Fall Activites

Fall Sensory Play #3 – Sense of Smell

Using senses to explore the world stimulates brain development and early learning. Fall time has some special smells that will connect to children’s experiences and knowledge of fall. A few of the smells for this time of year could be apples, squash, corn, cinnamon, pumpkin pie, smokey bonfires and piles of leaves.

fall sense of smellThe sense of smell is somewhat different from the other senses. For sight, we can look at a beautiful view or a picture on the wall. For hearing, we can listen to music or singing. But there’s no sort of art-form for smell, no art gallery or concert hall for walking around and sniffing. Smell doesn’t happen by itself, it’s part of something else. That could be why smells are so often linked to emotions and why they take up some a large chunk of memory.  Did you know that humans can recognize about 10,000 different smells?

fall sense of smellFor a sense of smell play-of-the-day with your child, you could make a batch of playdough with some cinnamon. For a snack, some apple slices with a sprinkle of cinnamon are more than tasty, they even smell yummy. In the meantime, whenever it’s appropriate throughout the day, help your child notice the different smells. There will be many different smells from cooking and from the fridge. Dishwashing, hand, and laundry soaps will also have other scents. You might be able to go for a walk outside and sniff out fall. Some cities allow burning of fall leaves so there could be a smokey smell in the neighborhood.

What’s your favorite fall smell; maybe a pumpkin spice latte? Does your child have some special fall experiences connected to smell?

Fall Sensory Play #2 – Sense of Hearing

Sensory play and sensory experiences are important events in a child’s day. Thru their senses, children come in contact with the world around them. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell are primary channels for information and influence how a child responds. Sensory activities also help the brain make connections and pathways for learning.

sounds of fall Besides having it’s own special sights, each season also has its own sounds. Some of the outside sounds of fall are birds flying south and the crunch of dried leaves. A friend heard a lot of noise in her yard and went to look. A flock of crows had landed and were chattering and cawing as they ate seeds from the dried plants. Sometimes, many birds will visit trees with berries and sing for their supper.

Some of the inside sounds are football games on the television and the heat turning on. Making popcorn is a favorite activity for anytime of the year, but it seems like we do it more often during the fall when night comes so much earlier. Zipping up coats is a sound that we do not hear much in the summer, but with cooler weather we are hearing it now.

Whether we are inside or outside, we often do not notice the small sounds in the background. A fun activity to do with your child, is to sit in a comfy spot, close eyes and just listen to the sounds for a minute. What did you hear? What did your child hear? Kids can listen to this video with their eyes closed and see if they can guess what it is. After a few guesses, they can listen again, but this time with their eyes open. Did they guess it was someone walking in leaves? They make lots of noise! Kids might want to go outside and crunch some leaves themselves. What other sounds are there for fall where your family lives?

Fall Sensory Play #1-Sense of Sight

Many parent and family blogs will have wonderful posts for sensory play. What is sensory play? Basically, these are play activities that stimulates one or more of children’s senses. Another question could be: Why is it so important? From the time kids are born, they learn about the world by using their sense of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. The stimulation of these senses also stimulates brain development, making a massive amount of brain connections and pathways. These are critical for later learning.

fall sensory activitiesFall is a spectacular time of year for the sense of sight. Fall leaves practically glow with bright golds and yellows, and in some areas, with fiery reds. A simple walk around the block with your child, or some play time at the playground or park will give your child many things to see. Besides the color of leaves, check the color of the trees. The plain brown of bark is not the same plain brown as dried grass. Are there other colors?

fall sensory activitiesThere might be some shapes to see, such as the long, skinny shape of boards in a fence or the round shape of chestnuts and acorns. Eyes can see things that are very close, like weeds on the ground or birds flying far away in the sky. Ask your child to look for something very big and something very small. We notice objects that are quite still, as well as ones that move, like the bus. You might be so busy looking that you miss catching the bus!

If you and your child have a safe place for watching, close your eyes for a few seconds, then open them and say what is the very first thing that you see. Turn around, look in another direction, and close your eyes again. This time, what do you see? Older kids can look around, make a tent over their eyes, and try to remember 3 to 5 things they see. Some kids will be very good at this, possibly even better than some adults. With your child carefully watching over you, you can try it. How many did you remember?

This is a fun activity that includes lots of learning. What do you see outside in the fall?

More Children’s Books and Stories for Fall

When the nights start earlier and the temperature is cooler, snuggling up with a book and a blankie is so inviting. There are some wonderful books about the fall season to share with young children. Have you discovered the story Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller? The family picks out a squash at the Farmer’s … Continue reading More Children’s Books and Stories for Fall

Making Applesauce Worth Doing Every Fall

Learning happens when a task or activity is done frequently. Every fall, there is a great opportunity for both fun with kids and encouraging their early learning by making applesauce. The directions of: wash apples, cut them, remove core, cut into smaller pieces and cook with a bit of water , are so standard that … Continue reading Making Applesauce Worth Doing Every Fall