1. Fall nature walk

Fall is a great time to go on a nature walk to look for trees, leaves, and other items on the walk. Use the following activity to introduce this section of the Fall Theme.

Materials needed: 1 nature walk record sheet.pdf per person, 1 clipboard per person, crayons or markers.

  • Take your child outside on a nature walk so they can use their sense of sight to find and record the items listed on the worksheet. As each child finds/sees one of the items, they can circle or cross off the item from their list. When you return back home you can discuss things the children did and did not find.
  • You can also compare and contrast the items your family found. One child may not have seen a tree, but another may have. You can also see if they can recall what kind of items your children found. For example, one child may have crossed off the vehicle after seeing a blue car. Another child may have seen a red van. This activity can lead to a large follow-up discussion.
  • Extension #1: Depending on the season and your location, your children might be able to find different items or objects. Use the blank record sheet to write, draw, or glue on pictures of things you want your kids to find.
  • Extension #2: Have your children help you brainstorm a list of items they would like to find on their nature walk. Use the blank record sheet to write, draw, or glue on pictures of things that they want to try and find.

2. Fall sensory tubs

Materials needed:

  • An assortment of Fall items (i.e. apples, fall leaves – silk, plastic, and/or real)
  • Nuts (only if no allergies)
  • Pumpkins (miniature or plastic)
  • Assorted gourds)
  • Large plastic bin or drawer
  • bowls for sorting
  • Tongs/spoons/tweezers
  • Magnifying glasses.

Let your child explore the items as you assemble the sensory bin. Let them feel the different textures, see the variety of colors, smell the aromas, and listen for how each of the items sound as they are placed in the tubs.

Leave the tubs out and let your child explore on their own or with magnifying glasses. Set bowls out so that he or she can use different utensils to sort the items. Sort the items according to varying characteristics: bumpy, smooth, shiny, dull, smell/no smell, alike, different, etc.

3. Pumpkin playdough

Here is a recipe for making homemade pumpkin pie scented play dough. If kept in a sealed, air-tight Ziploc bag, this recipe will keep for at least a week or two.

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
6 drops red food coloring
15 drops of yellow food coloring

Instructions

Combine dry ingredients in a non-stick pan. Add oil, water, food coloring and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it forms a ball. Turn onto counter, let cool slightly, knead until smooth.
***Note: Please make sure children are aware that regardless of its name, this play dough is NOT for eating!***

4. Fall Nature Collage

Materials needed:

  • Small bags to collect items (such as a lunch bag or plastic grocery bag)—one per child
  • Miscellaneous items found in nature
  • Contact paper,
  • Scissors

First take your children on a nature walk around your house or neighborhood to collect miscellaneous items such as leaves, acorns, seeds, flowers, small twigs, etc. Children can collect the items they find in the small bags you choose to use.

After collecting different items, together you can set out a large piece of contact paper so that the sticky side is laying face up. You can take turns placing some (or all) of their nature items on the sticky side of the contact paper.

When finished you can either hang up the contact paper for your family to view and touch or if it is too heavy, you can lay it on the floor where it will not get stepped on. Children will enjoy looking at and touching the different textures and objects found on their walk.

5. Leaf memory game

Materials needed: Leaf shape cut-outs (store bought or cut from construction paper), permanent marker.

On each of the leaf shapes, write a letter, number, color or shape on one side of the leaf. Make matching pairs so there are two leafs for each letter, number, etc.

Lay all of the leaves face down on a table or floor in front of you. Take turns turning over two leaves and trying to find the matching pairs. If they make a match you can keep your leaf matches. If the leaves do not match, return to their original place and let another person try to find another matching pair. Continue until all matches have been found.

Thank you to The Preschool Tool Box for sharing this selection of awesome activities from their Fall Thematic Unit – you can purchase the whole unit here http://www.thepreschooltoolbox.com/thematic_units.html All of The Preschool Tool Box units are packed with songs, activities, book suggestions and more. Great for preschool/kindergarten teachers, homeschool parents or anyone with a young child.