The cool Autumn nights have arrived and we are sadly saying goodbye to Summer. Let’s make the most of this upcoming season with Fall activities! Show children how they can embrace Autumn. I imagine apple picking is on your list and maybe a corn maze as well. Try these Fall activities to extend the fun and learning after such outings.
Post Apple Picking Fall Activity
Every family loves apple picking, but then you have sooo many apples. You’ve probably baked every apple recipe you can think of. Now, why not try a craft with a few apples? To prepare cut two apples in half, based on how many paint colors you may use. Start off by helping your children trace their hand and forearm on a brown piece of construction paper. Have them cut it out, or offer help for younger children. Pass out a white piece of paper and ask them to glue it on the bottom middle (with their fingers pointing upward). Can your children follow the instructions with the positional words, correctly? If not that is okay. You can talk about different positional words to further their learning of the vocabulary, such as: in, middle, top, bottom, under, and over, and next to.
Next, ask your children what colors leaves turn in the Fall. With their answers, put out those colors on a paper plate. Now you will use the halved apples as stamps. Put a fork in the skin side of the apple as a handle. Have your children put ‘leaves’ on the branches of their tree (traced finger tips). With additional paint your child can add more detail to their Autumn picture, such as: birds, pumpkins, apples, scarecrows, or anything in their imagination!
Autumn Corn Sensory Bin
The second of these Fall activities is with corn. Pick up some fresh corn and also two bags of popcorn. Note, I always looked for dried corn in with the dried beans and peas, but it makes more sense that it is of course with the microwavable popcorn at the store. At home dump the corn into a water table or big plastic bin. When the cold weather comes, we clean out our water table and bring it in for Fall and Winter sensory play. Add in cups, spoons, farm animals, and a tractor. Your child will of course get right into scooping and dumping, so you may have to show them what is inside the corn husk. Together, explore all your senses. And tomorrow use the corn on the cob again for a painting activity.
What does it sound like when you dump the corn kernels?
What colors make up the outside and inside of the whole corn?
How does the corn silk feel as you peel the layers back?
Corn doesn’t have much of a smell to it, but the juice does. My child figured out how to pop an individual piece of corn on the cob with his finger tip, expressing corn juice! This also brought in a new sense of touch.
Lastly, there is taste. I do not encourage this one, but sometimes children see the husked corn and go in for a bite. I warned my child that it was not cooked, but he had to see for himself. He soon learned through cause and effect that it did not taste good uncooked.
Scavenger Hunt & Autumn Wreath
Head outside with a pail and scavenger hunt list or turn it into a game of iSpy. You could say, “I spy three acorns.” The kids will be on the lookout and can ad them to their pail. Once you have all your items, ask the children if there are any more favorite nature items they would like to add. For the wreath, I suggest at lots of different shaped leaves, pine cone, acorns, and perhaps a dandelion if there are any left.
Make your way back to the house and go through all the collected nature treasures. Talk about what kind of tree they came from, why they fell off the tree, how they smell and feel. You can read TheLeaves on the Trees, by Thom Wiley to help identify different leaves. Then set out glue and pre-cut a circle with the middle cut out to look like a wreath or donut (use cardboard or paper plate). Let the kids decorate their wreath. Once it’s dry put it on the front door to decorate for the Fall season.
Pumpkin STEM Towers
For the last of the Fall activities, purchase Zachary jelly pumpkin candies and toothpicks at your local grocery store. Set out, in a plastic bin or cookie sheet, the two materials and ask the child what they want to build. You could say, I am going to build a house and show them how the toothpicks connect two pumpkins. Try not to use the word candy, children under 3 may not even realize what it is. If your child does try to eat it, perhaps say they can have one now and one at the end, to limit the sugar intake. Have fun with this and if a tower falls down, talk about why it did and how to make the base stronger. Be aware of the sharp point of the toothpicks and only offer this activity with adult supervision.
Try all of these Fall activities over the next few weeks and of course be sure to add in some pumpkin carving, baking, and more Fall Fun. Nannies, parents, and caregivers expand your knowledge on children learning through play in one of our popular online classes: Encouraging Curiosity & Learning Through Play.
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About The Author
Kelsey Dickson has over 15 years of experience working with children as a nanny, preschool teacher, and now a mother. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education and works for Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny as the eLearning Manager. Check out our online childcare classes, such as Baby Sign Language and Sleep Coaching 101! In her free time she enjoys gardening with her son, going for walks with her husband and dog, and discovering local wineries in New England.