DIY Forest School IV: Word Hunt in Nature

DIY Forest School IV: Word Hunt in Nature. Rain or Shine Mamma

This is the fourth post in a new series about forest school pedagogy and learning outside from Rain or Shine Mamma. For your convenience I’ve included links to all the previous activities at the end of this post. This week we’re heading out to practice letter sounds and words in nature, using the abundance of colorful leaves in the woods!

The Little Naturalist has been all about forest school lately and I love that she’s so eager to get outside and learn in the process! We’ve been doing several activities with leaves lately (more about that in future posts) and one of the ideas that I came up with was to incorporate them in a fun word hunt.

Age: Preschool – 1st grade

Time: 30 min+


  • 10-20 leaves (depending on how advanced the learner is)
  • Tote bag or basket for collecting leaves
  • Marker

Place: Wooded area

How to do it: Grab the tote bag and let your child collect leaves from the ground. Once you have enough, use the marker to write letters on the leaves and put them back in the tote bag. You don’t need to do the whole alphabet – choose letters that are more common, such as S, A, B etc, and avoid letters like Q, X and Z, since you’re not likely to find any natural items starting with those. When you’re done, have your child draw a leaf from the tote bag and ask him or her what it is. Can you find anything around you that starts with that letter?

As you’re walking around, talk about all the things around you and help your child sound out the first letter of all the objects (L for leaf, T for tree, G for ground etc). Once you find something that starts with “your” letter, place the leaf by the object to visually reinforce the connection between the two. Keep going until all the leaves in the bag are gone or until your child is tired of the activity.