In today’s post Lauren of Teacher Types shares seven play and learning ideas for exploring Autumn with toddlers, preschoolers and bigger kids.
You can feel it in the air can’t you? The heatwave is over, it’s cooler in the mornings and evenings, the trees are telling you… it’s Autumn. Today I have gathered together a few of my favourite Autumn activities, arranged in an approximate age appropriate order, starting with those just perfect for involving the little ones.
1. Autumn Leaf Collection
What a better way to explore the start of the season than with a nature walk to collect beautiful Autumn leaves. They provide such a great springboard for all sorts of learning – comparison, contrast and matching, developing descriptive vocabulary, counting, measurement, and they invite discussion about all manner of science related topics. Try asking your child to tell you (or draw for you) how they think the colour got into the leaf! Enjoyable for all ages.
2. Autumn Leaf Suncatcher
After my little Miss M (2 years old) and I returned from our nature walk, I carefully placed some of the autumn leaves we collected onto a laminating sheet and laminated in the hope of preserving them a little longer. Some leaves don’t keep their colour that long – but these looked nice and bright for a day. Stuck onto a window or glass door they provide a wonderful visual display for babies and toddlers.
3. Autumn Themed Sensory Play
Sensory play is wonderful for babies and toddlers and there are all sorts of fabulous items to explore right there in your pantry! Pasta, oats, lentils and dried beans were fabulous for representing the colours of autumn. Add some small containers, plastic bottles and spoons or scoops for free exploration.
4. Leaf Pictures
Preschoolers and older children will have a great time creating their own leaf pictures. Simply glue the leaf down and add additional features with marker pens. Encourage creative thinking by asking your child, “What else could this leaf become?”
5. Fingerprint Autumn Tree
I love this idea! Now I can’t claim that my two year old did this one (I did) but I think that children aged 3 and up will enjoy this one. Use some nice strong glue to stick some twigs onto a canvas. When dry, use red and orange paint and ask your child to make the leaves using their fingerprints.
6. Autumn Leaf Garland
I used the laminated leaves from the suncatcher and cut them out individually to thread onto a garland. You could, of course, use your leaves without laminating them. Children aged 4 and up should be able to use a hole punch and once they have punched a hole in each leaf they can thread the leaves onto a piece of string. Great for fine motor development (little muscles in the hands) and a pretty decoration.
7. Leaf Rubbings and Mandala Patterns
Leaf rubbings can be tricky but school aged children should be able to give it a good go. Put your leaf under your paper and rub over it with a crayon. I cut them out and then used the shapes to create this lovely mandala pattern using a combination of rubbings and real leaves. Your rubbings could also be used to create the Leaf Pictures shared above.
Well there you have it! 7 Autumn activities for you and your children to enjoy this season. Don’t forget to take advantage of the season and embrace your inner child, get out amongst the leaves with your kids – scrunch them, jump in them and throw them high in the air!
For those of you on the other side of the world, you might like to check out my Summer Time Activities post! Because it won’t be long until you’re enjoying the long, sunny Summer days.