Fun in Fabulous Fall: Introducing Preschool Children to the Wonders of the Season!
Fall Activities for Preschoolers for You to Use All Season and Addressing all Developmental Areas
Dancing like the leaves
Falling from the trees
Swaying like the trees
Shaking all the leaves
- Amalia Willis
The most obvious sign that Fall has arrived is the changing color in the leaves. Fall is quite distinct as sometimes it’s like enjoying a lot of different seasons in one day. The mist in the morning, warmth in the day and a crisp afternoon make Fall, all in all, a very enjoyable time of year!
At preschool we can still take full advantage of our outdoor environment in the Fall months. What better way than to enjoy a teddy bear’s picnic under an autumn tree full of wonderful colors? (If you do, I recommend you look at my resource on Teddy Bears, which comprehensively covers Teddy Bears’ picnics!)
I like to use this time of the year to make sure we maximize play-based learning activities for the children:
- The fun of chasing the wind by flying kites and catching falling leaves.
- Watching squirrels scampering about storing food.
- Piling leaves up to make cubby houses.
- Watching the birds heading south for the winter.
During Fall, as with all times of the year, utilize your own environment as well as your families and local community.
- Changes in Nature
- Seasons – Fall
- Colors, numbers, alphabet, shape and size
- Environment and sustainability
Fall experiences can develop and refine the following skills:
- Environmental and sustainability awareness
- Gross Motor
- Fine Motor
- Music and Movement
- Creative Arts
Below you will find Fall activities for preschoolersto cover all of these skills and developmental outcomes. A materials list is included at the end.
I hope you enjoy Fall (my favorite time of the year). I also love to see how you use my activities in your classroom!
Lead and encourage conversations about the seasons and the changes we see as we transition from summer to fall. Some conversation starters you can use include:
- What is your favorite season?
- What do you like about Fall?
- What don’t you like about Fall?
- How do we know that Fall has arrived?
- What makes Fall different from Summer?
As early childhood educators, we need to encourage and support the development of children’s observational skills. The best way to do this, I find, is by asking open-ended questions:
- What changes have we noticed in the weather?
- What changes have we noticed in the trees?
- What changes have we noticed in the plants?
- What changes have we noticed in the animals?
- What clothes do we wear at this time of year?
- What colors do you notice in the trees?
Environmental and Sustainability:
Fall leaves are a great way to teach about the environment and sustainability. In most places, we have access to Fall leaves in abundance!
Activity idea: Make number, alphabet and name cards using the Fall leaves that you have collected. If possible, collect the leaves as a class. To do this you can:
- Write a child’s name on a leaf
- Write numbers 1 to 10 on individual leaves
- Use 26 leaves for the alphabet
You can discuss with the children how we are saving paper by using our natural materials. You can also discuss how leaves are good resources for mulch, compost, art and craft.
- Collect a variety of leaves that can be sorted and classified by size, shape and color.
- Compare mounds of leaves. Make comparisons between full and half full wheelbarrows.
Use this time to create a variety of book experiences.
Read books about fall:
- Leaves by David Ezra Stein
- Fall Leaves Fall! by Zoe Hall
- Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
- We’re Going On a Leaf Huntby Steve Metzger
Research Fall with your children through available technology.
Make your own sensory book using leaves.
If you would like to read more about creating book experiences in the classroom, check out Reading Comprehension for Preschool Teachers.
Physical (Gross Motor):
Fall is a great time of year to be outside. Children can, for example:
- Run in the leaves
- Play hide and seek in the leaves
- Shovel, rake and scoop the leaves
Physical (Fine Motor):
Here are some fine motor Fall activities to stimulate little fingers:
- Trace around a leaf onto paper and then cut out the outline.
- Thread leaves onto a fine stick; pierce a hole through the leaf and push the leaf onto the stick.
- Make your own leaf puzzles; trace around a large leaf and draw lines on the natural leaf to form a puzzle. Cut the leaf along the lines and reassemble, using the traced outline as a base.
- Use Fall-colored sticker dots to trace the outline of a leaf. The dots can be used to make color sequences.
Use the senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell to investigate and explore Fall.
Provide opportunities for the children to experience using their senses, including:
- The moist grass and the feel of the leaves under their bare feet
- The taste of seasonal fruit and vegetables
- Listening to the sounds of animal life and the wind in dry leaves or handmade wind chimes
- Exploring the natural colors of Fall
- The smell of wet grass in the morning.
You can fill an extra-large box or a ‘saucer’ with leaves for the children to sit or lay in or throw the leaves up into the air.
Children can be involved in group play experiences, too; here are some examples I’ve found to work really well:
- The children can make a treasure map and be involved in making and hiding the treasure chest. The path to the treasure can be made of leaves.
- Fill a trough with leaves. Hide some objects (for example: acorns, feathers and shells) for the children to find.
- The children can go on a leaf hunt together. With the collected leaves, the children arrange them onto a piece of pre-cut sticky book covering (make it slightly larger than the table that you will be using). With help, turn the covering over and press it down onto the table. The table will then have a Fall leaf cover. You can use the table as a dough table, lunch table, etc.
Experiments can be used to investigate wind and air and leaves. You can investigate how leaves need water and sunlight.
Flying a kite is one science experiment to explore wind and is so much fun for the children:
- A simple kite can be made from a paper bag, with colored streamers glued at the closed end and a length of string at the open end to hold onto
Music and Movement:
The children can use musical instruments to explore different sounds for leaves gently falling from a tree or the howling wind. They can also use their body to twirl and spin like the falling leaves.
- Children can choose a leaf to paste on their art paper and then use paint or markers to create a picture or abstract based on the leaf. The leaf may, for instance, resemble a spider or a dinosaur body. This is a good follow-up activity from reading the story “Leaf Man” by Lois Ehlert.
- Paint the vein side of the leaf green. Turn leaf over and press it onto art paper. While the leaf is still on the paper, choose a Fall-colored paint to make stroke-like brushes around the leaf shape, then remove the leaf to reveal a beautiful, intricate leaf design. This can be done as a group project using a roll of paper to work on. It then makes a great fall backdrop or bulletin board.
- On one piece of paper, use blue colored water to wash over your paper. On a second piece of paper use a sponge to dab on Fall colors. Have one sponge per color. I usually include red, yellow, orange and brown. When the sponged paper is dry, fold it in half. On the back of the folded paper, pencil a curvy line about 1 inch from the edge along 3 sides (not along the folded edge). Open up the paper and glue it as a frame onto the blue washed paper. Use the offcut sponge paper to cut out leaf shapes. I ordinarily use leaves we have collected ourselves for this.
For the activities outlined above, most materials should be available at your preschool already.
To collect fall leaves, enjoy a walk with your children and maybe invite your families to join in as you collect them.
- Art paper
- Paint-(green, red, yellow, orange, brown)
- Paint brushes
- Paint sponges
- Glue and brushes
- Collection of Fall leaves
- Fall-colored sticker dots
- Box (for treasure chest)
- Fall-colored paper
- Colored pencils, crayons and markers
- Trough with naturals objects to hide and find
- Clear book covering
- Paper bags
- Streamers and string
- Drinking straws
- Musical instruments
- Leaf templates
- Blue-colored water
In addition to enjoying the beauty of this season, Halloween and Thanksgiving are special holidays associated with Fall. You may like to explore the significance of each and designate a time to celebrate with your families.