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Identify Leaves by their Shape 


Taking a walk outside with your kids is always a good thing. You may have noticed that kids almost always pick up a leaf or two to study. There are many varieties of trees and leaves, so let’s take a look at some of their features, so you can enjoy sharing these fascinating facts on how to identify leaves on your next nature walk. 

A tree that loses its leaves in fall is called deciduous. Other trees stay green all year, so are collectively called evergreens. Even a small kid can enjoy showing you these differences.


When we look more closely at how to identify leaves, we can look at the outer edge shape to learn more.  

There are 3 main leaf shapes:  

  • Smooth (with no indentations)  
  • Toothed (with what look like tiny teeth around the entire leaf’s edge)  
  • Lobed (with indentations that go almost halfway to the leaf’s centerline and back out again). Picture a very curvy road for this type! 

We can also look closer at the vein patterns in the leaf. The veins in leaves work to transport liquids and nutrients to the leaf cells.  

There are 2 main vein patterns:  

  • Pinnate, which means the veins extend from the centerline to the outer edge (example: oak leaves) 
  • Palmate, which means the veins radiate out in a fan shape (example: maple leaves) 

Collecting leaves from the ground is a fun activity, especially as they change color in the fall. Enjoy the discovery of identifying leaves with your kid on your next nature walk!