Gather your twigs and leaves and use these fantastic ideas for hands-on forest school math ideas for autumn.
Forest school math activities for autumn
Here’s a collection of forest school math activities that use real twigs, leaves and seeds to engage children in hands-on math.
Keep a basket of leaves, twigs, acorns, and fir cones handy, and you can quickly and easily set up one of these activities anytime you like, indoors or outside.
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More forest school activities
And for a complete programme of seasons lessons, activities and printables, download the Seasons School Autumn Curriculum here.
Use twigs to set up number questions – and give your answer in conkers or acorns.
Using natural manipulatives makes the learning fun, engaging, and a bit different – all the better to help the learning ‘stick’.
Toddler idea: in and out! An egg carton and a bowl of autumn treasures is fun to play with. Do make sure the items you offer are suitable for your child, especially if they might put things in their mouth.
Maybe they know how to count them all? I always liked this as a ‘witching hour’ activity – something nice to play with alongside me while I prepare dinner.
Can you make a pattern? You can start off patterns for each other to copy and complete.
Following a sequence, repeating patterns, and skip counting are all incorporated as you play.
Make a number square and find corresponding items to count. What number can you count up to?
Bigger or Smaller
Use a twig to make a greater than / less than symbol. Which is bigger: 2 or 5? Place two and five leaves above each number and see which column is taller. Place your greater than / less than symbol the correct way round.
Gather leaves and compare sizes. Lay them out in increasing and / or decreasing size order. You could use a ruler to measure some.
Recognising Digits and Counting
Make some leaf numbers; I used metallic and white marker pens. Do you know what number is on this leaf? Can you find the correct number of conkers / acorns / twigs to match?
Set out paper, a pen, and half a leaf. Can you draw the other half?
Lay out a long stick. Create an image on one side using natural materials.
Can you make the matching image for the other side?
Make more images for each other to complete.
Graphing and Estimating
Gather some natural materials: sticks, conkers, fir cones perhaps. Make some name labels.
How many do you think you have? Do you think you have more fircones, sticks or conkers?
Line up each type of material in a column above its name label and create a graph. Bar graphs can make things look much clearer and help you work out answers more easily.
Counting and Number Order
Pick a number, find the right number of leaves. Work together to complete a number line, in ascending order.
Pick up some fir cones and conkers/acorns. How may do you have? What does the digit for that amount look like?
What does a four look like? Can you make a four out of sticks?
How many is 12? How many tens, and how many ones?
Use piles of sticks to show the number in the tens place, and the number in the ones place.
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Seasons School is NurtureStore's year-round program of living and learning with nature. Our activities and resources focus on hands-on, nature-based learning that connects children with the natural environment.
If you're looking for nature study lessons, arts and craft projects, campfire recipes, foraging ideas, outdoor math and literacy activities, outdoor games, and ways to explore forests, gardens, and outdoor spaces - think of NurtureStore as your forest fairy godmother!
Whether you're in a forest school or outdoor classroom, running a school gardening club, bringing nature lessons into your class, home educating with nature, or wanting to connect with the great outdoors at the weekend, you will love the Seasons School ideas.
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