Autumn is such a beautiful time of year. It would be a shame not to take advantage of the many learning opportunities it has to offer. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate the various colors and textures found in the fall:

Take students on a nature walk. Provide small paper bags for each student so he/she can collect specimens (leaves, twigs, acorns, etc.-be sure to emphasize that bugs stay in nature!). Allow students to also carry along a pencil so that they can write down some observations or draw some small pictures on their bags of things that they see. This collection of autumn data can be then be used as a center in a multitude of ways...

  1. Have students make a "My Seasons Alphabet Book" using the items they found and observed as inspiration. The process of making the book can begin with fall and extend throughout the school year to include all of the seasons. By the end of the year, all of the alphabet pages will be filled in.
  2. Provide butcher-like paper (the inside of a large, brown paper bag is big and study) for each child and clear Elmer's glue. When it is each child's turn to work in the center, have him/her take the items found on the nature walk and arrange them on their paper. Next, glue should be applied. Finally, have students write a few sentences about what they found, how autumn makes them feel, or compare/contrast autumn to their favorite season. Once all students have completed the activity, post the collages and paragraphs on a bulletin board.
  3. Make a "Leaf Man". [asa]0152053042[/asa] Read the book as a whole group. During center time, allow students to use what they collected from the nature walk to create their own leaf man. Provide butcher-like paper (again, the inside of a large, brown paper bag works wonders) and some clear Elmer's glue. Once students are finished creating, have them name their leaf man and write a few sentences about him.
  4. Acorn Estimation-Gather a large amount of acorns. Using a variety of jars, fill each one with the acorns. Label each jar with a number. Provide students with a numbered piece of paper. During center time, students will look at each jar of corns and estimate how many acorns they think are in each jar. They will write their answers on their sheet of paper. Provide the correct number of acorns in each jar on the bottom of the jar. Once completed, students can check their answers to see if their estimate was correct. An alternate way of checking for the correct answers would be to provide a baking pan lined with felt so students can actually pour out each jar and count the number of acorns.
  5. Lastly, an oldie, but goody-leaf tracing. Provide various pieces of paper for children to place over leaves and then color over them with a crayon. This simple activity can be used in a variety of ways...
  • After tracing, have students label what the different leaves are called. Make a border out of construction paper to formally display the leaf portrait.
  • Have students trace each leaf twice. Next, have students cut out their leaves and paste them on a square piece of construction paper (this is so they can't see the type of leaf it is). Students can then use them as pieces for a matching game (turn all the leaves over, students take turns turning leaves over to find matches).
  • Provide folded pieces of paper for children to make a Happy Harvest or Thanksgiving card to give to their families.