Take a pretend walk outside. Lead your children through your “investigations” starting with: “Let’s take a walk in the woods!” (we tap a rhythm to the chant with a right/left knee tap.) What are some things we might HEAR? Chart all the answers the children come up with. Ask the children to share with their parents and see what NEW animals, nature items, weather, etc. that the children might come up with for the following day. Each day add another of the 5 SENSES: “Let’s take a walk through the woods!” What are some things we might TASTE?, SMELL?, TOUCH?, and SEE?. Extensions: Have the children look through books or old magazines to find pictures of some of the items. Have the children draw (or assist) a tree and glue or tape all the different pictures around the tree.
Fall is often associated with memories of favorites smells! Do you remember the smell of crushed leaves, cinnamon, or pumpkin pies baking? Olfactory memories often stay with children long after the actual event has passed. Exposing your children to the different SMELLS associated with Fall can be a wonderful learning experience. *Note: check for specific allergies before using some scents with your children (tree bark, grasses, leaves, certain spices and nuts can all have a negative impact if you have students with allergies.)
FALL SMELLY JARS - Smelling Jars Recording Sheet for Preschool
Materials needed: Small containers and various items with different scents and fragrances.
Small old film containers work great for this activity, however if you cannot find those you can use small plastic cups covered with aluminum foil. Fill each of the containers with small amounts of the items you are using that give off a different scent or smell (see below for suggestions). Next, cover the containers and using a thumb tack, poke several small holes in the tops of the film containers or in the aluminum foil.
Then have each child take a turn smelling the tops of the containers to smell what is inside and try to guess/figure out what the item is.
Using the record sheet provided (see download above), have the child decide and color in if they think the item smells good, bad or just OK. After smelling and recording their preference for each of the containers, then go back and uncover the container and see what was inside and what they actually smelled. Next, have the child draw or glue a picture of what was in the container.
This activity is a great opportunity to talk about similarities and differences among scent preferences. Did everyone like the same scents? Which scent did no one like? Why?
Suggested items include: crushed leaves, acorns (check for allergies before letting children handle/smell nuts), pumpkins, apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, vinegar, vanilla, coffee grounds, black pepper, chocolate, or cotton balls soaked in various extracts.
Baked Pumpkin – An Early American Recipe that is baked in the shell
Ingredients: 1 small pumpkin cleaned & scraped out; save pumpkin top; milk or light cream; 3-4 tablespoons of butter (can use light or 1/2 the amount used); 3 tablespoons of honey (do not use honey if serving to children under the age of 2), brown sugar, or maple syrup; ground nutmeg and cinnamon to taste.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Let the children take part in cleaning out the pumpkin.
2. Let the children measure and add milk, butter, and honey to the pumpkin. Replace top.
3. Have one child pour ½ inch of water into baking dish. Bake until soft, about 1 ½ hours.
4. Gently remove from baking dish and set pumpkin on a platter to cool. Remove top to cool insides quickly.
5. Shake nutmeg and cinnamon inside to taste and it’s ready for eating.
Let the children scoop pumpkin onto small serving plates with a large spoon. Enjoy!
Set out a variety of gourds, pumpkins, nuts, seeds, straw, feathers etc. in a bin or plastic drawer where the children might explore each of the items. Play mystery bag games after letting the children explore the bins and see if they can guess the item by sense of TOUCH only. Place several items under a large towel. Again, without looking, see if the children can identify the object by feeling the shape underneath the towel. Extension: For a small group game, tell the children to close their eyes and give each one an object. Ask them to describe what they are holding so that the other children can guess what it is. The only rule: they cannot use the NAME of the item to describe it. It takes awhile for the children to catch on, but once they do, it will become a class favorite.
In many areas, FALL is alive with vibrant colors! Talk a nature walk and look at all the colors. Have the children use watercolors, fingerpaints, or tempera paints in a variety of browns, oranges, greens, purples, and reds on a sheet of white paper. When their paintings are dried, cut them into different leaf shapes and use as a Fall display.
For more activities that use ALL 5 Senses see the Fall Thematic Unit at The Preschool Toolbox! This thematic has 80+ total pages of learning and FUN centered around 3 entire themes: Trees and Leaves, Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns, and non-scary Halloween! Enjoy the FALL together with your own children!