Mouse mail: A Montessori-inspired drawing, cutting, sorting and nature game for kids! Perfect for fine motor skill development and indoor/outdoor autumn play.
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Discover: Mouse Mail – A Simple Nature Activity for Kinders

Looking for a low-key game for one, two or a few little minis? Try Mouse Mail! This activity combines a bit of nature exploration, cutting work, fall sorting, fine motor skills, plus a pinch of pretend magic.  You can easily turn it into a relay system of sorts for a group. Best part…? It even cleans up after itself!

To create your own mouse mail you can use:

  • Leaves, pinecones, flowers and other found nature materials
  • Colorful chalk pastels
  • Kid-safe scissors
  • Tongs or tweezers
  • Jar lids, small sorting bowls or a muffin tin
  • Stamps and an ink pad
  • A small bag for delivering

I found this kind of play worked best (for 1 or multiple kids) set up as separate stations. If you’re working 1-on-1 with kids, the separate spaces allow them to easily visualize all the steps. When they get tired of one activity, they can move right on to the next. For a group of littles, separate stations gives them each an individual “job” that they can trade off and circle through.

Montessori-inspired, simple kids activities for indoor or outdoor autumn play.
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Start by collecting some assorted treasures from your yard or garden. Look for things that can easily be cut or torn apart. Using pastels, markers or other mark-making materials, you can write or draw on your leaves. Scribbles and swirls make perfect mouse messages! 🙂

Montessori-inspired, simple kids activities for indoor or outdoor autumn play.
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For some great cutting-skill practice we cut leaves into mouse-sized “postcards”, pulled pinecones and flower petals apart to make letters, and collected crabapple “packages.”

Montessori-inspired, simple kids activities for indoor or outdoor autumn play.
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Next it’s on to the sorting facility (yes, bureaucracy exists in the mouse world too) 😉 Tongs + jar lids or a muffin tin are a great way to sort mail into various matching piles. 

Montessori-inspired, simple kids activities for indoor or outdoor autumn play.
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Once sorted, each piece of mail can be stamped and scanned before it goes into the “mailbag.” No special stamp is needed as long as you can use it with a satisfying amount of force and flourish. And pretty much any old thing can makes a good scanner when accompanied with a  loud “beep!”  

Montessori-inspired, simple kids activities for indoor or outdoor autumn play.
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Special delivery! Put it all into a small bag and head outside! Finding hidden spots in the garden to “deliver” your mouse mail is a great way to end the activity with some fresh air (and get all those nature scraps right back out the door). 

I really love this activity because there are so many options for creating different mail stations and play extensions. For instance, if you have a small food scale or something similar, you can add weighing as one of your stations. Or you can take the whole play experience in a different direction by creating mouse mailboxes or houses with small boxes.

Make a cute jack-o-lantern from colorful fall leaves!
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As a special fall bonus, you can easily create your own tiny jack-o-lanterns by cutting leaves into a pumpkin shape. You can draw faces on, or use pre-cut face shapes to build them!

For another timely toddler autumn activity, try making this DIY upcycled Jack-O-Lantern shape sorter (all you need is paper and cardboard!) These DIY felt counting trees are one of our fall favorites.

Mouse mail - A Montessori-inspired drawing, cutting, sorting and nature game for kids! Perfect for fine motor skill development and indoor/outdoor autumn play.
  • Save
Mouse mail - A Montessori-inspired drawing, cutting, sorting and nature game for kids! Perfect for fine motor skill development and indoor-outdoor autumn play.
  • Save
Mouse mail - A Montessori-inspired drawing, cutting, sorting and nature game for kids! Perfect for fine motor skill development and indoor-outdoor autumn play.
  • Save
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About Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help families discover their creative potential and be inspired to make the world a better place through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. When not playing with ideas, designs and projects for barley & birch, Amanda enjoys working as a modern art curator and managing her own small design business.

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