Monday, September 26, 2016


Preschool Leaf Science Experiment

Preschool + Science Experiment + Leaves = Awesome Fall Activity!

Seriously, though, this has been one of my favorite preschool science experiments this year. It lets the kids explore and experiment on their own terms, while providing a rich investigative experience. It actually turned into a preschool STEM project too (more on that in a moment)!

Preschoolers are natural scientists, and I love encouraging their curiousity! About this time of year, they start noticing changes in the plants around them: some are changing colors, some are losing leaves, and some don't seem to change at all! I answer their questions about leaves and change as often as they come up, but sometimes, they just need to get up close and investigate the differences for themselves!

This leaf science experiment takes a tiny bit of planning (you need about two minutes of prep the day before the activity), but it is so worth the time to watch your child experiment with the set-up.  Here's the easy how-to:

1- (The Day Before): Place some leaves in 1- inches of water and place them in the freezer. Use some fresh leaves that you pick, and some dry leaves you find on the ground. I just put them on a plate.

2- (Right Before "Science Time"): Set up some freshly picked leaves, dry leaves from the ground, and frozen leaves from the freezer on cookie sheets for your children to investigate. (You can even send the kids outside on a leaf hunt while you arrange everything else.) Provide warm water and pipettes (to melt the ice) and magnifying glasses (to get a better look)!

3- Let your children get to work! You never know what they will discover! My kids wondered why the leaves from the ground were so crispy (because they didn't have water in them), and had a WONDERFUL time "melting" the frozen leaves.

We learned that both water and ice can act like a little magnifying glass on the leaf! They let you see the different parts of the leaves the "tubes" in the leaf (great chance to talk about xylem, phloem, and plant food and water)!

We observed that the green from the leaves (chlorophyll) was dissolving into the water as it melted! We will be revisiting this soon because it is a great tie-in to why leaves change colors, and it totally deserves its own post!

We also built some little leaf ice towers!

So how did this experiment become a STEM project? STEM activities incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math. They can be oh, so simple too! Here's how each area was included in this experiment:

Science: experimenting with melting the ice, comparing the leaves in different states, and hypothesizing about how the leaves and ice would behave when they tinkered with them.
Technology: Using pipettes and magnifying glasses
Engineering: Building towers with the ice and leaves
Math: Qualitatively comparing sizes and predicting the effect of gravity on the ice tower pieces

It is worth noting that I designed this activity as a science experiment/investigation, but as the kids explored, they chose to build the towers. They created their own STEM challenge!

We did this preschool science experiment to go with the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. {Amazon Affiliate Link below:}

This week the Virtual Book Club for Kids is talking about leaves! We are sharing leaf themed activities to go with Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert!

We would LOVE to have you join the Virtual Book Club for Kids too! Just read the book and do a leaf themed activity with your kids! Be sure to join us at the VBC Facebook page too! If you want more details about the VBC (including a list of upcoming books), click here.

More LEAF Resources:

And be sure to check out all these other leaf themed activities that are perfect for preschoolers:

Learning About Letters with Leaves & Falling Leaves Song – Kori at HomeBeginning Sounds Activity: Leaf Sticker Tree- Growing Book by BookLetter Recognition Game with Free Leaf PrintableLeaf Name Sticky Wall – Inspiration LaboratoriesLearn to Write Your Name with ‘Letter Man’ – Chickadee LitWrite Your Name In Leaves – Adventures of Adam
Fall Loose Parts Sensory Invitation  – My Storytime Corner
Fall Leaf Auditory Processing Activities – Sugar Aunts
Preschool Leaf Science Experiment  – Preschool Powol Packets
Simple Preschool Science: Leaf Matching Activity – School Time Snippets
Giant Colorful Watercolor Fall Leaves for Kids – Toddler Approved
Basic Math with Fall Leaves for Preschoolers  – Views From a Step Stool
Leaf Color Sorting – My Bored Toddler
Leaf Art ~ Prewriting Patterns for Fall – Rainy Day mum
Leaf Tracing Pre-Writing Activity  – Books and Giggles
Leaf puppets – messy little monster  – Messy Little Monster
Follow the leaves: Cardinal Directions and Map Skills for kids  – Extremely Good Parenting

Learning Fun With Leaves – Clare’s Little Tots
Number Leaf Scavenger Hunt – – The Educators’ Spin On It
Preschool Printable Counting Leaves -CraftCreateCalm
Amazon Affiliate Links:

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Colleen SugarAunts said...

Great pictures and a fun science experiment! My kids will love this.

Clare's Little Tots said...

Never thought to freeze leaves before. How fun!