I have found a very good idea for 3 or 4-year-olds for those cold or rainy fall days. We like to play in the leaves! After Thanksgiving or Halloween, I check the stores for clearance silk leaves (usually used for crafts or decorations). I have collected about a 2-gallon bag full. We talk about the different color leaves and read a book about fall and leaves. After that, I take the leaves and hold them up over the children’s heads and let them “fall” from the bag like they would from the tree. The kids have a blast with this. They “rake” them with their hands, they count “1,2,3” and throw them in the air. We have even put them on our parachute and tossed them around that way. It’s a great way to play in the leaves – minus the mess and the cold. When all is finished, we rake them up and put them back in the bag for next time!
Cover an old coffee can with pieces of red, yellow, orange and brown paper. Then, tear up pieces of the same color paper to put inside the can, or you can cut many leaf shapes. Play “Falling Leaves” and have the children watch for the falling leaves. It’s even more fun if you have a small fan and can blow the leaves all over the class. Then they quickly pick up the leaves for another round!!!At circle time during our fall theme, we played ‘pin the leaf on the tree’. I drew a bare tree on poster board, and the blindfolded children put the leaves on it. When we were done, it turned out to look really cute. I used yellow, orange and red leaves.
Teacher makes a game board using a file folder, 12 rectangles, and stickers/pictures for decoration. Teacher glues six squares on the top and bottom inside the folder. Teacher writes numbers 1-6 on rectangles. Students roll the die, count the dots, and cover (can use leaf cut outs, pumpkin erasers, etc. as covers) the corresponding number. Teachers can make the game more difficult by using numbers 1-12 and using two dice. This game can be used with any theme.
For Thanksgiving/fall theme, gather leaves and bring inside in a common area. Give a few of the kid’s small brooms/rakes and sing the following words to “London Bridge” Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down, Autumn leaves are falling down welcome Autumn. Sweep the leaves and put them here, put them put here, put them here, Sweep the leaves and put them here, welcome Autumn. Jump right in and have some fun, have some fun, have some fun, Jump right in and have some fun-welcome autumn.
The children participate in the activity in a circle and follow the cues for the activity.
Pop popcorn. Put it into a plastic bag. Drop in on to two drops of fall colored paint. (Too much paint makes popcorn too wet and not usable). Lay it out on paper. Children can use the painted popcorn in two ways; as a collage or as math tools. For instance, I make the number one on the left side of the child’s paper. The child then glues one piece of popcorn beside that number one. Below that I make a four. The student picks four pieces of popcorn and glues them to the right of the four. This activity reinforces small motor skills, number recognition and it can give you and parents a good idea about where the child when it comes to number recognition. It’s great for four to five-year-olds. You can also use pumpkin seeds, acorn, small leaves.
Pumpkin File Folder Game
Cut out 20 small pumpkins out of orange construction paper. Write the numbers 1-10 and draw black dots (representing seeds) to match the number, on 10 pumpkins. Do the same to the other 10. You should have 20 matching pumpkins. Glue 10 of them to the inside of a file folder. Glue an envelope or plastic baggie to the back of the folder and place the matching 10 in the envelope. This becomes a matching game for the children helping them learn their numbers. You can also use real pumpkin seeds and they have to place the correct amount on each pumpkin.