It’s Autumn I’m Leafing!


I have passed this place every morning on the school run for the last week and every time another idea came into my head. Luckily it was on the return trip and only once did I drive past the stop with my passenger shouting “Dad!” very loudly to bring me back to present time!

It finally got the better of me and I loaded the I-pad into the car and pulled in when the bus had gone……….. it inspired the following.

Leaf it Out! 

1.  Find a spot and mark it so that your partner or group member can find it easily. You could scrape a spot moving the leaves away or mark it with a stick – or both! Make sure the ‘finder(s)’ is not looking!

IMG_2638 Starting Point

2.  Take two or three photo’s of the leaf-carpet in front of you. Variations of differentiation could be, getting the photographer to use 360 degrees from the spot they are standing at and to give the finder an angle to use to find the spot – ‘It’s between 90 – 180 degrees’. For early years or KS1 or special needs you could arrange the leaves into easily recognisable patterns or shapes for them to find.

IMG_0170_2 normal

IMG_0169IMG_0172_2Rearranged patterns


3.  This could be done using the canopy as a spot to find without marking it first. ‘find the spot where this photo was taken from?’ or the trunk of a tree.

The photo’s could be developed into a photo – trail, connecting all the pictures together.

Moss and lichen bring in geography and biology, prevailing wind directions and clean air, compass directions.

Canopy IMG_0174_2IMG_0175_2 Moss and Lichen

Take a selfie of yourself to add a bit of humour to the session, see if they can find the same spot? It might take a while and lots of selfies to find. I must admit even if it was correct the first time I would say ‘No’ just keep the activity going.  Making sure that the ground is not too wet if the appropriate clothing is not being worn! (it was at this point that a car stopped and asked if I was Ok! – I explained that I was an outdoor teacher- and before I could add the explanation they drove off ! for some reason that seemed to satisfy him? )


4.  Use an I-Pad and with the picture you have taken place the I-Pad down on the ground and use it to find the spot it was taken from – how do we get to reduce the size of the photograph to the same as the actual leaf litter?

When back in the classroom the photographs can be used to inspire creative writing or artwork. Try using the app ‘Phoster” and make a poster for the class. Another using voice recording and other medias is ‘Explain Everything” a great way of understanding when you have to explain to somebody else. You can play it back. It gives it real context.  If choosing a sycamore leaf carpet then seed dispersal is instantly recognisable with its ‘helicopters’ as a method.

IMG_1782 IMG_2648 Phoster app.

IMG_2649  CollageGuru app.

CollageGuru app. means you can make multiple pictures of different shapes of the leaf pictures you have taken.

5.  Using the leaves around explore the shapes, colours and structures. Using a pre-prepared cardboard handmade protractor measure the angles of the stems of the leaves, root structures, branches of the veins in the leaves – compare with any manmade items around. Record and discuss in groups. It’s amazing what will come out when comparing each leaf – length, width, angles. What criteria do we use? Use the evidence back for the content of Maths lessons – maths for a purpose.


6.  Leafman Game       Sit two people back to back. One person gets to use leaves and ground materials to create a ‘leaf man‘. Then using oracy skills describe their picture to their partner to see if they can create a copy of the ‘leaf man’ in front of them. Once they have finished, compare. Discuss or record how the communication could have improved, any problems, any ‘top tips’.  Take photos to compare and use the recording of the communication along with the photo as evidence.

With imagination, creativity and any child enthused by being in the outdoors will take this session further then you can think of.

Just don’t be frightened of doing it – go and kick some leaves around. You never know it might be you that’ s  enjoying it more than the ‘Little people’!


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