Outdoor Education Cookbook: Grouping Leaves (Early Years Numeracy)

In an inquiry education environment, all subjects seem to form together into one. In a pre-Kindergarten Unit of Inquiry about plant life, we incorporated our numeracy.

A skill we were teaching was grouping. Could our early learners, group objects in 2’s, 3’s and more?

This is an activity you can do outdoors on the school year, school garden, or area with trees on your campus. This is also an activity that parents can do at home with their children.

(This was part of our distance learning in early spring 2020)



  1. Watch the video and see how I explained this lesson to students in my pre-kindergarten year level. This video was embedded in a Seesaw activity for this lesson.


2. Take your students outdoors and have them gather a variety of leaves from different trees. It is important to get a variety of different leaves.

3. Have them divide their leaves by type. Of course, they probably won’t be able to name the trees, but they can clearly see which ones are different and which ones are the same.

4. Ask them to make groups of two leaves. Have them count the various groups for you. Ask them how many leaves are there in total. “How many groups do you have? How many leaves do you have?”

5. It’s now time for your students to build their descriptive language. “What do the leaves look like? How are they different? How are they the same? What do they feel like? Which one do you like the best?”

6. Have your students explain things to you. You can also have your students record some of their discoveries on Seesaw and share them in their Journal or Class Blog so parents can see what they have been learning.



This simple yet effective lesson covers many standards and goals. It can be connected to previous or current units on plant growth or weather. Students can practice grouping and counting in numeracy. They can build descriptive language and simply enjoy being outdoors. What young child doesn’t like collecting leaves?




About the Podcaster/Writer:

Kevin O’Shea is a PYP/Nature/Outdoor educator currently based in Shenzhen, China (currently in Japan). He is a father, husband, and avid naturalist. Kevin is an advocate for outdoor play and nature education.  He was the host of the long-running Just Japan Podcast and the  Making Better Teachers Podcast!

Twitter: @MadForMaple

Instagram: @shizenwildlife

Facebook: Making Better Teachers

Email: makingbetterteachers@gmail.com


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