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There is a kaleidoscope of colors outside my window right now that is SO gorgeous! I just want to bottle the color up and keep it forever. I love finding new ways to bring the outside in, especially in fall when the weather can easily turn from sunny and lovely to chilly and wet.
This DIY felt fall counting tree is a simple but special tool to help kids learn so many wonderful lessons. Beyond learning about the natural autumn processes, you can use this tree as an autumn counting, sorting, or color-teaching tool!
Another thing I love about this quick fall felt DIY is that it’s ridiculously versatile. You can change the colors to teach different seasons or suit your particular preferences. You can cut out other leaf shapes. You can add velcro and use it as part of a felt storyboard – the sky’s the limit with this sweet tree. This is a great companion project to use with our easy DIY woodland fairy peg dolls or feature mix-and-match Jack-O-Lanterns too!
For more age-appropriate leaf-themed play throughout the seasons check out our loose parts leaf play ideas!
To make a felt fall counting tree you’ll need:
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.*
Felt Counting Tree Instructions:
- Download & print our felt counting tree template or draw your own
Download, print and cut out our felt counting tree template to help you create the same trunk and leaf shape we did at the same scale.
You can also draw your own simple tree trunk template!
- Trace and cut a tree trunk
Trace the tree trunk shape onto a piece of brown felt with fabric chalk or a permanent marker and cut out.
- Trace leaves onto different felt colors & cut
Trace multiple leaves onto a variety of felt colors and cut out. We traced 5 leaves each onto 9 different colors of felt for a total of 45 leaves.
I love that these trees have a soft texture that’s pleasing to little fingers. The felt has a bit of grab to it that holds the trees and leaves place on a flat surface, but works so well on a flannel storyboard as well.
More ways to use your felt trees for learning and play
These sensory-pleasing textured little trees have so many fun uses…
- USE FOR STORYTELLING. Using these felt props for imaginative story-building is one of my very favorite ways to use our trees. If you need a little inspiration, start by reading a picture book about leaves, trees, or fall.
- PRACTICE COUNTING. Use a fabric pen or permanent marker to write numbers on the back of each of your leaves to aid in counting practice.
- SORT BY COLOR. Ask your little ones to add or take away specific colors or color families. You can use it for counting or simple math practice by asking prompts like, “can you take away two blue leaves?” or “how many leaves are on the tree now…?”
- EXPLORE THE SEASONS. Use them to learn about the seasons (and they work SO well for autumn). Make 30 or 31 leaves to create a countdown to the end of September or October, or create a back-to-school countdown. You can also integrate the felt tree and leaves into lessons about nature and the processes trees experience throughout the seasons.
- LEARN ABOUT LEAVES AND BASIC TREE ANATOMY. Wade into the science leaf and tree growth with a kinder-appropriate “Parts of a tree” lesson from Education.com or this free printable tree learning introduction packet from the Minnesota DNR. You can even switch out your felt leaves for the real deal. Collect some colorful leaves in the fall and use those with your felt tree instead!
- INVESTIGATE THE FUNCTIONS OF A TREE. Fill your tree with other items, like a felt bird, a stick nest, a photo of a bee’s nest, felt flowers, apples, oranges, cherries, wooden acorns, seeds, or other kinds of fruit or wildlife. You can use these extra props to discuss how trees play a role in our food systems, or provide habitats for wildlife.
- PRACTICE PICKING UP. Once you’re finished playing with your little trees, use a small brush as a “rake” to sweep up your leaves and collect them in a tray or bowl. It’s a great way to encourage indoor play cleanup and discuss outdoor fall chores.
For more simple autumn learning play, collect some real leaves for an adorable mouse mail fine motor skill activity. And be sure to download our free printable leaf activity kit to take outside for leaf hunts, matching games, and more!
*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!