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 play magic.  You can easily turn it into a relay system of sorts for a group. Best part…? It even cleans up after itself!

For more timely toddler autumn activities, check out this collection of simple fall fine motor skill ideas, loose parts leaf play ideas, or try making a DIY felt counting tree. For Halloween-ish sorting play, this DIY upcycled Jack-O-Lantern shape sorter (all you need is paper and cardboard!) is one of our favorites.

To create your own mouse mail you can use:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

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 give them each an individual “job” that they can trade off and circle through.

Our easy DIY mouse mail activity with leaves and nature items sitting on a white surface.

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! 🙂

Our easy DIY mouse mail activity with leaves, scissors, and nature items sitting on a white surface.

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.”

Our easy DIY mouse mail activity with leaves and nature items sitting in a tray on a white surface.

Next, it’s on to the sorting facility (yes, bureaucracy exists in the mouse world too – ha!) Tongs + jar lids or a muffin tin are a great way to sort mail into various matching piles. 

Our easy DIY mouse mail activity with an ink pad and nature items sitting on a white surface.

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 become a good scanner when accompanied with a  loud “beep!”  

Our easy DIY mouse mail activity with nature items in a clear plastic bag sitting on a white surface.

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.

A leaf jack-o-lantern made from colorful fall leaves sitting in the grass

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!


*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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