Fall is my favorite season. We get into nature, explore and learn so much. Seasonal themes are fun activities for preschool because they cover so many subjects. This collection is a list of my favorite fall preschool activities. I taught these in my preschool classrooms and my children loved them when we did preschool at home.
Fall Preschool Activities
After we get the pumpkins home, we use an extra for playing and exploring pumpkin guts.
Cut a pumpkin open and let your child see what is inside. If you scoop out the insides, place them in a bag, dishpan, or baking dish so your child can get their hands in them.
Children love playing with ‘pumpkin guts’! Be careful with little ones who are still mouthing everything, but they can touch too.
This is one on the list of fall preschool activities that is a sensory activity, a fine motor exercise (using those fingers to pull at the guts and seeds), and a science exploration.
If your children are too young to carve yet, this is a great diversion to keep them occupied while the adults take care of the cutting.
This is a twist on the typical pumpkin carving. Add some puzzles made from pumpkins to your fall preschool activities!
It is so simple and makes a fun pre-math activity for preschool kids. Check it out here.
When you play with the pumpkin guts, pick out some seeds and save them to count. Pumpkin seed math activities are a fun, hands-on way to help preschool kids learn numbers and math skills.
You can have your child guess (estimation) how many seeds they think are in the pumpkin. You can then test that hypothesis by counting the pumpkin seeds ones that were saved.
Use the pumpkin seeds to count.
I shared this pumpkin seed counting activity here. Write numbers 1-5 or 1-10+ on a piece of paper, and glue one seed under ‘1’, two seeds under ‘2’, etc.
Children should understand not only the order of numbers, but the associated amount of each number symbol before going to kindergarten.
Make a leaf collage
With the breeze loosening many leaves from branches, there are leaves to be collected. When we collect leaves, we take them home to make a collage.
Children need to learn how to glue. Starting at around 3 years old you can introduce this. Using white glue, help your child place a dot of glue on a piece of paper for each leaf they collected outside.
I started by squeezing the glue myself where my son pointed on the paper so he could see how much glue I was squeezing out. You can squeeze some glue onto a paper plate and your child can scoop some glue using a craft stick or straw and then dot it on their paper.
So many kids in my preschool classes did not have the skill of “a dab’ll do ya” or “dot, dot, not a lot.” Your child will be gluing galore in school, so teach them the skill with this activity that brings the outdoors indoors.
Here is a great example of a fun leaf collage project at The Imagination Tree.
You can also place leaves between sheets of wax paper and iron them in order to laminate the leaves. The Spruce shares multiple ways to preserve Fall leaves here.
Once the leaves are ‘waxed’ you can punch holes and string them to make a garland. How cute will this look across the mantle or along a wall?!
For the truly daring, you can put on your ‘Ms. Frizzle’ hat (teacher from The Magic School Bus books) and explore decay. My very patient teacher colleagues put up with me doing this in one of my preschool rooms.
The kids were intrigued by watching a pumpkin decay over time. It was an investment of a couple of weeks total.
How to: Place a pumpkin in a gallon sized zip top bag. Then place the bag into a plastic container or bowl. Observe each day how the pumpkin looks, take pictures, and even make it into a book at the end of the process. (Some great extension and book recommendations are shared at Little Bins for Little Hands.)
Children can observe once a week and journal what they see. This is a way preschool children-who do not yet know how to read-can learn to document. More preschool journaling ideas here.
We often explore how plants grow in the spring, but not often do we touch on decay. It’s interesting to watch. Definitely do not let your child touch the moldy pumpkin without latex gloves on their hands.
Compare, Contrast and Classify with Gourds
Purchase a few gourds or mini pumpkins for a compare/contrast activity. Discuss with your child the similarities and differences of each.
My twin toddlers had a lot of sensory fun with this gourd activity. They touched them, moved them around, tried to stack them. Even our pug got in on the exploration. 😉
With older kids you can chart the characteristics of the gourds using descriptive words. Just write the adjectives the kids think up on paper. This reinforces writing and reading skills.
Classification is a key skill for future science and math lessons in school. Children love to play ‘guessing games’, so have them study the mini pumpkins and gourds and tell you about them:
You could ask:
What colors/markings are on each?
Which are small or large?
Can you arrange them into groups by size?
Can you line them up from smallest to largest?
Pumpkin Rubbing Art
Try a ‘pumpkin rubbing.’ Lay a piece of paper over the side of a pumpkin. Use the side of a crayon to rub the crayon over the paper. It will reveal the texture of the pumpkin. (Just like a leaf rubbing.)
I love the way this pumpkin texture activity turned out from Buggy and Buddy.
Apple Stamping Art
If you picked some apples while at the farm/orchard, cut one open and paint with it. We cut the apple in half, and then cut one half into quarters, so that a full print and a half print can be made.
Push a plastic fork into the apple pieces as a handle, dip the apple into paint, and stamp it on paper several times.
Dip it back into the paint as needed to achieve a good print. After the painting dries, your child can add painted or drawn stems and leaves, if desired.
You can extend this by using other items to stamp such as celery stalks, corn on the cob (roll the cob) or acorn squash. Lots of good sensory and art fun with this idea! You can see how Fun-A-Day shares the process of apple printing for kids here.
Pretend Play with Autumn Theme
At your local craft store find autumn-colored leaves on a stem, plastic pumpkins, and wood letters that spell Fall. Add some large toy trucks like these or a toy wheelbarrow and you have a fun pretend play area for Fall!
I have placed these items in a bin in our playroom. It adds a new element that is seasonal.
My kids liked matching the leaves by colors. They would pile them up based on which leaves are only red, which have red and orange, and which have red, orange and yellow.
Playing pumpkin farm or nature walk indoors is a great indoor activity when it is raining outside.
Let your child use their imagination with some indoor-friendly objects of Fall.
Fall is a great time of year to walk around your neighborhood, state park, or local wooded area to look at all the colors and critters! Playgrounds and outdoor areas are always great activities.
Pick up some leaves for a collage or leaf garland, talk about what colors you see, look for animals, acorns, trees that stay green, etc. It is one of the easiest Fall preschool activities.
Nature is science and exploration is learning.
Learning Games with Homemade Apple Trees
These were so easy to make. Older kids can help as an art project. We used these DIY toy apple trees for math, abc matching and pretend play. A great Fall recycled craft that has many uses for learning and play.
9 Halloween Activities and Crafts for Toddlers and Up
This list brings back so many memories! My kiddos were so little then, but they still have fun playing with these Halloween hands-on crafts.
Which Fall preschool activities are your favorites for exploring Fall with your children?