Where Do All of the Dead Leaves Go?

Where Do All of the Dead Leaves Go?

Where Do All of the Dead Leaves Go?


  • Orange peel
  • Banana skin
  • Dead leaves
  • Candy wrapper
  • Rock
  • Paper napkin
  • Styrofoam plate
  • Shovel
  • A patch of ground you can dig up

Ask the children if they know what happens to the leaves that come off the trees in the fall. Introduce the word decay. Talk about the leaves changing into very small parts and going into the soil to make new things grow. Talk about other things that can decay, biodegradable waste, like bananas and orange peels. Explain that not everything will decay.

Ask your children to bring in something that they would like to bury in the soil for a month. Make a list of the items that are brought to school. Dig a large hole in the playground and have the children bury their things in the hole. Mark the location of the hole and dig everything up after one month. Discuss what items decayed and which ones did not.

Make Your Own Compost


  • A large plastic jar or similar container
  • Household biodegradable waste: banana skin, veggie peeling, grass clippings, etc.
  • Garden soil
  • Water

Place a layer of soil on the bottom of the container. Next, place a layer of grass clippings, veggie peelings, banana skins, or other biodegradable waste. Sprinkle with water. Cover with another layer of soil. Leave several inches of air at the top of the jar.

Shake the container to mix everything together. Keep your compost moist and well shaken. Soon you will have rich, dark compost. Dump it out on a layer of newspaper. Can you find any of the things you buried? Feel it, smell it.

Activities provided by:

Story County Conservation
Nature Boxes for Early Childhood Educators
Debbi Williams
56461 180th St.
Ames, IA 50010
Story County Conservation

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_ 3-4
✓ 4-5
✓ 5-6

Category: Group Activities

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 9.1, 9.3, 9.4, 11.1, 12.4, 12.5, 14.3

Related Kindernature Resources: Other Resources: