Fall is a fun time of year for families. There’s so much to do — from apple picking to hayrides and visiting farmer’s markets. Here’s a great list of different preschool fall activities that will keep your little ones busy all season.
Exploring Nature's Colors
Fall is a great time for your child to learn about the outside world, science and colors through nature exploration. Even if you live somewhere that doesn’t change throughout the months, there are plenty of photos and videos you can show your child so they can experience the magic of autumn!
- Leaf shapes: Take nature walks and collect some leaves. Use the leaves to help educate your children on shapes and colors. Have them trace the leaf shapes onto construction paper and cut them out. You could also have them make leaf rubbings by placing a leaf underneath a piece of paper. Then gently rub a crayon over top of the leaf.
- Leaf counting: Another way to use your nature walk as an opportunity to reinforce numbers by counting leaves collected on your journey.
Fall harvest time provides another educational opportunity for your child. Discuss the life cycles of outside elements like fruits, vegetables and trees. There are many different ways to learn about fall through sensory bins, painting and life cycle activities.
- Pumpkin drop: A fun activity to help with fine motor skills is a pumpkin drop. All you need is a jar, tongs and some acrylic pumpkins. Put the acrylic pumpkins on a table, then have your preschooler grab them with the tongs and place them into the jar.
- Acorn shaker bottle: Collect different sized acorns with your child, then have them fill multiple bottles with their acorns. Not all of the acorns will fit, encouraging the development of your child’s problem-solving skills. Have them fill each bottle to different levels and, once completed, the shakers will produce unique sounds depending on the fullness of the bottle.
- Life cycle: This harvest activity educates your child about the life cycle of trees, apples or even pumpkins. Start with seeds found from pumpkins or apples and talk through all the different stages. Try drawing out the different stages. If you have the space, you could also try growing plants inside and watching lifecycles happen in real time. Plants that grow well inside include basil, radishes, leafy greens and plain old grass!
There are endless fun fall arts and crafts for children including painting, sculpting and coloring. Fall craft activities can help strengthen your child's motor skills while providing them with an engaging project.
Try the following fall craft ideas with your child this season:
- Tissue paper pumpkins: Cut pieces of tissue paper and glue them to a pumpkin with your child. Mini pumpkins are also great for younger children because a regular pumpkin may be too big. Keep going until the entire pumpkin is covered.
- Corn painting: De-husk an ear of corn together (a fun activity for children by itself!). Then, have them cover the corn in paint so they can roll it over paper to create different patterns. This is a great way to learn about textures.
- Pumpkin seed tree: Start by painting pumpkin seeds a mix of fun fall colors with your child. While those dry, take a blank sheet of paper and have them create a tree trunk and branches. Finish by gluing the dry painted seeds to the tree branches.
Seasonal Sensory Play
Use the fall season to create themed sensory play bins for your child. Sensory bins stimulate your child's senses, exposing them to various textures and materials.
Try these excellent fall sensory bins with your child:
- Autumn yarn sensory bin: Fill a bin with fall colored yarn. Then add in some fake leaves and acorns for different textures.
- Fall leaf sensory bin: Incorporate tools in your fall sensory activity. Fill a bin with popcorn kernels and fake leaves. Try using different types of fake leaves for different tactile experiences. Provide your child with a scooping device like spoons or measuring cups to practice their motor skills.
- Fall leaf soup bin: This activity requires adding water, food coloring and acrylic leaves to a bin. Provide your child with kitchen utensils like pots, bowls, spoons and whisks. Then let your child create their own leafy soup!
There are many fall festivities to celebrate from Halloween to Diwali and Thanksgiving. Try incorporating these holidays into your fall fun!
- Pumpkin painting: All you need is a mini pumpkin and some acrylic paint for this fall activity. Have your child cover the pumpkin in paint, make a silly face or use this opportunity to show how mixing two colors can create a new color for them to use.
- Pinecone animals: Have your child create unique centerpieces for your holiday table. For this craft you’ll need a glue gun, some googly eyes and felt. Your child will love creating animals out of these supplies that will be displayed for all to see.
Another fun fall activity is cooking and baking! There are so many delicious treats that you can make with your children.
- Pumpkin seeds: Take a trip to a pumpkin patch and have your child pick out their perfect pumpkin. Carve the pumpkin together, allow your child to feel the insides of the pumpkin for some sensory stimulation and save the seeds to roast for a tasty treat after.
- Apple snacks: Take a trip to an orchard and use the apples picked to make an apple pie, applesauce or apple chips. Let your child help you in the kitchen. They can measure, pour and stir. Letting them help you cook teaches them practicing decision-making skills, collaboration as well as planning and practicing organization.