Relative size is a natural learning opportunity in the fall. The children are so enjoying the weather, the leaves, the pine cones, the pumpkins (still), and are wanting to bring the outdoors inside. Let them! The science table or even a box can hold all the treasures and the children will show you what they are learning if you provide time and sorting trays or baskets. Relative size is relative after all, and the children are going to be comparing, observing, noticing textures, discussing colors, and even thinking about the weight of the objects. Every walk becomes a treasure hunt when nature items are readily available and on the ground. What will they find? What will they learn? 
Fall for Learning about Relative Size

Instead of letting the leaves crumble which can cause some heartache for a child who collected them, we laminated ours. They are all in one basket for sorting by size as in small, medium, large. Of course, leaves can also be sorted by color or even shape. Is the leave rounded or does it have points on the tips? Is it larger or smaller than the child’s hand? Is there anything else in the room about the size of the leaf? There is much to discover and observe. No vacuuming is required when leaves are laminated!

sorting-laminated-leaves-small-medium-large (3)

What is it about pine cones? Children do love to look at them. Later we will watch to see if it will rain when they are fresh, paint them, decorate them with pom poms, and even dip them in glue and glitter. If different kinds are available, they can be compared and contrasted for texture, size, openness, color, and size of the scale. Any nature item such as rocks or pine cones can become a treasured collection.


The sizes of pumpkins may be compared with pine cones and other objects. A tray for large, medium, and small helps keep the items in groups. A few fairy lights can help engage children in learning.

relative size

I kept seeing black trees in the dollar bins in October and decided to buy one. We added fairy lights, glow in the dark beads, and orange pony beads. It was a fun decoration, especially in the evening, and it wasn’t scary.


Adding peg people and pumpkins, a play scene was set up for imaginative play. Would this be a provocation for Reggio learning? Maybe. Fall for learning about relative size by allowing children to touch, discover, hold, and work with fall science objects.

The same tree could be decorated with red, green, white beads for a winter play scene, as well.

play scene for winter

We hope you have the opportunity for some fall hands-on learning led by the children, too.

Thank you for reading, Carolyn