled grocery bags, or waxed paper and some heavy books
Lay the leaves flat between two pieces of newspaper or wax paper and put heavy books on top of them. This will keep them so they can be used for other leaf activities later on. Do not let leaves overlap.
Tip: If you have paper grocery bags, cut the bottoms off, cut them up one side, lay your leaves flat on one open bag, cover them with another, and put the books on top.
Reviving wilted leaves
If your leaves dry up a bit before you get to use them, you can revive them in a bowl of cold water with a 1 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar per cup of water. Soak your leaves until they look refreshed, dry them off with a towel, and press them, or use them right away.
Identify your leaves
If you want to use your leaves right away, you can identify them, or use one of the activities suggested below.
To identify them, use a book, this site, or ask someone who knows about trees for some help.
You can print out the chart to the right and take it along with you, or use it later on.
The following sites may prove helpful if you want to identify your leaves on your own.
Wikipedia: Identification of Trees of the United States
Read the description and click on the tree that best describes your leaf.
Wikipedia: List of Trees of the World
Choose any country, then pick the tree you are interested in learning more about.
Enchanted Learning: Leaves and Leaf Anatomy
Learn about the function of a leaf, the structure, cells, margin and leaf terms.