Fall Activities

Are you looking for exciting fall activities to inspire your kids at the beginning of the new year?

Then have a peek at some of my ideas. I have tried to include a learning objective in most of activities but of course the kids don't have to know that! Hopefully they will just get involved and enjoy!


Leaves and Seeds

Literacy fall activities


As always, I looked for a story to introduce my theme of fall activities and found a wonderful book called Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. It has fabulous illustrations which captured the kids imagination. I also found loads of activities that I could do as follow up to the story, covering all strands of the curriculum! Yes! 

After reading the book to the kids, we tried to remember all the animals the Leaf Man had seen on his journey and made a list of the places he flew over.

We discussed what else he might have seen if the wind had kept blowing (and did some wind theme activities).

We also thought about how he must have felt landing in a strange place not knowing where he was and what was going to happen to him. I asked the children if they had ever moved to a different house and what it feels like to sleep in a new bedroom for the first time. What about their first day at school? How did they feel then? You could introduce words like lonely and unhappy to help them express their feelings more easily.


Go on a Leaf Hunt

The first one of our fall activities was to go on a leaf hunt.

We put on our wellies and armed with a bag we set off around the school grounds to collect as many different leaves as we could find.

The children wanted to pick up all kinds of other autumn booty such as conkers and acorns but I decided that this was a leaf hunt not an autumn scavenge hunt so leaves only this time please. 

When we got back to the classroom we tipped all the leaves out onto trays to allow them to dry a bit before we embarked on our next fall activity. [ don't forget to remind them to wash their hands!]


Make a Leaf Man

leaf-man-for-fall-activities

After reading the Leaf Man you just have to make one for yourselves.So I tipped a pile of leaves onto each table, together with some glue and let them create! 

If they preferred they could create one of the animals in the story like the chicken below!

This would be a wonderful fall activity to do for a Reading Cafe afternoon when you can invite all the parents in to help. Double the manpower and lots more creative ideas! Fall activities with a twist!


Make a Story Web for your Fall Activities

Now the kids have made their leaf man they must make up a travel plan for him.

Start by brainstorming some ideas altogether as to where he might go. When the children feel confident that they have enough ideas to start them off give them each a piece of paper and ask them to draw their leaf man in the centre.[ I found it easier to draw a circle for them first, so the picture ends up in the middle rather than in the corner!]

Then ask them to draw some places that their leaf man visited around the edge of the circle with an arrow pointing to each one like a web!

Older children can obviously explain in words where he went. Again it might be wise to draw boxes for them to write in so the writing doesn't end up overlapping!

This ended up being one of their favourite fall activities!


A Missing Poster

Of course the leaf man does go missing in the story so we decided to make posters to put up around the school just in case someone should come across him!

So again I gave them a plain piece of paper and asked the kids to draw their own leaf man on the sheet. I explained it must look as much like him as possible so they must draw him carefully using the right colours.

Then if the children are capable they could write a short description of him underneath the drawing.

Tell them it must catch peoples eyes so they must make it big and bold and bright.

They can finish it it off by designing a colourful border for their poster.One of the fall activities you can use for your display boards.


Leaf Man Puppets

One of the more fun fall activities for the kids to get involved in. They can make their own puppet and then get the puppet to tell its own story.

You will need

  • a paper bag, paper plate or just a stiff piece of card 
  • some PVA glue or similar
  • a craft stick or lolly stick
  • and plenty of imagination!

Start off by allowing the kids to make their leaf man puppet on the chosen background as they did before. It doesn't have to be the same this time. It will give them the chance to choose different leaves and make him look a real character! And of course they could make a leaf animal instead this time.

Once done get them to stick the lolly stick onto the back so they can hold him easily. If using a bag there is no real necessity to put a stick on at all.

Then it is over to them! The puppets could talk to one another. They could be interviewed by a ' journalist' and be asked questions about their adventures or re-enact the Leaf Man story in a classroom made puppet theatre.The choices are endless and they will be learning to tell a simple story which they could write down later on.Plenty of language practice too!


Make a leaf salad

Making a leaf salad with the kids as one of my fall activities proved to be a real hit!

I sourced as many different edible leaves as I could find in the garden and the supermarket and we all had a look at them and discussed who had eaten what. We looked at the varied colours of the leaves and the different shapes and sizes [good for math vocabulary!] and then we decided which ones we should put in our leaf salad. They all had strong ideas about what they liked so I thought it a good idea for them to make their own individual ones. A bit hairy but we did it over several days and in groups with my teaching assistant so they had time to talk about it.

We then wrote down the recipe. This was good practice for sequencing and for learning how to write a recipe down so that someone else could follow it. 

Then came the fun bit of eating it and telling the other children what they thought!


Math 

For the math fall activities I have listed them as most of them are self explanatory.

  • How many ways can they think of to sort the leaves that you all collected? They could sort by colour, shape ,weight ,size or by the ones they like or dislike. Let them choose the criteria
  • Put a conker on one side of a pair of scales and see how many leaves they have to put on the other side in order to make them balance
  • Make a leaf train. Line up 5 or 6 leaves end to end,.Estimate how long it is then measure it with unifix bricks or a rule. If they add another carriage [leaf!] How long is it now?
  • Draw round a leaf.Cut out its shape then try folding it in different ways to find its lines of symmetry.
  • Choose 5 plane or sycamore leaves [ ones with the same number of pointy bits on them] and use them to practice multiplication.
  • Take a handful of leaves and ask the kids to guess how many you have. Then count them. They can work with a friend and take turns in guessing and counting.

All these fall activities can be done with the kids while they are playing or during circle time. They do not have to be contrived tasks laid out on tables where every child has to have a go. A definite turn-off for kids in my experience!



Science 

Time for some more fall activities so let's go on an autumn scavenger hunt to collect some other stuff besides leaves. So get yourselves a plastic bag ,again, don your wellies and off you go!

Then make an Interest box, by tipping all your collection out into a big tray and allowing the children to rummage through it. Encourage them to talk about what things feel like, smell like and look like introducing vocabulary like prickly, smooth, crackly, musty etc

Most of your collection will consist of seeds. Ask the children why seeds are so important? Take one of your seeds and ask the children what they think it will grow into. You will get some pretty odd responses! But all part of the learning process!

Here is a list of fall activities you might like to try with your kids. They all have a science slant.

  • Make a leaf rubbing and have a careful look at its markings with a magnifying glass noting the veins, midrib and whether it has smooth or jagged edges.
  • How dirty is my leaf? Rub your leaf gently between a folded tissue and see what comes off the leaf. You could do the same with several leaves and order them from dirtiest to cleanest!
  • Devise a test to find out which conker is the strongest. They could try squeezing it, stamping on it, hitting it with something hard or dropping it from a height to see if it breaks.And of course they could have a conker championship with their own special conker and see who made the strongest
  • Investigate which winged seed travels the furthest. Try standing somewhere high and dropping them down. Does it make any difference to the distance they travel if they are dropped from a different height? 
  • Plants from your shoes. After your autumn scavenger hunt get the kids to scrape the mud and dirt from their boots into a small yoghurt pot and fill it with compost. Keep it watered and see if you can recognise any of the plants that emerge a bit later.
  • If you collected some fir cones whilst on your walk put one in a dry place and one in a damp place and see what happens. If their is dampness in the air the cone will stay shut whereas if it's in warm ,dry surroundings it will open up eager to spread its seeds. It will help you tell what the weather is going to be like too. Leave one outside the classroom and look each day to see if it open or closed.

I hope you can make use of some of my science fall activities. if you would like some more science activities for your kids you might like to visit my preschool science activities page where there are some more sciency things to try out!


Creative Fall Activities


Leaf Hanging

For this fall activity you will need:

  • some light coloured clay 
  • a knife
  • something to roll the clay out with such as a rolling pin
  • some autumn coloured paints
  • some thread

Roll the clay out to about the thickness of a thin cookie.

Put your leaf on the clay and press down hard so you get a nice clear print.

Cut round your leaf print carefully with your knife and make a little hole at the top with a pencil.

If you don't have a kiln available, which is very likely, you can leave your leaves in a sunny position for a few days until they have hardened up completely. Alternatively you could hasten the process by putting them in the oven on a very low heat overnight. 

Once the leaves are nice and hard use your lovely autumn coloured paints to paint your leaf.

Finish it off by varnishing it with watered down PVA glue and thread some string or cotton through the hole and there you have it! An autumn leaf for your autumn tree display for your  fall activities pin board.


Roly Poly Conker Painting

This is one of my favourite fall activities. Any age can do it and it doesnt need any particular skills to get a great result. So get yourselves some paint and a washing up bowl and get rolling!

[You might also need some white paper the same size as the bowl!]

Put the paper in the bottom of the washing up bowl and squeeze some paint onto it. The more vivid the colours the brighter the result will be.

Then simply drop some conkers in and start rolling!


Photograms

Photo grams are photos made without using a camera and although quite labour intensive are well worth the effort. I would not advise this activity for young children but I have done it successfully with children aged between 5 and 7 years providing they can follow instructions! 

You will need quite a few things I'm afraid!

  • Photographic paper which you can buy at a camera shop. you will only need a small pack.
  • A black bin bag
  • scissors
  • 2 rectangular plastic trays. One marked FIXER the other WATER
  • 2 pairs of plastic tongs [you can manage with one]
  • A bottle of developer, [again from a camera shop]
  • Glass jar labelled FIXER
  • pencils
  • some clipboards
  • one or more A4 sized pieces of perspex. I used one large one that was on our coffee table at home
  • Bulldog clips
  • Paper towels

I think that's all!

Before the lesson you will need to:

  • cut the pieces of photographic paper into smaller bits 9x7cms approx. This must be done in the dark so this is where your bin liner comes in!
  • collect leaves or plants with an interesting shape with which to make their photo gram
  • dilute the fixer [ the developer fluid]  1 part fixer to 3 parts water

First step:

I would tend to make these with a group of children rather than the whole class although I did it all together and it was quite a fun lesson but however you do it, get the children to sit at a table with their leaf or whatever, in front of them and tell them you are going to give them a piece of paper magic side down.The magic side is the slightly more creamy side and is the light sensitive side so must not be exposed until you say so.

Second step:

Now you must explain that when you say 'go' they must turn their paper over and arrange their leaves on it.They must do this quickly otherwise the photo gram will start to form.

Now carefully lift the papers onto the wooden boards and pop the perspex sheet or sheets on top.

Third step:

Now take the children outside and ask them to count to 10. The sunnier the day the better but even a cloudy day can produce excellent photo grams.You will know when they are 'cooked as the exposed paper will turn dark blue or black.

Fourth step:

I must admit I did the next step without the children being present as I was a little scared of the chemicals involved but with older children it would be good for them to see the process.

First you pour the diluted fixer solution into the fixer tray and fill the water tray with water.Spread paper towels over the table too.

Next remove the perspex sheet from the boards and shake off the leaves and place the photo gram into the fixer solution. There is no need to leave it very long because the sun has already done its work.Remove it with a pair of tongs, give it a good shake to make sure most of the chemical is off then submerge it in the water tray to get rid of any lingering nasties!

Fifth step:

Leave your photo grams to dry in a warm place and there you have it a picture you can keep for life!

This is one of the most time consuming of my fall activities but is by far the most exciting for the kids to watch. And of course you can do it at any time of the year with whatever is in season at the time. They would make wonderful Mothers day cards with a photo gram of a flower instead of a leaf.

This really is one of the most rewarding fall activities I have done with my kids so don't give up!


Physical Fall Activities


Sweetcorn Picking

This is one of the fall activities that helps develop hand/eye coordination and is fun for the kids to do.

All you need is some sweetcorn and some small pairs of plastic tweezers.

Put the sweetcorn in a tray and allow them to pick off as many pieces of corn as they can using the tweezers. Make it into a competition to see who can pick off the most. Helps thier counting skills as well!


Leaf Toss

How many times have we seen kids throwing leaves up in the air in autumn? Well this fall activity allows them to do this but with the added fun of a parachute! If you don't have one in school you can use a sheet or blanket instead.

Collect as many leaves as you can with the kids and empty them into the centre of your parachute.

Then with all the kids holding a bit of the parachute toss the leaves up in the air as high as they will go and see how many you can catch again!


Leaf Necklaces

Kids love making necklaces even the boys! So let them have a go at making their own. Another good hand/eye coordination exercise! Ssh they don't have to know!

You can use a needle and thread but from past experience this is a nightmare with young children as they are always asking you to thread their needle for them!! So I used some old shoe laces which have a solid end and well able to poke through a leaf providing its not too crunchy! Also there are laces that come with coloured beads which you can use instead. However if they are going to take them home it might have to be a case of using a needle and tying the thread on to it. At least then it's only the one time you have to do it!

Hidden objectives? The kids can count the number of leaves on their necklace. They can make a pattern with their leaves using colour or shape. They can measure it and see how long it is and compare the length of their necklace with that of a friend.

Older kids might like to find out the name of the tree their leaves came from. A good way to remember tree names!


Pass the Pumpkin

This is one of the fall activities you do just for fun!

You can do it outside or inside, sitting down or standing up and all you need is a large pumpkin and some spooky music.

Get the kids in a circle, play your spooky music and get the kids to pass the pumpkin around the circle until the music stops. Whoever is holding the pumpkin is either out or if you prefer the PC way they can be asked to do something Halloweeny, like dance like a goblin or make a witchy face. Carry on until they get bored or there is only one child left holding the pumpkin!


Make a Pixie a Home

This is another one of the outdoor fall activities where you can take the class for a walk around the grounds and collect a whole load of autumn stuff!

Tell the kids they are going to make a home for a fairy or a pixie with some of the material they collected. They could do this outside in a place that they think pixies would like to live. You could spend some time discussing what sort of home they might like to live in and where this might be.

When they have finished , it might be a good idea to take some photos so you have a record of their work and also so the children can write a description of their homes and perhaps make a story up about the pixie who lives inside!

If they haven't reached this stage they could tell the rest of the class about their pixie home. Good for language development!


I hope you found something useful in my Fall Activities page. Please feel free to look around my site for other ideas that will keep your kids both engaged AND continuing to have fun!

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