Of Leaves, Apples, and Raccoons: Four Fall Science Activities for Preschoolers

I’m enjoying these last few days of summer. But I can’t wait for fall and all of the wonderful sights, colors, and smells that come with it. Here are some activities I have planned for my son, J, and I in the coming months! Three of them are included in my preschool science kits for September (apple volcanoes), October (fall scavenger hunt), and November (felt woodland animal habitats).

Felt Animal Habitats

I know woodland animals aren’t traditionally a “fall” topic to learn about, but this seems to be the season we see them the most around our little farm. The deer come out daily to eat the apples on the ground in the orchard, squirrels are searching for nuts and seeds, and the little points of light from raccoon’s eyes shine out in the evening around the black berry bushes (and cat food, sigh).

In trying to think of a way to teach about woodland animal habitats in a fun, hands on way, I came up with these felt forest play sets! How cute are these!? The animals are made from Sandylion Dimensional Woodland Animals stickers that I backed with felt. The woodland components are cut out of different colors of felt. The child can arrange them however they want to create different woodland scenes. It’s a great teaching tool to let your child play with while reading library books about forest animals. My son likes to use it to act out scenes!

 

 

These sets are pretty easy to make yourself. But they are also included in my November science kit for preschoolers, which is all about forest animals!

Apple Baking Soda Volcanoes

Here is a classic science experiment with a harvest twist! Baking soda volcanoes are always a hit and they are so easy to make. All you need are some apples, baking soda, vinegar, and water. You can add dish soap and/or food coloring for more bubbles and color. Just follow the directions below!

Directions

1. Carefully use a knife or spoon to remove the core from a few apples, creating a hole.

2. Put about a tablespoon of baking soda in the bottom of each apple.

3. Mix a few tablespoons of apple dish soap into 3 or 4 cups of white vinegar. It does not have to be exact. Any type of vinegar will work if you do have white.

4. I recommend doing the next part outside if you can. It makes clean up much easier.

5. Give your child 1/4 cup at a time of the dish soap/vinegar mixture. Let them pour it into the apples to see what happens!

6. Once they become bored with the vinegar, let them sprinkle some baking soda over the top for even more bubbles. Let them play to their heart’s content! (don’t eat the apples afterwards and don’t let the kids eat the bubbles. They do have soap in them.)

Fall Scavenger Hunt

This is an activity I’m excited to do with my preschooler this fall as soon as the leaves start turning colors. I’ve created a fall scavenger hunt print out specifically for preschoolers. It’s available as a free pdf download here: Scavenger Hunt Printable. It asks them to find things that are of specific colors, shapes, and textures. Tactile, hands-on exploration is so important for early learners. Often times a child won’t really understand a concept (like a shape or a color) until they can really hold it in their hands and explore it with their senses. Books only go so far. This is a great way to get them the hands-on learning they need.

Leaf Chromatography

This last one is an experiment I’m thinking about adding to the Pre-K science curriculum I’m currently designing. I’m so curious if it works as well as the beautiful pictures in the article! The idea and pictures come from the blog, Play dough to Plato. We have yet to try this one ourselves, but I’m looking forward to it once my son is a bit older.

You can find directions for it here!