The changing of seasons comes with many opportunities to teach your children new things and get creative together. Autumn is upon us, and with the cooler weather, there are new sights, smells, and activities to enjoy. Below are a few suggestions for fun and educational activities you and your family can do together this fall.
Make Stamps. In keeping with the fall theme, take an apple and cut it in half. Then let your kids dip the flat side into some acrylic paint and stamp it onto craft paper. Not only will they get a good view of the seeds and inside of the apple, but they’ll have fun being creative with their designs. You also create a leaf-shaped stamp by cutting the end off a potato and carving a branching vein in the center of the stamp. As an additional painting activity, have the children tape actual leaves on a sheet of paper (make sure the tape is rolled on the back of the leaf, not flat across the front edges) and then paint over the leaves. when they are done, remove the leaves to reveal silhouettes of the foliage.
Fall-themed Sink/Float Experiment. Collect several fall-themed items: leaves, acorns, pinecones, apples, etc. Then challenge the kids to determine whether each one would sink or float in a bucket of water. After their predictions have been recorded, test the hypotheses to see who was correct!
“Why Do Leaves Change Colors?” Experiment. Follow this experiment to explore the variety of pigments within leaves during autumn and discuss the reasons why the leaves change colors as the days get shorter. (Sunlight is more scarce, so leaves enter a “resting state” and live on the glucose they collected during the summer. More detail can be found in this post!) With household items like rubbing alcohol and coffee filters, your kids can see the colors separate and explore the beauty of God’s creation on a closer level.
Gourd Sorting. A particularly fun activity for young children, gourd sorting can be a great way to enhance cognitive development. Gather a variety of gourds in all shapes and sizes, then arrange baskets or other receptacles labeled with different categories, like “bumpy” vs. “smooth” or “green” vs. “orange.” Toddlers and preschoolers will love playing with the gourds and practicing sorting.
Seed Discovery. This is a great learning experience for older children. Gather a variety of seeds and pods from around your neighborhood, as well as a few packets from the home improvement store. Pinecones, sweetgum tree pods/balls, seeds from flowers, maple seeds — you name it. Lay everything out on a table with magnifying glasses, tweezers and other tools with which they can explore. Small seeds can go inside plastic petri dishes or containers to ensure they don’t get too scattered. Let the kids’ curiosity roam as they explore the many types of seeds that exist right in their own backyard!