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Have you ever picked up a leaf and wondered what type of tree it fell from? There are hundreds of types of leaves in the USA alone yet so many kids are unaware of their scientific and even common names.

Today we’re sharing with you a late summer / fall activity for kids that helps them interactively learn tree names by identifying different leaves. We put this together as a suggested scavenger hunt to add fun and competition to learning different types of leaves.

Have fun with this group game and make a yearly tradition out of it. Enjoy the great outdoors in late spring, summer or fall!

diy leaf scavenger hunt

Related post: How to Make A Solution for GIANT Bubbles

STEM – Learning All Kinds of Leaves

This leaf scavenger hunt is a fantastic STEM activity for kids that presents science in a fun and hands on manner.

Every day we see different types of leaves without the ability to identify them. After playing this leaf scavenger hunt, children will have a better appreciation for the kinds of leaves they see on a daily basis.

Different Types of Leaves with Names and Pictures

We’ve put together an extensive list of types of leaves and their names, pictures and information. Bookmark this post to use directly from your phone during your group scavenger hunt and save the PDF to each team leader (adult’s) phone. Ultimately, we hope to see kids having fun and learning all of the various kinds of leaves in your area.

Leaf Scavenger Hunt Supplies / Requirements

  • 1 notebook per team
  • 2-4 pencils per team
  • 1 smartphone or tablet with access to the internet per team (provided by adult team leader)
  • Woods or park setting with different types of trees

Leaf Scavenger Hunt Instructions

  1. Each adult team leader will need access to the slideshow with 76 kinds of leaves on their phone or tablet. Make sure battery is at least 75% charged.
  2. Split children into teams of 2 to 8 (including leader).
  3. Set a timer for allotted amount of time (leaving 15 minutes at the end of the scavenger hunt). Timer can be set for 15 to 45+ minutes.
  4. Start timer and have teams set off into a wooded area onto separate paths.
  5. Children can immediately gather single samples of all kinds of leaves. Stack leaves in a folder or notebook and remove duplicates as they are found.
  6. As time passes, encourage the participants to look for leaves that have not been gathered yet. This will help kids learn how to identify differences in the leaves.
  7. Toward the end of the scavenger hunt, look through all of the leaves and help the children remove duplicates.
  8. Return to the starting point of your scavenger hunt before the timer ends.
  9. Once both teams are back, start a timer for 15 minutes – this time will be used to identify each leaf that was gathered.
  10. Lay each leaf on a separate page in a notebook. Using the phone or tablet with our slideshow of leaves, locate matches and label each page with the name of the leaf.
  11. The team with the most identified leaves by the time 15 minutes has passed wins!

Optional: if preferred, you can add time to the actual scavenger hunt and have teams identify leaves as they find them. You can also set the boundaries (how far kids can deviate from the paths and leader) – the younger the children, the closer together they should stay.

Lastly, early to mid fall (in the Northeast USA) is a beautiful time do this leave scavenger hunt, but keep in mind that leaves will deviate in color from those pictured! Use your best judgment to match the shapes of each leaf when color is different.

Different Types of Leaves with Information

Now that we’ve talked about the rules and instructions, let’s jump right in! Here are are the first 20 different types of leaves with information. Don’t forget to bookmark the entire slideshow of all 76 leaves (there are too many to fit into one post!).

Silver Maple

  • Common Name: Silver Maple
  • Scientific Name: Acer saccharinum
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Palmate
  • Uses: Furniture, pulp wood, fuel

Silver Maple - Acer saccharinum- palmate

Box Elder

  • Common Name: Box Elder
  • Scientific Name: Acer negundo
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Pule and woodenware

Box Elder - Acer negundo - Maple - Pinnate

Japanese Maple

  • Common Name: Japanese Maple
  • Scientific Name: Acer palmatum
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Palmate
  • Uses: Ornamental

Sugar Maple

  • Common Name: Sugar Maple
  • Scientific Name: Acer saccharum
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Palmate
  • Uses: Furniture, maple sugar

Sugar Maple - Acer saccharum - Maple - Palmate

Planetree Maple

  • Common Name: Planetree Maple
  • Scientific Name: Acer pseudoplatanus
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Palmate
  • Uses: Ornamental

Planetree Maple - Acer pseudoplatanus - Maple - Palmate

Striped Maple

  • Common Name: Striped Maple
  • Scientific Name: Acer pensylvanicum
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Palmate
  • Uses: Ornamental and food for animals

Striped Maple - Acer pensylvanicum - Maple - Palmate

Red Maple

  • Common Name: Red Maple
  • Scientific Name: Acer rubrum
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Palmate
  • Uses: Furniture and boxes

Red Maple - Acer rubrum - Maple - Palmate

Crimson King Maple

  • Common Name: Crimson King Maple (Norway)
  • Scientific Name: Acer platamoides
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Palmate
  • Uses: Ornamental and shade

Crimson King Maple (Norway) - Acer platamoides - Maple - Palmate

Norway Maple

  • Common Name: Norway Maple
  • Scientific Name: Acer platanoides
  • Plate Family: Maple
  • Venation: Palmate
  • Uses: Shade

Norway Maple - Acer platanoides - Maple - Palmate

White Oak

  • Common Name: White Oak
  • Scientific Name: Quercus alba
  • Plate Family: Beech
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Furniture

White Oak - Quercus alba - Beech - Pinnate

Northern Red Oak

  • Common Name: Northern Red Oak
  • Scientific Name: Quercus rubra
  • Plate Family: Beech
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Construction and interior work

Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra - Beech - Pinnate

Pin Oak

  • Common Name: Pin Oak
  • Scientific Name: Quercus nuttallii
  • Plate Family: Beech
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Nuts for animals

Pin Oak - Quercus nuttallii - Beech - Pinnate

Black Oak

  • Common Name: Pin Oak
  • Scientific Name: Quercus velutina
  • Plate Family: Beech
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Construction, furniture

Black Oak - Quercus velutina - Beech - Pinnate

Swamp White Oak

  • Common Name: Swamp White Oak
  • Scientific Name: Quercus bicolor
  • Plate Family: Beech
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Lumber

Swamp White Oak - Quercus bicolor - Beech - Pinnate

American Chestnut

  • Common Name: American Chestnut
  • Scientific Name: Castanea dentata
  • Plate Family: Beech
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Rough exterior work

American Chestnut - Castanea dentata - Beech - Pinnate

American Beech

  • Common Name: American Beech
  • Scientific Name: Fagus grandifolia
  • Plate Family: Beech
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Flooring and woodenware

American Beech - Fagus grandifolia - Beech - Pinnate

River Birch

  • Common Name: River Birch
  • Scientific Name: Betula nigra
  • Plate Family: Birch
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Furniture and woodenware

River Birch - Betula nigra - Birch - Pinnate

Paper Birch

  • Common Name: Paper Birch
  • Scientific Name: Betula papyrifera
  • Plate Family: Birch
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Plywood, fuel, toothpicks, etc.

Paper Birch - Betula papyrifera - Birch - Pinnate

Gray Birch

  • Common Name: Gray Birch
  • Scientific Name: Betula populifolia
  • Plate Family: Birch
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Spools and firewood

Gray Birch - Betula populifolia - Birch - Pinnate

Blueleaf Birch

  • Common Name: Blueleaf Birch
  • Scientific Name: Betula caerulea-granadis
  • Plate Family: Birch
  • Venation: Pinnate
  • Uses: Ornamental

Blueleaf Birch - Betula caerulea-granadis - Birch - Pinnate

Types of Leaves with Examples

Those first 20 types of leaves with examples were located in the Western New York area. Perhaps the trees in your area are different. If so, use this post as an example and encouragement to go out and teach kids about trees. And have fun doing it!

We look forward to sharing many more fun activities for kids that you can use to keep kids active and engaged in nature, science and hands-on fun.


I'm a mom of one rambunctious 4-year-old son sharing tips to help make your life just a little bit easier as a parent. is a place for moms like us to find kids activities, pregnancy and parenting tips for young kids in all stages of life.

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