What’s your family’s favorite way to celebrate fall? Chances are depending on where you live, fall weather can vary – one day it can be beautiful, but it can also involve snow and cooler temperatures – making it tricky to think of and plan family-friendly activities for the season. Try these fun, indoor and outdoor ideas that will give you time for family bonding and will help support your child’s learning and development.
Fall Family Activities with Learning in Mind
1. Make a Game with Pumpkins
Visit a pumpkin patch (many are following enhanced health and safety protocols), and, in addition to your pumpkin for carving, pick out a variety of mini pumpkins and gourds with your child. Once you get home, create a sorting game and have your child sort by color, shape, and size. You can also introduce the concept of comparison here, by having your child arrange the pumpkins and gourds from smallest to largest – and vice versa.
2. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
What better time to go for a nature walk or hike than now? The leaves are changing color and the air is crisp, making it the perfect time to get out there and explore. Set up a scavenger hunt and challenge your child to find and collect natural items as you walk, such as leaves, acorns, and pinecones, or things of a certain color.
3. Make a Nature Art Project
The same items you picked up on the scavenger hunt can be used as art supplies. Put them out, along with paper, paint, and glue, and see what your child creates! Leaves are especially versatile – show your child the different things you can do with them, like using crayons to create leaf rubbings, tracing them onto paper, or creating a nature collage.
4. Challenge the Senses
Help your child explore different textures and develop her fine motor skills and vocabulary by putting a collection of objects together in a bin or box for her to touch and look at. These objects can include dried ears of corn and/or kernels, dried beans, leaves, acorns, rocks, gourds, or mini pumpkins. Then, add tools like tongs or scoops she can use to move the objects around. Provide additional containers so she can move objects from one to another. This is especially fun for babies!
5. Cook with Fall Flavors
Go on an apple picking adventure (again, check in first with the orchard to ensure they’re following the latest health and safety protocols) and bring some home to bake an apple pie. Lay out the appropriate measuring tools and help your child read the amount of each ingredient you’ll need. Then, have him scoop the ingredients into a bowl and mix it all together.
6. Give Thanks
Talk with your child about Thanksgiving and what it means to be thankful. Then, share what you’re both thankful for. Flip through magazines together to find pictures of each thing. Cut them out, glue them onto a piece of paper, and make a collage (if you don’t have magazines, draw pictures instead!). If your child knows how to write each letter, help sound out the words and write what each item is under its picture.
Fun and Learning this Fall
This fall, no matter what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, there are plenty of educational activities that your child will enjoy. They’ll contribute to your child’s development by incorporating things like fine motor, language, cognitive, social, and emotional skills. And plus, they’re fun for the whole family!
I’m a former Bright Horizons pre-kindergarten teacher living out my passion for writing and kids in the BH home office. I love all things crafty and am a self-proclaimed good cook, always looking for a new recipe to try. On any given weekend, you’ll find me and my husband trying a new brunch spot or hiking with our fur child, Jordy, a Mini Australian Shepherd.
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