Autumn has officially arrived, and what better time is there to engage your children in the creativity of the fall season? From exploring the wonders of nature to crafting and building community, here’s how you can celebrate fall with your little ones.
Contributed by Deanna Gustafson, Director of Children’s Lighthouse Winter Garden
Classifying Autumn Leaves
Although Florida does not experience typical autumn foliage, Deanna’s autumn leaves activity creatively captures the excitement of identifying changing leaves, perfect for kids to embrace the beauty of the season.
- Gather an assortment of silk/fabric leaves in different fall colors such as red, orange, and brown. These can be acquired from various sources like Amazon or craft stores.
- Children can identify the leaves based on their colors and shapes. There are various charts available online that help with leaf identification, such as this one.
- Children can also go outside to pick leaves local to their environment. Though most of the leaves might be green in Florida, the native bald cypress trees change into a gorgeous cinnamon color, leaving a great choice for children to explore this fall season.
This activity encourages children to engage in color recognition and sensory exploration, all while celebrating the vivid colors of autumn.
Pumpkin carving doesn’t have to be limited to just Halloween. Pumpkin carving is an exciting activity for kids ages 9-12 years as they have more freedom to carve the pumpkin themselves under adult supervision. Kids also have the freedom to etch whatever design they choose whether it be spooky or silly.
After carving designs, the kids can then sort out the seeds from the pulp and adults can bake the pumpkin seeds, so they get a chance to taste the best part. This way, there is little waste of the pumpkin while ensuring a full sensory experience. Carving pumpkins not only enhances fine motor skills but also encourages children to come up with creative designs.
Pumpkin-Themed Science Project
A pumpkin-themed science project, such as dissecting a pumpkin, can be educational for children to understand its anatomy.
- After the pumpkin carving, children can explore all the aspects of a pumpkin from its exterior to the interior.
- Starting on the outer part, its skin and rind have protective properties such as acting as a barrier for the inner flesh from physical damage, pests, and disease. The rind also gives structural support to the pumpkin, helping it maintain its shape as it grows. The stem connects the pumpkin to the vine providing water and nutrients to the fruit.
- Moving to the inside of the pumpkin, the pulp acts as a storage for nutrients and energy, while also surrounding and protecting the seeds. The seeds play a vital role in the pumpkin’s life cycle. When the pumpkin seeds are planted, new pumpkins begin to grow, starting the life cycle again.
Children will surely enjoy dissecting and learning about the inner workings of a pumpkin, especially because of its importance to the season.
About the Author
Deanna Gustafson, a dedicated educator at Children’s Lighthouse of Winter Garden, shares a treasure trove of creative ideas to make this season unforgettable for kids and bring smiles to their faces. From exploring the wonders of nature to crafting and building community, here’s how you can celebrate fall with your little ones.
Learn more at Orlando Family Fun Magazine.