Prep: None / Activity Time: 5-10 Minutes

Nature is a natural play space. Noticing the similarities and differences in shapes you find in nature will prepare your child for recognizing letter shapes in the future.


  • outdoor area
  • bag


Step 1: Go on a nature walk and talk about what you see. For example, your child may find a big leaf.  You could talk about the shape, the size, the color, the texture, the kind of leaf it is. You might say:  “Look Jack. You picked up a red leaf. It feels kind of rough and crunchy. That is a maple leaf. It’s not good to eat, but it sure is pretty!”  

Step 2: Bring a bag along to collect some nature items. For example, you might collect twigs and sticks, leaves or rocks.  

Step 3: When you return home, sort the items into piles based on different characteristics, such as leaves and sticks or whether you see lines or curves.