I love the change in seasons. As much as I enjoy eating watermelon and lounging by the pool, I’m always glad when the weather starts to cool off and the leaves start to change; and after soaking up winter cozied up inside, I welcome the fresh newness that spring brings. At the start of every season, I try to talk with my kids about the foods we’ll eat, different things we might see specific to that season, and special things we can look forward to as a family. I think fall is my favorite season with littles because it is finally cool enough to enjoy time outside, and there are just so many ways to engage the senses.
While fall looks different in various parts of the country, wherever you are, you’re probably starting to see pumpkins on porches, taste pumpkin spice in your lattes, and hear the crunch of leaves under your feet. Fall is full of sensory experiences that are so fun with kids!
To kick off this season, we put together a list of fun, (educational!), and easy things to do with your kids over the next few months. Most of these activities are short, can be done at home, and require little-to-no preparation, making them easy to fit in as you have time. We broke it down roughly by age, but read the whole list. A suggestion we mention for toddlers might spark an idea of something fun to do with your school-age child.
- Crunch leaves in hands.
- Walk through leaves barefoot.
- Smell the leaves.
- Go on a walk and talk about what you see, hear, and feel (wind, cool weather, birds, colorful trees, etc.)
- Talk about the wind, and let your kids see it blow the leaves or your hair.
- Make sensory/sound boxes with things you find outside. Take an old Kleenex or shoe box, fill it with rocks, tape it up and see how it sounds and feels. Do the same with a box of leaves and talk about the differences.
- Throw leaves. You could include some directives like “throw the leaves down on the ground” or “throw the leaves while running” to help develop listening skills and following directions. Or you could just watch your kids watch the leaves and enjoy the delight on their face as they do!
- Taste some fall foods. I love to go to Trader Joes for a smattering of delicious fall foods. They have a whole list of fall specialty items to delight all pallets.
- Read some books about fall. We love some of these book lists!
- Make a leaf collage. Let your kids take the lead with the glue.
- Color on or trace leaves.
- Do a leaf rubbing. (Lay a plain piece of paper over a leaf and go over it with the side of a crayon.)
- Talk about colors outside. Challenge kids to find different things in different colors (red leaf, brown acorn, yellow straw, etc.)
- Play “I spy” outside.
- Have a fall scavenger hunt. Items to find could include acorns, leaves, rocks, pinecones, hay/straw, pumpkins, etc.
- Talk about the different shapes, sizes, weights, and colors of the things you collect. Compare and contrast or sequence items.
- Play sink or float with the fall items you collect.
- Talk about different foods unique to the fall like soups and pumpkin, and let your kids help make one. We like this Taco Soup. Aside from browning the meat, the “cooking” mainly involves just dumping things in, so kids can do most of the prep.
- Have a fall scavenger hunt, and make it a competition for siblings or friends.
- Collect pinecones and see how tall of a “tower” your kids can make with them.
- Plant flowers, herbs, and autumn plants.
- Talk about in-season fruits (apples, cranberries, persimmon, grapes, figs, pomegranates, and cherries) and vegetables (pumpkins, squash, carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower). Hold a taste test for some of them.
- Rake leaves. See how big of a leaf pile you can create, or bless a neighbor by raking and bagging their leaves.
- Make pumpkin slime.
- Have a front-yard football game or game of catch.
- Introduce your kids to the thrill of Friday Night Lights at a local high school football game.
- Let your kids make a fall food like pumpkin bread or cranberry muffins. Kids who can read can probably manage a box mix with just some light supervision.
The advent of fall is a welcome relief after a long, hot summer, and the hustle of the holidays will be here before you know it. We hope some of these ideas encourage you to pause, take advantage of the change in seasons, and make some memories with your family!
-Lionheart Children’s Academy Marketing Team