10 Autumn Themed Early Years Activities
10 Autumn Themed Early Years Activities
Autumn (Fall) is a wonderful time of year with plenty of opportunities for little learners. I've shared some of my favourite activities from this theme and hope that there are some ideas that will be useful to some of you!
We started the week with a nature and leaf walk around our little beachside village and incorporated the leaves in many of the activities to follow.
- Autumn Cinnamon Playdough
Playdough is always a go to for my classes and what could be better than an Autumn themed playdough using a warm spice like cinnamon!
First I made the playdough using the following recipe:
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup salt
Mix red and yellow food colouring in 1 cup of warm water
2 tablespoons oil
Mix altogether and add the cinnamon as desired. You might need to add a little bit more flour as you knead.
I added leaves from a previous leaf hunt as well as leaf shaped cookie cutters. The children were engaged in this activity for a long time, talking about what they made.
- Autumn Potion Making
My students LOVE making potions and get very excited when they see the concoctions ready for them to explore. For this activity I set out a baking tray in a big sensory bin.
In each compartment I added a tablespoon of baking soda and two drops of food colouring (we used yellow, red, orange, brown) to create an Autumn experience. Then I added a few bowls and added vinegar to them and placed a few droppers into the bowls. I demonstrated to the children that when I drop some vinegar into the baking soda, it makes a fizzy potion. I them let them try on their own for the rest of the exploration- supporting where needed.
- Autumn Rice Sensory Bin
Sensory bins are a huge hit with the little ones and in my classes we add them into our exploration time on a daily basis. For this one I decided to keep in the Autumn theme and dye the rice yellow, orange and red.
I did this by placing a cup of rice in a jar and added in a teaspoon of vinegar as well as a few drops of the desired food colouring. I shook the jar vigorously until all the rice was the colour I wanted. I repeated this with the three different colours. Then left it to dry for about an hour and added it to the sensory bin with scoops, bowls and cups as well as leaves that the children had found on a previous leaf hunt.
This kept them busy for at least 25 minutes. There was also lots of talk of 'full' and 'empty' as well as conversations about the colours. There was a lot of Personal, Social and Emotional Development in this activity too as the children were sharing their resources and taking turns with the tools that they wanted to use.
- Autumn Tree Stamping
For this very simple collaborative fine motor activity, I drew a big leaf on a piece of packing paper. I bought some stamps from Amazon and placed them in a bowl on the table. The children decorated the leaf using the various stamps.
A very simple but great activity as the children were thinking of where to place their stamps, developing their fine motor skills by stamping and closing the stamps as well as discussing the little pictures on the stamps.
- Autumn Cookie Cutter Painting
This was another very simple but effective activity. We used the cookie cutters from the playdough activity as stamps for this painting activity. All I did was set out a big piece of packing paper, plates with the paint on and the cookie cutters.
The children knew exactly what to do and had a ball making their leaf prints on the paper.
- Tree Painting
For this activity I drew a tree template on individual pieces of paper (as we are a small village playgroup I tend to not print very much as there are max 10 kids per session). I also prefer drawing the templates as it means each tree is unique.
I then added dollops of paint (Autumn colours of course) onto the plates and the choice of tool for this activity were cotton balls. The children then had free reign of where to print their 'leaves'. As you can see in the picture on the right, every tree was extremely unique and each child put their own little spin on their creation.
- Magic Leaf Dropper Painting
For this activity I used a white chalkboard marker to draw on a piece of kitchen towel. I drew a few different shaped and sized leaves. In a little tray, I added a drop of food colouring with a bit of water and added some liquid droppers into the tray. First I demonstrated how to get the liquid into the dropper and how to carefully add one drop at a time to make the leaf appear.
I then left the children to explore the activity independently. If too much liquid spilled into the tray, I showed them how to squeeze the liquid out and to reuse the kitchen towel. This activity lasted the entirety of the class without having to replace the kitchen towels. This is a particularly good activity for fine motor development as it takes some practice to get the liquid into the droppers.
- Autumn Oobleck
Oobleck is always on our list of favourite activities as it is just too much fun to play with!
I used the following recipe to make this Oobleck:
2 Cups cornstarch
1 Cup water
A few drops of food colouring
There was a lot of investigation going on during this activity. Lots of talk of 'gooey' or 'watery' as well as 'hard'. The beauty of Oobleck is that the texture changes in your hands so it provides plenty of learning opportunities for little ones.
- Marbled Leaf Painting
Marble painting is a fantastic process art activity. For this activity I cut out leaf shapes out white card. On trays, I sprayed some shaving foam and added a few drops of food colouring to the foam. The children then mixed in the colours and placed their leaves on top of the coloured foam. I demonstrated how to clear away the foam using a piece of cardboard, to make their beautiful marbled patterns appear. There was a bit more support needed for this activity, but once the children got the hang of it, many of them made multiple leaves on their own!
- Puffy Paint Leaf Painting
This was a super fun activity and a particular hit with my tiniest students (17 months is our youngest). To make this paint I used white glue, paint and shaving foam. The ratio will depend on the bowl you use. I used small bowls and would probably estimate about a tablespoon of each item. I just mixed it all together forming a puffy and foamy texture. The children used the puffy paint to decorate cut out leaves (on card). When dry this paint has a puffed up texture making it a fun and sensory stimulating art experience.
Thank you for reading this post and I hope that the ideas come in handy!