Fall is my favorite season! The hot summer months have come to an end, homeschool has just begun, and the weather is absolutely beautiful! My children and I spend so much time outside during the fall months. It’s the perfect season for nature study activities, too! Here are a few ideas for fall nature study you can use with young children (or even older children!).
This is one of my favorite activities to do with young children, and fall is a great time for it! I wrap packing tape or masking tape around their wrists, sticky-side out. We go outside and walk around, finding all sorts of little nature items to stick to the bracelet – small acorn tops, colorful leaves, flower petals, tiny pebbles, even bugs! Even the youngest toddler can pick things up and stick them to the tape.
This activity can be a lot of fun, especially for creative children! Simply use rocks, sticks, leaves, and flowers to make a nature picture. You can make a lion’s face with a leaf mane, a turtle with rocks for the shell, or spell out your name with twigs! The yellow, orange, and red leaves in fall can make these nature pictures even more beautiful!
COLOR SCAVENGER HUNT
A great way to sneak in color matching, scavenger hunts can also be done by young toddlers! Cut squares from colored paper (red, yellow, orange, and brown to start) and walk around outside, helping your child match the colors to items in nature. For older children, you can use markers to make colored squiggles or write color words on a sheet of paper and have them find an item of each color!
SOUND SCAVENGER HUNT
This is a great way to work on attentiveness and listening skills! Draw pictures of things that make noise outdoors – birds, wind, grasshoppers, or other animals. Go outside and practice being very quiet and listening for each of the sounds. Alternatively, you could bring a quilt outside, sit down, close your eyes, and listen to and talk about all of the sounds you hear.
Try to see how many different types of leaves you can find! This is great in the fall because most of the leaves have fallen off of the trees. See if you can find small and big leaves, leaves with several points or a single blade, and different colored leaves. If you know the names of the trees the leaves came from, tell your child! You can even print off leave flashcards and have your child try to match the leaves to the flashcards.
Go outside with a magnifying glass and look for insects! When you find some, use the magnifying glass to examine them closer. Where are they going? What do you think they’re doing? What do they look like? If your child is able, they can draw a picture of the insect. Or you could print one out and let your child color it. I have also printed off life cycles worksheets for my children to color.
This is a traditional activity that I’m sure we have all done before, but it never gets old for children! Let your child pick out several leaves with nice veins and use a crayon with the paper peeled off to make a leaf rubbing on a sheet of white paper. Use fall colors such as red, orange, yellow, and brown.
I hope these ideas get you and your young children out enjoying nature this fall!