Autumn, or fall, is one of the most eventful times of the year. Leaves change their color and begin to fall. Halloween, Thanksgiving and other important holidays are celebrated. And birds prepare to migrate, while other animals adapt to the dropping temperatures.
That’s why fall offers a variety of opportunities to teach and engage students. And as the weather cools, it’s time to begin preparing activities to make the most of the season. We’ve rounded up a few fall-themed activities to help you bring the season to life in your after school program:
One of the most notable signs of fall is the color of the leaves. In certain parts of the world, mainly the middle and eastern parts of the United States, the green leaves of deciduous trees become bright yellow, gold, orange and red for a short period of time. Soon after, they turn brown and fall to the ground.
There are a number of leaf activities to celebrate fall. Students can make leaf crafts; read Leaf Man and then make leaf people; and even conduct a simple experiment to discover why leaves change color. For even more leaf activities, check out our Exploring Leaves Kit. It includes a variety of 266 beautiful leaves printed on high-quality paper, which can be used to make beautiful natural crafts and posters.
Leaves are fascinating in their own right, and students will love learning about them in fun, exciting ways.
Fall Scavenger Hunt
Take a trip into nature for a fall outdoor scavenger hunt! Students will have fun working together and exploring the magic of the season. To begin, download a free fall scavenger hunt printable or create your own list. The list can include items such as:
- Brown leaf
- Three-leaf clover
Once students have their list, give them a clipboard, pencil and a storage bag to collect their items. Then, head outside! After they’ve collected the items on the list, have students sort and compare their items. You can also ask questions like, “Can you find these items during other seasons?” or “What other fall-themed items can we find in nature?”
Pumpkins harvest in the fall, and they’re another season staple that provides a ton of opportunities for fun and exploration. Although they’re most popular around Halloween, pumpkins can be used throughout the season to teach and engage students. Below are five pumpkin activities to help you get started:
- Visit a pumpkin patch and let students pick their own special pumpkin.
- Decorate pumpkins with paint, markers, or stickers.
- Make erupting pumpkins to create a chemical reaction.
- Make a pumpkin drum and beat it with rhythm sticks.
- Grow a pumpkin in a pumpkin, and watch it grow throughout the year.
Fall is a busy season for many animals. As the weather gets cooler, animals that live outside must prepare for winter. Some animals, like birds and butterflies, migrate to a warmer location to live and find food. Other animals, like rabbits and dogs, grow thicker fur. And animals like bears, skunks and chipmunks prepare for hibernation.
To learn more about animals in the fall, check out the following activities:
- PBS’s Migration Challenge: It explores the challenges birds face as they migrate from place to place in search of food and shelter.
- Interactive map to track animals’ migration routes.
- Discover animal insulation and how some animals keep warm during the colder months.
- Learn how to prepare for winter like hibernating animals
Check out our Seasonal and Holiday Activities board to find more fall-themed activities to try with your students!