As the weather changes, you can feel the crisp air and hear the crunch of the fallen leaves. Fall is a great season for children to explore nature and all the different colors, textures, and smells it has to offer. Bringing nature inside is a great way to continue learning once it’s gotten dark or when the rainy day keeps you inside.
Here are some ways to explore fall colors and textures through play:
Fall Sensory Bin
A great way to bring the outdoors inside is by creating a fall sensory bin filled with items found in nature for your little one to explore. Grab a plastic bin and fill it with unpopped popcorn or beans. Add some items like leaves, acorns, pinecones, and small rocks. Another option is to have your little one go with you on a walk and see what treasures they find along the way. Combine these items with a few spoons and measuring spoons from your kitchen, and your child has endless possibilities for exploring and interacting with nature.
When you hear the word fall, most people think about going to an orchard and picking apples, but once you get home, the fun doesn’t have to stop there. Slice an apple in half and apply a layer of washable kid paint to the inside. Let your child stamp away with the apple and see what fun masterpieces they can create.
Another great option after the trip to the apple orchard or pumpkin patch is to have your child help you bake. A simple apple crisp or pumpkin pie baking in the oven will fill the house with smells of nutmeg and cinnamon. Let your child help pour ingredients (or cut items if they are older) and practice those math skills with measuring out ingredients, too.
Another easy craft is leaf rubbings. Gather an assortment of leaves (or go on a walk with your child and grab fallen leaves along the way). Place the leaves under a piece of paper and use a crayon to rub over the leaves. Let your child explore the unique lines, textures and patterns that can be created with the different leaves.
Once the leaves change colors, collect ones (or use leftovers from your leaf rubbings) and help your child sort them by color or group them by size and shape. Talk about the similarities and differences that certain leaves have to one another.
These activities are great for many different ages and can be prepped ahead of time, ready to be a go-to activity when heading outside isn’t an option (or better yet, do the activity outside in the backyard on a blanket, enjoying the cool air, as you sip a PSL).