Fall can be a fickle month in Southern California as the temperatures rise and fall from day to day. But even when it’s not consistently cool out, it’s easy to feel a true sense of change in the air. How do we share the change of seasons with our little learners? Let’s get into it.
Fall into Activity
Just as we did at the start of spring, an exploratory activity like a nature walk in a nearby park, trail, or even in your own neighborhood, can jumpstart your child’s curiosity about a new season. Engage their senses and practice observational skills with a few simple, sensory-based questions:
- What do you see? Ask your child to describe something close to them and something far away. Are there changing leaves in the yard?
- What do you hear? Ask your child to close their eyes for a moment then ask them what they can hear. Are their insects or animals in the trees?
- What do you smell? Have everyone breathe in deep and then share what they smell. Any blooms in the air?
- What do you feel? Show them how to sink their hands or toes into the earth and then ask what it feels like. Pick up a leaf, hold it in their hand, place it on their cheek.
Encouraging your child to recognize what’s around them, what they can hear, smell, and feel, is a great way to teach body regulation and mindfulness. If your little one’s day has gotten off to a rough start, a mindfulness activity like this may be a great way to reset.
Fall into Cooking
Keeping with the theme of tuning our senses to a new season, how about trying a fall-festive recipe? Apple butter is a versatile and easy fall staple, it is also offers a smooth and buttery sensory experience. It can be used as a spread on toast or added to pancakes and oatmeal. No matter how you use it, ask your child about what they taste, smell and feel. You will need a few items and some patience for this one!
- 6 ½ pounds of Macintosh, Gala or Red apples
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
(This makes 20 servings and can be stored in the freezer. Too much? Feel free to cut this recipe in half.)
- An adult will need to peel, core, and slice the apples. Older kids may be able to help a bit with this part under supervision.
- Put the sliced apples in a slow cooker.
- Top with the remaining ingredients and stir.
- Now the patience part, cook on low for roughly 10 hours and stir occasionally.
- If you prefer a smoother texture, you can blend the apple butter.
- The butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Fall into Story
“We’re Going on a leaf hunt. We’re going right away. Let’s find colorful leaves. It’s a wonderful day! Listen to We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt, a perfect story to get your little one up and moving, practicing the motions of “climb, climb, huff, puff” and more!
If you need something a little more calm, gather round to listen to the book Mamá Goose: Bilingual Lullabies- Nanas. Read in English and Spanish, little children will be simultaneously building their brain power and soothed by the sing-song rhyme.
One More Very Important Part of Fall
September marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, beginning September 15th and continuing to October 15th. Learn more about the history, get connected with resources and organizations, and find books for children and adults to honor the incredible contributions of Hispanic/Latino(a) Americans.