Botany Cabinet

Learn about the leaf shapes in the botany cabinet.

leaf comparison

Botany is the branch of biology focused on the study of all things related to plants. It is one of the oldest branches of science! According to the trusty resource, Wikipedia, “Botany originated in prehistory as herbalism with the efforts of early humans to identify-and later cultivate- edible, medicinal and poisonous plants.”

The children join the primary classroom having already enjoyed lots of experiences with plants. They may have climbed a tree or rolled around in the grass. They have noticed flowering plants in their backyards and may have helped repot the plants in their homes. We involve the children in the cleaning and watering of the plants in the classroom as well. As children admire the plants in their surroundings, we bring their attention to the shapes of the plants’ leaves. They are often surprised when they realize how many different types of leaves we have in the classroom. Some are long and pointy, while others are round and wide. We formally introduce the child to the variety of leaf shapes using the Botany cabinet.

The Botany cabinet houses 18 different leaf shapes. This Cabinet contains three drawers, each holding wooden shapes the child can feel, hold, and manipulate so that he or she can learn to distinguish between the different shapes. At school, we introduce your children to the leaf shapes of the Cabinet and invite them to explore through lots of hands-on experiences. This time, we give the children an orange stick so that they can more precisely trace the margins of the leaf shapes.

leaf tracing

Just as with the geometry cabinet, the children trace the leaf shapes and play games with them. They even search the classroom for plants with leaves that match the shapes in the botany cabinet. Later we give children the language of the leaf shapes using the Three Period Lesson. Below, you will find all of the materials you need to introduce the names of the leaf shapes to your child. (Remember, we introduce the names 3 at a time). There are also other your child can do independently.

Botany-inspired activities:


Botany Cabinet Nomenclature (for three-period lessons) ages 3 ½ and up

Directions:  Print out the Botany cabinet cards and review the Botany Cabinet Nomenclature. Choose three contrasting shapes to introduce to your child using a three-period lesson. Over time, you will introduce the child to other shapes in the same manner.

Botany Cabinet Nomenclature.pdf
304 KB


Botany Cabinet Coloring Activity ages 3 ½ and up

Directions:  Color the shapes of the botany cabinet using crayons. Circle the leaf shapes you know by name. 

Botany Cabinet Coloring.pdf
180 KB

How Many Leaves Do You See? ages 4 and up

Directions:  Color the leaves in each row. Count the number of leaves you see. Write the number in the square.

How Many Leaves Do You See.pdf
98 KB

Botany Cabinet Writing 1 ages 4 ½  and up

Directions:  Color the leaf shapes using crayons or colored pencils. Trace the letters to practice writing the names of each leaf shape.

Botany Cabinet Writing 1.pdf
256 KB

Botany Cabinet Writing 2 ages 5 and up

Directions:  Color the leaf shapes using colored pencils. Write the names of the shapes below using beautiful cursive.

Botany Cabinet Writing 2.pdf
190 KB

Botany Command Cards ages 5 and up

Directions:  Read the instructions and follow the commands.

Botany Command Cards.pdf
138 KB

Houseplant Leaf Study 1 and 2  ages 5 and up

House Plant Leaf Study.pdf
872 KB

shaded paper COLUMN lists.pdf
15 KB

Botany Cabinet 3 Part Cards ages 6 and up

Directions:  Print and cut the three-part cards. Each leaf shape will have a classified card, a printed slip, and a control card (depicting the classified card and its associated slip). Mix up the classified cards and slips. Use your knowledge of the leaf shapes to match the slips to the correct picture. Check your work with the control card.

Botany Cabinet Shapes 3 part cards.pdf
136 KB

Botany Cabinet Definition Cards ages 6 and up

Directions:  Read the definitions to learn more about each Botany Cabinet leaf shape. Try to memorize the definition for each shape.

Botany Cabinet Definition Cards.pdf
189 KB