The leaves are changing colors, the kids have costumes on their minds and everything is flavored with pumpkin spice. That’s right—it’s fall! You’ve scheduled hayrides, set your sights on apple picking, and have what seems like a buffet of autumn activities to choose from. Add an educational aspect to your fall family fun, and check out these awesome activities that the kiddos can learn from too.
What fall finds can your child scavenge out? Create your own nature hunt that helps your little learner to explore the fall season. Write out a few cute clues such as, “What’s red and leaves the trees this fall? Find three!” Your child would then collect three red leaves. Keep a bag handy, stashing the fall finds for later.
Take those fall leaves from the scavenger hunt and put them to use! Pour a rainbow of tempera paint onto a palette (or reuse a thick piece of cardboard for an eco-friendly, and inexpensive, version). Your artsy kiddo can finger paint the leaves or use a brush to create patterns and pictures on them. What’s your child learning by doing this? They’re exploring through their senses, learning about colors and building fine motor skills.
After the painted leaves dry, turn them into a festive fall wreath. Teach your child a lesson on helping out the planet and search the house for cardboard sources to reuse. Grab a crayon or marker and have your child draw a circle on the board (it’s the perfect opportunity to talk about geometry). Draw a smaller circle inside and cut the wreath frame out. You may need to help your child cut the cardboard—especially if it’s thick. Your young artist can paint the circle and then glue the leaves onto it.
Your kiddo isn’t exactly ready to pick up a knife and start carving. That’s okay. They can still decorate their very own pumpkin! Use paints or markers to color the pumpkin, or drizzle glue over it, and sprinkle glitter on top. Let letter-learning rule and practice the A,B,C’s. Yes, with pumpkins! Use letters stencils or let your child free-hand it, and paint them name or fall words (like leaf, fall or pumpkin) onto a series of pint size pumpkins. Each pumpkin gets one letter. After the paint dries, mix up the pumpkins and have your child puzzle them back together to make a word.
It’s fall fine motor fun! Push thumb tacks into a pumpkin, cut a piece of yarn and let your child weave away. They can wrap the yarn from peg to peg, making a design or creating a web-like pattern. Not only are they building eye-hand coordination and dexterity, but they’re also problem-solving and thinking critically as they figure out how to get the yarn from peg to peg.
You’re already headed to the farm to pick as many apples as the kids can hold – turn those apples into more than just something to eat! After the picking is over, let the color matching begin! Set out two bins, one green and one red. If you don’t have bins, you can cover shoe boxes with green and red paper, or take crayons or markers and color in a circle to indicate which is which. Have your child match green and red apples with the bins/boxes they belong to.
Get crafty with the fall leaves that your family collects. Your child already painted a few, now they can take their artwork to the next level. Press painted leaves onto construction paper to create fall-filled prints. Your child can use autumn colors like bright reds, rich oranges and vibrant yellows to make alternating patterns. They can also design little leaf people! Glue googley eyes to the leaf prints and paint on arms and legs to create tiny fall characters.
Making their way through a corn maze helps your kids to build memory skills. Turn the traditional maze run-through into an awesomely imaginative autumn activity with the help of some paper and crayons. Bring along a drawing pad, and have your kids map out the maze as you make your way through it. Turn the map into a fall-themed artwork after you’re done. Have your kids draw corn stalks, leaves or other fall symbols onto the edges.
Set up a fall obstacle course for the kids to crawl, run and jump through. Use hay bales, corn stalks and pumpkins to create obstacles. Divide the family into two teams and relay race through the course. Add a pile of fall leaves at the very end—whoever jumps in first, wins!
Remember those apples that you picked? What can you do with them? Set up a sensory activity for your child to try. Cut different types of apples up and set up a taste test! Sample the slices and ask your child to describe the differences. Encourage them to use descriptive language and phrases such as, “This apple is sour tasting” or, “This one tastes sweet, like a pie,” rather than words like “good” or “bad.” They can also describe how the apples smell, feel, and look.
Whether you’re spending the day at a local farm or simply walking through your neighborhood, you’ll find plenty to do this fall. Help your child to learn, grow and develop, all while getting in some family time together. So, what are you doing this fall? Taking the season to the next level with some super-charged family learning activities. And don’t forget to take some pictures! Compile the pictures from your fall family fun into a personalized board book chalked full of autumn adorableness.