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Every time I look at Pinterest for fall activities to do with my kids I’m reminded that I just don’t have it in me to do most of that stuff. I mean, these plans look awesome and all, but I don’t have the time or money invest in elaborate plans. I wish I did, but I’m just happy when I keep us all fed and clothed and the baby hasn’t stripped her diaper off to play with the contents, know what I mean? The problem is that I still want to be able to do fun fall-themed lessons, but without having to invest a ton of time and money for each project.
The good news is, I scoured the internet and compiled a list of easy lessons and activities. You can just pull out individual ones that sound fun or use them all to create a low-fuss fall mini-unit.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
I know some of you are wondering what the Bible has to do with fall lessons. If you read my Valentine’s Mini-Unit post you know that I think scripture memorization is an important part of school, and really life. If you haven’t read it, go check it out to see why memorizing Bible verses helps more than just our spiritual lives!
Given that we are studying fall, which is a time of harvest, I thought Ecclesiastes 3 was the perfect passage. Since my kids are still little and we’ll only be spending two weeks on this unit we will only be working on the first two verses. Feel free to do more if you want.
I know, I know, field trips do require you to invest time and money. Notice how I didn’t say this would be completely effortless, just low-fuss. Don’t worry, though, these are pretty easy outings and can be easily done on whatever day you have an extra hand to go with you (like when your husband is home or grandma is available). Plus you can use them as an opportunity to gather a few of the things you will need for your other activities.
The Pumpkin Patch
If you haven’t ever taken your kids to a pumpkin patch before, go do it! It’s fun and a great chance for them to burn off a bit of energy. While you’re there you can talk about the things you see, practice comparing sizes, and get a great chance to practice expectations for behavior in public. While you are there pick up few pumpkins that are on the smallish side to use for various lessons.
If you’re looking for a simple field trip you can’t get much easier than this. Go find a place with a decent view of nature and take a walk with your kids. A city park with grass and a few trees will work just as well as a hiking trail here. Even a walk down your block could work depending on where you live! Observe what is happening and talk about it with your kids as you walk around. What do the trees look like? What are the animals doing? What is the weather like? It’s really that simple. While you are out walking grab a bunch of leaves to use for science and art.
As Maria says in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start from the very beginning. That’s a very good place to start.” For language arts that means starting with the books (at least to me it does, maybe you disagree). I found two books that will be perfect here because they will play into pretty http://amzn.to/2fLlZJpmuch every other activity for the entire unit!
First up is a book called Why Do Leaves Change Color. I’m guessing it’s pretty obvious why this book is a good plan. I mean, the hallmark of fall is the changing of the leaves! Plus we will be talking about leaves changing color in every subject except math! I can’t wait to read this book with my kids because I know it will inspire all sorts of curiosity that will make them even more excited for our other subjects!
The more important something is to you the more you will weave it into every part of your lives. Since faith is the most important thing to me, I try to find ways to incorporate discussions about God in everything we do. The Pumpkin Gospel is the perfect opportunity for that and is a really sweet book.
Remember when I told you the pumpkins and leaves would be used for pretty much EVERYTHING? I wasn’t lying. The leaves are going to come right back into play in our first writing activity. Keeping with our low-cost, low-prep theme, all you’re going to need will be a leaf that is still green (or greenish, not very changed yet), and a leaf that has changed colors and started to die off, and some paper to create a venn diagram. If you’re not sure what a venn diagram is, this site has a good explanation. Then just compare and contrast the two leaves (really should be from the same type of tree). What’s the same and what’s different? Simple as that!
One of my favorite writing activities I ever used in the classroom was when I had students do a taste test of hummus. We went through one sense at a time and wrote down adjectives to describe the hummus. One of our fun lessons for social studies will be to explore various pumpkin dishes from around the world. Choose whichever one you think your kids will like best and use it for this. Create a chart that you can work on together with categories for each sense. The best part is you can combine this lesson with lunch or snack. I’m always up for killing two birds with one stone!
Since we were just talking about social studies, now is the perfect chance to give you some ideas of what to do! We’re going to explore the U.S. and then explore the world!
October is the most beautiful month of the year in Oregon. Hands down, no question, the fall foliage is a beautiful declaration of God’s creativity. It’s also beautiful throughout the US in the climates that support these trees. Print out a blank political map of the united states and plot these 10 places with beautiful fall colors. Talk together about what these places have in common like elevation and average temperature.
It’s Pumpkin Time
My best friend teases me that I’m such a ‘white girl’ because as soon as fall hits I want all things pumpkin. I can’t help it, to me pumpkins=fall. I am so excited that the Kid World Citizen blog has a post on Pumpkin Recipes from Around the World. Pick a few that sound the best to you and try them out as a family. Talk about what countries the recipes are from and whatever you know about them (a quick Google search can help with that). The cool thing is you can easily just make these as part of your normal meals for the week, so you can do this lesson during dinner!
This is the only subject that doesn’t have a leaf activity. Both math activities for this unit will use the pumpkins you either got from the pumpkin patch or bought at a store.
First up is pumpkin measuring. The Pumpkin School post at Our Journey Westward has some great ideas. I’m especially excited that we get to practice using Pi as Kayla loves the concept!
Frugal Fun For Boys And Girls has an awesome looking balance scale activity to do with pumpkins. In the interest of keeping things low-cost and low-prep we will be skipping over building our scale and use her alternate option of using a door handle!
I am NOT an artist. I have less than zero artistic skills. That means that art time is something I can struggle with. If you are an art-novice like me, have no fear. These two activities are wonderfully simple to teach and do.
Go grab the leaves you collected on your nature walk. Each kid needs one leaf for this art lesson because you are going to make leaf-rubbings! There is noting more simple. Either clip your upside-down leaf to a clip-board or tape it to your table. Then place a piece of plain printer paper over it. Finally, grab a crayon and rub it. If you use a green leaf you should even be able to see the veins inside the leaf and can discuss how they are used to spread things throughout the plant.
Our second activity will require a bit more ‘art’, but don’t be intimidated. This is a great chance for those of us who don’t draw or paint well to demonstrate trying things that stretch us a bit. So, go grab your pumpkins and practice that fearless mothering because we’re going to do some still-life work!Gather together some paper and then whatever art medium tickles your fancy. You could use paints, crayons, makers, or something else you prefer to work with. Arrange your pumpkins on a table, counter, or floor. Then just get to work recreating the image on paper. Simple as that. Then proudly hang everyone’s creations (including your own) on display to decorate for fall!
I love doing hands-on science with my kids that let’s them explore without making a gigantic mess (because I really hate cleaning up the gigantic mess). Both of these science activities are simple and utilize things that are probably readily available in your house.
It’s time to break out those leaves for one last activity. You will definitely need a green leaf for science experiment from How Wee Learn on why leaves change color. You get to see what color the leaf will turn by breaking down a green leaf.
To round out our unit I found a STEM building activity that will involve your pumpkins. Go round up all those random supplies you’ve been hanging onto ‘just in case you need them for school’ and have a blast creating the ledges for your pumpkins in this activity from Little Bins for Little Hands.
Now that you’ve got a plan together for a low-fuss, low-cost fall mini-unit, go out and have some fall fun with your kids! I would love it if you would share pictures of your family enjoying all these great activities! If you’re on Instagram, post them there and tag me at FearlessFaithfulMom.
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