Little Ones Learning - Fall Unit

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's that time of year when the air is cool and the leaves start changing colors.  My favorite!  At my house we are going to be learning about fall and its changing leaves.  It's still pretty early in the season, but I figured I'd get this unit out so you can do it in fall prime-time.   So I took my crew to a local park with lots of woods for some good fall observation.

Gorgeous day, right?!  And great company!  After our little picnic (during which my two toddler friends, who look so cute right here, were running all over the place, not picnicking) we went...

Collect fall objects

Of course, no study of fall can be done without actually touching real-life items that can be found in fall.  Go for a fall item hunt.  I gave each of my little friends a bucket and we went for a nice, leisurely walk at the park.  On our search we found a variety of leaves, acorns, pine cones, sticks, and bark. 

Grace was really engaged in the hunt, and she was excited each time she found something new or a leaf that was a different type. We talked about how God created all of these natural objects, and that He created them all for a purpose.  We talked about the different types of trees that the leaves come from, how acorns grow new oak trees and are food for animals, and why different leaves are different colors.  The little ones were a little less focused (understandably so), as the buckets were soooo exciting.  They still had a great time though.

Explore and sort

After collecting our fall items, we started analyzing them with our senses.  I made sure to talk a lot about what we notice because that helps build their vocabularies.  The more you talk to them, the better!

  • How do they lookWhat colors are they?  What sizes are they?  What parts do you notice?
  • How do they feel?  Are they rough or smooth?  Hard or soft?  
  • Do they make a sound when you move or squish them?  What sounds do they make?
  • How do they smell?

After examining the fall items, sort them.  There are many ways you can sort them, and how you do it might depend on the age of your child.  Let them lead.  Learning how to sort with their own ideas will help build critical thinking skills.   Here are a few ways your child could try sorting:

  1. Item-type:  a pile of leaves, acorns, sticks, flowers, berries, etc.
  2. Size: Sort the items into piles of small, medium, and large or short, medium, long.  You can sort across items (ie. including leaves, acorns, etc in the sorting) or sort by specific items (ie. sort just leaves)
  3. Colors: Sort the items into color piles (ie. red, brown, green, yellow, orange)
  4. Hardness: Sort items into piles by how hard they are or sort them into a continuum from softest to hardest.
  5. Origin:  Discuss where the different items come from and sort them into piles accordingly.  (ie. things from trees, from plants, from the ground).  It might be interesting for your child to note that many fall items come from trees.

Read fall books!

There are so many great fall/autumn books.  The trick is finding them.  When I looked recently to check out some from the public library, most of them were on hold :(.  Luckily, as a former teacher, I have several in my own collection.  Next year I will have to put them on hold a little earlier.  Here is a collection others have put together of great fall books for kids:

Fall Books for Kids from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Listen to fall music


Classical music is a great way to teach kids music appreciation, and it has many benefits for both yourself and your kids.  Did you read the ones about reducing stress and calming babies?  I'll take it!

"Autumn" by Vivaldi

"Autumn" by Vivaldi is a great fall-inspired classical piece.  You could play just the music or show your kids the video with the music accompanied by autumn scenes.  

Songs for kids

My very talented and awesome brother-in-law Bryan created two songs just for us.  The first is called Autumn Leaves!  

Here is Leaves and Pinecones!  It's catchy and has a positive message.

Check out Bryan's page on Sound Cloud!

The kids always enjoy simple sing along songs (wow, say that 3 times fast).  Here are a few that have videos to go with!

"Autumn Leaves Song" by Silly Bus 

"All the Leaves are Falling Down" by Appuseries

And that trippy toddler-favorite, Yo Gabba Gabba.

"The Leaves are Falling Down" by  by Yo Gabba Gabba

Make connections

If you have read some books about fall, watched videos, or listened to autumn songs, try making some connections to real life and your family's fall collection.  They might notice their leaf looks just like one in a book.  Or maybe your child notices that the leaves he/she collected are the orange, yellow, green, and brown, like in the "All the Leaves are Falling Down" song by Appuseries.  The connections they make will help them build a better understanding of autumn.

Coming up next is fall-themed play!  

Thanks for reading and may God bless you and your family!

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