Fall is here and has stayed around longer than we’re used to here in Colorado! The crunchy, colorful leaves, the changing of life, the beautiful Fall decorations abound all over town. What great materials this creates for us to use in our classrooms or your homes! With trips to the pumpkin patch, apple orchards, pumpkin carving, pumpkin painting, leaf imprints, we’ve all gotten into the Fall swing of things here at Acorn. Along with Fall, comes the crisp autumn air and many opportunities for learning in all different areas, including Science, Math, Art, Writing and even Social Studies!
Indian corn, small gourds, pinecones, small pumpkins, leaves, twigs all make wonderful items to fill your sensory tables with. This encourages the students to observe, explore, hypothesize and compare these natural, local Fall attributes. Presenting the children with a “still life” of the pumpkins, gourds, leaves, etc, then having them observe and document them by painting what they see is an important way to facilitate brain development in early childhood.
Leaf punching is also fun to do using leaves in different sizes and different stages of drying out. By providing large hole punchers in various shapes and sizes, this not only will enhance fine motor skills, but persistence and the ability for children to manipulate the leaves however they choose. Pinecones and tree bark can make a great natural painting surface and can be a fun change to our “ordinary” surfaces! The next time you’re on a nature walk with your children, hunt for pinecones, large dry leaves, and pieces of bark that have fallen from the trees!
At the moment, my class is really into making their own storybooks, and this has been going on for weeks! We have made a lot of blank books available to them in the art and writing areas. A natural option to enhance more literacy and language skills in your classroom or home, would be to make paper bag books. This can easily be done by recycling paper grocery bags and cutting them into small squares. You can bind them with twine and/ or twigs and have them as an option during free choice time, as well as available in the art and writing centers. It’s really amazing to have the children dictate their own stories to you as you write in their book. The stories are classic!