We, as parents, often take the turning of the seasons for granted—after all it happens four times a year (for most of us).
But young children have only experienced a few cycles of the seasons. Each time they have experienced a season they have had a more complex sense of sight, sound, taste, and touch which to experience the world, making every season seem entirely new. Therefore, and rightly so, young children want to explore the outdoors as the seasons change. So take your child out in the fall weather and re-experience the wonder of autumn through his eyes, using a few of the activities below to get started.
3-D nature collage
- Take a short nature hike and collect medium – and small-sized nature objects, such as, colorful leaves, acorns, sticks, and rocks.
- Put a fist-sized piece of play dough in the middle of a plate and ask your little one to press it out, leaving at least a ½ inch of thickness.
- Ask your child to stick the found items in the play dough in any way that pleases him.
- Encourage him to try objects in different places to see what pleases him the most.
- If you wish add a candle to the middle of the collage to create a fall center piece for your dining room table.
- Use a fresh cob of corn or buy dried corn on the cob at a hardware store (sold as squirrel food). If using a dried cob rub off the corn kernels and have your child put the kernels out for the squirrels. Set aside the empty, dry corncob.
- Get together large sheets of paper (brown or white), tempera paint, a cookie sheet, and corn holders.
- Lay out a sheet of paper and put some paint on the cookie sheet.
- Stick the corncob holders in each end of the cob and show your child how to roll the cob through the paint and then across the paper.
- Enjoy making some messy, colorful fall patterns.
- Try cutting the corn into sections and making corn stamps by pushing the corn holders into the top. Enjoy the new pattern the corn cob can make.
Cornucopia decoration (good for a cold, rainy day)
- Create a fall decoration for your home using a piece of poster board, markers, scissors, glue, and home & garden magazines.
- Cut the poster board into a cornucopia shape. Outline the shape and make a circle on the broad top of the cornucopia shape.
- Page through magazines and cut out pictures of favorite foods and then glue the pictures inside the circle of the cornucopia.
- Use this as an opportunity to talk about planting, growing, and harvesting food.
Hopefully, one of these activities will start you and your child on a series of fall explorations. In other words, don’t stop here…Go on a leaf hunt and lay your finds out on the kitchen table as a centerpiece…pick apples and eat them right under the tree…set up a birdfeeder and look out the window several times a day. Your child’s keen senses will bring you a new appreciation of the wonders of the ever changing world around us.
By Anne Oxenreider