Autumn is here and it always seems to come and go so quickly, leaving little time to enjoy the cool and crisp weather, all of the beautiful changing colors and fun Fall classroom activities. We have a variety of engaging, educational activities we want to share that fit into the various areas that preschoolers should be developing in—these include the aesthetic, affective, cognitive, language, physical, and social domains. Below are enjoyable autumn activities that can be great for both home and the classroom that that your kiddos will love and so will you! We also offer tips for how to infuse literacy into each and every project.
Aesthetics refers to the appreciation and interaction with nature and art in a meaningful way that allows children to openly express themselves. A cool way for your child to engage in this domain is to have them create leaf puppets. Students can explore nature by going outside and choosing their very own leaves—from there all you need is popsicle sticks, glue and fun decorations for students to use in creating their leaf puppets. To add literacy to this creative autumn project, read the text “Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert either before or after the creation of the puppets—I did this with a class of three-year-olds and they LOVED it!
A great fall activity for the affective domain is having children taste test different types of apples. This can teach children about the similarities and differences between themselves and their peers and also teaches them about opinions, which are important components of development in the affective domain. I implemented this in my preschool classroom by having slices of red, yellow, and green apples and allowing students to try a slice of each. After tasting all three, they reported which one they most preferred and then assisted me in recording their response on a chart. This not only taught the students about choices and how each individual has different preferences, but it also introduced them to graphing and gave them a chance to write/see their name written on the chart. The children could also take part in preparing the apples and materials to teach them about the maintenance of classroom supplies.
To support students in acquiring and evaluating new types of knowledge, teaching children about the life cycle of a pumpkin can provide students with many valuable skills relating to math and science. Pumpkins can be introduced into the classroom in many ways such as through books, videos, or even by visiting a pumpkin patch. The students can then construct the life cycle of a pumpkin on paper—this could be done using pictures to represent the seed, sprout, vine, flower, and pumpkin or you could use physical objects (provide the text to accompany the pictures or materials to provide language exposure as well!). Discussing the stages of a growing pumpkin teaches many skills regarding life cycles and can lead into the conversation of how all living things have various characteristics, needs and processes that they undergo. It’s amazing how much can be learned in such a simple, fun and engaging project! To dig even deeper into the lesson, consider having students explore the inside of the pumpkin. If you provide materials such as tweezers and scoops for the children to use this activity also supports the physical domain through the improvement of fine motor skills.
Language is obviously important at all ages but especially so in young, developing minds that are just beginning to gain experience with text. Some fun ways to introduce letters, words, and sentences to children could include a fall scavenger hunt or making apple cinnamon play dough. For a fall scavenger hunt, have pictures of fall items hidden around the classroom (such as a pumpkin, scarecrow, leaf, wagon, apple, etc.) and have a sheet for each student that includes each picture, the accompanying text, and a box for the students to check off. Students can work in groups for this activity, which then incorporates social skills in that children are learning how to cooperate with one another. This is a great way to familiarize students with text and teach them the importance of words—this could be done any time of the year if the theme of the scavenger hunt is just changed!
The second activity, creating apple cinnamon play dough, teaches a variety of skills including measurement, following directions, and how to decode new types of text. This is another great activity for promoting students to work together. Below is our recipe, this is such a fun activity for little ones and is so rewarding working towards an end product!
We hope you and your kids get the chance to try out all of these festive fall activities and that you enjoy them as much as we have! Happy fall!