Why hello, Fall! With the official start of this new season, we dove right in to the glorious changes Fall brings.
For our latest tot school theme, we focused on the letter L, the number 10, an oval shape, and the colors red, yellow, green, orange, and brown. Our books for our Fall theme included One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me! by John Micklos Jr., Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills, and I Love Fall by Alison Nakata. All three of these titles were used last year for our Fall theme as well, and they were loved even more this year by Grace. One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me! not only explores the changing seasons, but is a great counting book from 1-10 for little ones. I think most little ones enjoy Duck & Goose books and Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin was a big hit with Grace. She thought their antics were quite funny and squealed “No” every time they looked somewhere inappropriate for a pumpkin. I Love Fall is a great sensory book for little fingers to explore and we used it to point out fall items and our focus colors for our theme as well!
Just like our previous theme, we utilized YouTube for some educational screen time for our Fall theme, and enjoyed listening to these fun songs in the car as well. You can find our Fall themed playlist by clicking on the photo above.
Our first official Fall themed activity was spent enjoying our backyard and collecting fall items to build some fall trees. This was a great STEAM activity for Grace that included nature which makes it an even more amazing activity in my book. Grace collected fallen leaves, acorns, and sticks and helped organize and sort them on a tray. I placed some yellow PlayDoh in the center of the tray, and a piece of cardboard on our picnic table outside. I showed Grace how to take some of the PlayDoh and place a stick upright from the cardboard to make a tree, and then used little pieces of the PlayDoh to stick leaves to the tree. Grace took off from there building a little fall forest from the items she previously foraged.
We counted items, identified our colors we were focusing on for our fall theme, and had a grand time building trees. I love watching Grace tinker with anything but especially items from nature.
Our next activity focused on name building. We haven’t done a name building activity in a while, and we need to start working name building in to our routine more regularly. For this activity I cut strips of card stock and wrote Grace’s first, middle, and last names on 3 separate pieces. Then, using some fabric leaf confetti I had laying around, I wrote the corresponding letters for each of her names on the leaves as well. The idea here was for Grace to match the correct leaves to the letters in her name.
Not only was this a great fall themed name building activity, but it was also a great letter recognition activity! I chose to do one name at a time, but this could be done with all the names and leaves laid out to increase the difficulty as well. We worked on this activity several times throughout our fall themed weeks, and I plan to pull it out more in the future.
This mama had to get a little crafty for our next activity. I made a tree using pieces of cardboard and a glue stick, and placed it on the door to our homeschool space using painter’s tape. I cut out some oval shaped (our focus shape) felt pieces in our focus colors, and glued them to the ends of the branches. There are 10 branches and therefore 10 ovals to count as well (our focus number). Using felt leaves from last year’s fall theme, I placed those on the floor for Grace to match the colored leaves to their matching ovals on the tree.
This was an awesome activity! Grace loved matching the leaves by color, and counting the branches, ovals, and leaves. I would knock the leaves down from the tree and she would gladly put them back where they belonged over and over again. She even helped knock them down a few times as well. Grace loved to sort the leaves by color before placing them on the tree (there was two leaves for each color) too. This activity was used almost everyday throughout our fall theme, and in addition to all the counting opportunities, I loved the color recognition aspect as well. I think this tree will stay up throughout the fall season, it’s a favorite for sure and a great fall decoration for our homeschool space.
Our next fall activity was all about shapes! Our focus shape was certainly represented, but so was a few more shapes. I found this awesome FREE printable from totschooling.net last year for our fall theme, and knew we had to pull it out again this year. It’s a simple matching game that helps with shape recognition with an adorable pumpkin theme.
We took our pumpkin shape activity a step further by having a pumpkin shape swat! All I did was place the pumpkin shapes around the room, hand Grace a fly swatter, and called out shapes for her to find and swat. Such a great activity not only for shape recognition but for exercising those gross motor skills as well!
We went back outside for our next fall themed activity and made fall pies, cupcakes, and muffins. Using some recycled containers, we collected nature items again from around our house, and I made some super simple fall scented cloud dough for Grace to make her confections. The recipe I found on Pinterest via Views from a Step Stool, calls for three ingredients: flour, oil, and apple pie spice. I added in a hefty helping of pumpkin pie spice too. The wet sand like mixture was not only fun to play with, but smelt divine as well! I even had Grace follow a simple recipe by having her add 10 acorns, 10 leaves, and 10 sticks to make her pie for the number we were focusing on for our fall theme. Grace made fall pies, muffins, cupcakes, and birthday cakes all afternoon! And mommy blew out countless candles. What a great imaginative play opportunity.
After all the confectionery creations, we took some of those foraged fall items and practiced making our focus letter for our fall themed weeks. It was such a beautiful day and we spent most of the day outside doing fall activities. I took some sidewalk chalk and drew an upper and lower case L, and Grace chose the manipulative (acorns) she wanted to use to make the letters. She took her time and would correct any acorns that rolled too far off the lines she was making. Those fine motor and early hand writing skills were definitely exercised with this activity.
Our next fall themed activity was making fall leaf sun catchers to be displayed in the windows of our new homeschool space. We’ve made several of these tissue paper sun catchers for various past themes, and we will continue making them for many themes to come. The result is simply beautiful and I love having them displayed in our windows. Using clear contact paper, I drew leaf shapes with a sharpie on the non sticky side. I cut around the outline of the leaf, then pulled off the backing and placed each leaf sticky side up on our tray using tape to hold them in place outside the outline. I set out three plates of tissue paper squares: orange, yellow, and red (three of our focus colors) and let Grace start placing squares on the leaves. Once she had each leaf completely covered with the squares, I placed another sheet of clear contact paper sticky side down on top of the leaves to create a seal, and cut them out around the outline I had drawn. Grace then helped Mommy tape them to the windows in our classroom for a beautiful fall display.
We enjoyed a little science experiment for our next fall themed activity: Dancing Corn. Again, I found this activity on Pinterest via Little Bins for Little Hands and it was a great little activity and super fun to watch!
Grace was able to participate through the whole experiment as well. I did pre-measure out the ingredients we would be using, but Grace poured the water then the baking soda into the jar. She was able to mix those ingredients with a spoon and add in the popcorn kernels once mixed. Grace then added the vinegar by dropper a little at a time, and watched as the corn began to dance.
Grace loved watching the corn dance around and continued adding the vinegar by dropper to make the corn dance over and over again. This was the first time Grace had used a dropper, so I did have to show her how it was used and help her in the beginning. By the end she was using the dropper all on her own, and kept saying “do it again”. Really fun and super easy kitchen experiment, perfect for our fall theme.
We had a little leaf study for our next fall themed activity. Using one of our favorite Usborne books, Lift The Flap Nature, and an awesome puzzle found at Target in Bullseye’s Playground a while back, we talked about different leaves and the trees they come from. We pointed out different colors, matched the puzzle pieces to leaves in the book, and also matched some leaves I had collected from the yard to the pictures in the book and the puzzle.
We then took those leaves from the yard over to our table, and Grace was able to do some leaf tracing with our focus colors for our fall theme. All we used for this activity was white copy paper, crayons, and of course our leaves. One at a time, I placed a leaf under the paper and Grace would choose a color to rub over each leaf, so we could see the lines from the stem and veins.
Our last fall themed activity was my favorite kind of activity…a real world experience. We took Grace to a local farm with a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and petting zoo. Grace was able to find her own pumpkins and pick them from the vines, and make her way through a corn field via pathways in the maze. She especially loved feeding the sheep, and getting to see all the animals on the farm, including chasing after some chickens.
So much fun was had celebrating this new season, and Grace and Mommy loved every minute of it! You can find any activities mentioned or recipes for this theme on our Tot School Pinterest Board for easy reference, and you can follow along with our current theme by following us on Instagram (@everydayalittlegrace). I hope Fall is always a special time for Grace where leaves fall like nature’s confetti, pumpkins become good friends, and the colors of the season come to life. For much can be learned from Nature if we just stop and take it all in. 🍁
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If you’d like to see a sample of how I currently plan out themes for a week check out the Tot School Schedule 🍒 v2.0 page!
You can see a list of our 2020 Tot School Themes 🐝 here.
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You can still see our original Tot School Schedule by visiting the Tot School Schedule 🍍 v1.0 page.
You can also see a list of last year’s themes on the 2019 Tot School Themes ☂️ page.
You can find all our daily songs, their tunes and lyrics by visiting our Tot School Songs 🎵 page.
Want even more resources for Tot School? Check out our Tot School Resources Page 📚 for some of our favorites!
EVERYDAY a little Grace 🌷