3 Play-Based Activities for Fall in TK and Kindergarten

In our TK classroom, we love to celebrate the Fall season! There are so many fun, play-based activities that students can enjoy all season long. Here are 3 of our favorites!

Still Life Painting and Modeling

Fall is the best time of year to bring in various types of objects for children to observe, touch, and explore! Besides using their senses, children can get creative with representing the still life materials you bring in. This is a great way to introduce painting if you have not already done so at this point in the school year. Using both tempera and watercolor paints will result in beautiful, unique works. This is also fun with clay! By using modeling clay, children are able to create 3D versions of the fall objects. There are also fine motor benefits to using clay rather than a softer medium like Playdoh, and the children can take their creations home! Here’s why we love this activity:

  • Children are able to use realia in their play
  • Materials like paint, oil pastels, and clay are introduced as forms of creative representation
  • It’s exciting to see what new things their teachers will bring in!

If you’d like to try still life painting, I recommend these objects or materials: Mini pumpkins and gourds, sunflowers, small branches with leaves, pine cones, mums, and dried corn.

Leaf Play

Leaves are such abundant and versatile items to bring into your classroom in the fall! Children can go on leaf hunts to gather a variety of leaves, and their collections can grow or change daily! If you do not have a variety of leaves, ask families to find some in their neighborhoods. Leaves can be used for all sorts of play-based activities. We love making leaf animals after being inspired by Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. Children can also make leaf rubbings, create a leaf collage, or make a leaf mobile! Here’s why we love this type of activity:

  • Children bring nature into their play
  • Leaves are usually abundant in the fall, so they can be rotated often!
  • There are so many open-ended options for how to use leaves

A fun way to connect with other classrooms is to ask if anyone would like to send leaves from where they live! We have received letters and leaf donations from the Boston area, Washington state, and Tennessee.

Halloween Stations

If you celebrate Halloween or have the ability to bring this holiday into your classroom, there are so many fun play stations or activities you can do! We love these activities for their playful nature and ability to be open-ended. I have been inspired for some of these play-based activities by Allie from Joys of Kinder. She has such amazing ideas! With very little prep, you can incorporate these Halloween stations into your regular free play time, or you could use these stations as morning play or soft start! Here’s why we love these activities:

  • Children are encouraged to pretend!
  • Open-ended materials allow for creative thinking
  • We can learn more about traditions surrounding Halloween

Our Halloween stations include:

  • Jack-o-Lantern creation: Use a die cutting machine to make pumpkin cut outs. Add dot paint and googly eyes to the station. Children can decorate their own Jack-o-Lantern!
  • Make a Halloween potion: Include empty glass jars and some Halloween confetti. Print potion recipes and arrange near the jars. Children can create potions by putting the confetti in the jars!
  • Write a BOO book!: Print various Halloween-themed vocabulary cards. I use these! Create mini books by laying two pieces of blank white paper on top of a black piece of construction paper. Fold in half, then staple 3 times down the side. Children will use the vocab cards to draw pictures (and add words) on each page!
  • Skeleton creation: Print mini skulls and laminate. Add q-tips and black mats to a table. Children will build free-form skeletons using the q-tips!
  • Tell a Halloween story: Get mini erasers or other small Halloween items. Have trays or other places for the pieces to gather. Have children arrange the pieces in a “story,” using their oral storytelling skills to tell what is happening. You can record them telling their story on an app like Seesaw!
  • Draw a spooky picture: Using either blank paper or coloring pages, children can draw or color a themed picture!

You can find my table signs and other parts of our stations HERE!

I hope you have fun with your students during this fall season! Let me know your favorite play-based activities to do in the fall!

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