Fall is a special time of year with changing leaves, cooler temperatures, apple-picking season, and opportunities to use nature to help your preschoolers develop new skills. Adding fall activities to your curriculum will excite your preschoolers about the season while helping them develop their creative, cognitive, social-emotional, and problem-solving skills.
This article explores common fall themes to incorporate into your preschool classroom as well as creative activities to inspire you throughout the autumn months.
Fall themes for preschool
Using themes is a great way to get children excited about participating in new activities. Themed lessons use a central topic to connect lessons in multiple subjects. Using themes in your preschool curriculum will help your children connect what they learn to their experiences outside of the classroom. Themes can also help you develop activities that benefit your children’s unique learning styles and add variety to your curriculum. Here are some fall themes to explore as you prepare for the season.
Apples are a simple and fun theme to incorporate into your fall-themed activities. You can incorporate literacy activities centered around the letter “A”, use different types of apples to teach about colors, or practice counting apples to introduce your class to early math skills.
If available, you may also consider taking your children on a field trip to go apple picking or have them sample apple juice or applesauce at snack time to further highlight the apple theme.
You can also use an apple theme in your arts and crafts activities and help children color apple cut-outs and hang their masterpieces around the classroom.
Pumpkins and fall go hand-in-hand. Introduce the children to pumpkin seeds and discuss how they grow. Consider gathering a few pumpkins for activities like painting faces on pumpkins. You can also explore how pumpkins are harvested and even make pumpkin soup.
Fall is an ideal time to discuss how animals prepare for colder months. Outdoor activities such as scavenger hunts and mini-safaris are great options to explore. You can also help the children draw or paint their favorite hibernating animals.
Discussing leaves and how they change allows preschoolers to explore the science behind fall. Have the children collect various leaves and put them in a scrapbooking album or make a garland of leaves by stringing them together on string or pipe cleaners.
Exploring different types of weather is a great outdoor activity for preschoolers during the autumn months. You can discuss how the weather changes and what type of weather is typically seen during the fall season.
The fall season features a lot of beautiful colors in nature. Celebrate the harvest season by making apple cider, picking pumpkins from a local farm, or pushing a wheelbarrow full of hay and other fall crops around the playground.
Fall colors theme
Introduce fall colors like orange, yellow, brown, and red by inviting your preschoolers to complete creative projects using these colors. You can also discuss why the colors are special during this season.
With cold winter weather approaching, this is a good time to teach children about animals that hibernate and why they do. Have them explore outdoors to look for evidence of animals and insects getting ready for winter.
For a neat hibernation activity, consider having the children bring in their favorite stuffed animal, a pillow, and a blanket to create a snug bed/den for their animal to sleep/hibernate in.
Celebrating Thanksgiving allows children to explore the meaning of gratitude and learn about the importance of giving thanks. Activities such as making cards, creating a "thankful tree," or writing letters to family members are great ways to teach children about the holiday. Also, consider having a Thanksgiving feast by allowing the children to create a menu of simple treats to prepare.
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September activities for preschoolers
September often brings changing leaves and cooler weather. Here are some activities you can consider during this month.
Choose fall-themed songs and let children sing and dance along. Here are a few songs to kick off your fall celebration:
- Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down: This catchy tune teaches children about the changing leaves.
- Ten Little Turkeys: This song teaches preschoolers about numbers.
- Pumpkin Patch: This tune reinforces phonics and is sure to get your preschoolers hopping around the classroom as they sing about fall and the pumpkin patch.
This paper plate scarecrow craft requires only a few supplies and will inspire your preschoolers to get creative. You’ll need large paper plates, scissors, glue, tissue paper, and orange, yellow, brown, and white construction paper. Use the construction paper to cut out scarecrow eyes, nose, hair, and hat. Help each child glue the different shapes to the paper plate to create a face.
This activity is a great opportunity to teach your preschoolers about healthy eating habits as they explore their sense of taste. You can use an apple tasting printable or simply have a discussion about the different apples as you sample them. Slice different apple varieties such as granny smith, gala, pink lady, and fuji, into small pieces and arrange them in bowls. Have the children sample a piece of each apple and describe how it tastes. For example, is it sweet or tart?
October activities for preschoolers
October provides many opportunities to explore nature and learn about the fall season. Give your preschoolers memorable experiences with these activities:
This activity will allow children to practice their observation and communication skills. Take your preschoolers on an outdoor adventure to explore the leaves in their environment and have them collect different types of leaves and take them back to the classroom for further observation. Encourage them to look closely at each leaf's shape, size, and color, and then tell you what they see.
Rainy day craft
Rainy days provide a great opportunity to learn about the weather and create art projects like this rain craft.
Pumpkin decorating is one of the best Halloween activities for preschoolers. Get some mini pumpkins, paint, or markers and let your children decorate them with their own unique designs. They can work independently or in small groups to develop teamwork and collaboration skills.
November activities for preschoolers
Celebrate the month of November with these activities:
Autumn leaves art
There are many seasonal activities that you can bring into the classroom during November that will stimulate your preschoolers' imaginations. For this fall leaf craft, gather some leaves from outside. You’ll also need construction paper, crayons, and a glue stick. Draw a leafless tree on the construction paper and allow children to color the tree and glue the leaves onto the branches.
Thanksgiving handprint tree
November is an appropriate time to incorporate Thanksgiving activities for preschoolers into your lesson plans. Crafts like this Thanksgiving handprint tree can help you explain the concept of gratitude to your children as well as create a visual representation you can reference throughout the season.
November is a great time to teach your preschoolers about harvests and fruits and vegetables that grow in the fall. For this corn painting activity, you’ll need ears of corn, orange, red, and brown paint, and paper. This activity can help your preschoolers practice their motor skills and explore colors as they use an ear of corn to stamp and roll paint onto paper.
Outdoor fall activities for preschoolers
Fall’s cooler weather and changing leaves make it an ideal time to explore the outdoors with your preschoolers. Outdoor activities give preschoolers opportunities to explore the world outside of the classroom. Holding lessons outside can improve your children’s moods, help them learn to care for nature, and encourage them to use their imaginations. As you’re lesson planning, consider the below ideas to turn outdoor activities into learning experiences for your preschoolers.
Getting outdoors allows children to connect with nature by observing and learning about fall events, like changing leaves and hibernating animals preparing for winter. A nature walk is a great way to help preschoolers learn to appreciate nature and teach them about the plants and animals that live outside your center. Take your preschoolers on a short walk outside your center and encourage them to observe their surroundings. Consider reading books about changing leaves and animals before the walk to get the children excited about what they may discover on their nature walk.
Autumn scavenger hunt
This activity will help your preschoolers become more aware of the changing colors during autumn while also learning about nature. You can create a list of items or use a printout for this outdoor adventure. Let children go on a scavenger hunt and collect all items you have on the list.
Fall-themed sensory bin
Sensory bins are great for preschoolers, as they stimulate their senses and help build fine motor skills. To make your fall-themed sensory bin, go outside and gather fall items like leaves, pinecones, acorns, and twigs and add them to a container filled with dried rice or beans.
Handprint fall tree craft
Nothing says fall like a tree covered in red, brown, orange, and yellow colored leaves. Take this activity outside for easier clean-up. All you need for this handprint activity are yellow, brown, orange, and red washable paints, white paper, and a paintbrush. First, draw a tree trunk on the paper. Pour the paint into bowls and help the children dip their hands in the paint or brush it on with a paintbrush. Then, have them stamp handprint “leaves” on the tree trunk.
Pine cone painting
You can take your preschoolers outside to explore nature and search for pine cones for a simple pine cone painting activity. For this craft, you’ll need pine cones, paint, paper, and a cardboard box or pan. To prepare, put paint colors in a bowl or paper plate for dipping and place a sheet of blank paper in the bottom of the box or pan. Dip or roll the pine cones in paint and drop them into the box. Roll the pine cones around the paper to create a unique design. This is a simple process art activity that encourages children’s creativity as they explore different textures and patterns in an open-ended way.
Engage children with fall activities
Fall activities can encourage children to explore nature and be creative as they learn more about the season. With just a few simple supplies, you can create an engaging learning environment for your preschoolers. Consider incorporating these activities into your lesson planning so that you and your preschoolers can enjoy the fall season together.
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