Fun Fall Letter and Number Crafts for Preschoolers
Mother Nature rains down all sorts of useful items for learning during the autumn months. From acorns and other seeds to brilliantly colored leaves there is a wealth of natural resources to use for language arts and math activities.
Take a trip outside with your children or students and see what is out there. Here are some ideas of how to extend an outdoor excursion into a lesson for early childhood learners.
Young children love collecting things. Use all of those acorns, twigs and pebbles for sorting and graphing activities. Fall is a great time to practice letters and Numbers. Grab an old sheet, large piece of cardboard or butcher paper and divide it into sections. In each section write the world of a natural item (or draw a picture for pre-readers) some examples are: acorn, pebble, stick, leaf, pine cone, etc.
Lay it down on the ground and have the kids go on a scavenger hunt to find things. Once they have collected an item they can place it on the right spot on the sheet. After you have a collection (preschoolers love this, so you will quickly have a large one) have a discussion to describe and quantify what you have found. What item did the children find the most of? What do you have the least of? What is the smallest thing collected? The largest? etc.
Using a piece of poster paper draw a graph axis and have students line the items up vertically to graph how many you have. This works great for items of relatively uniform size, like acorns or leaves from the same tree.
Natural materials can be a great way to explore the alphabet and practice letter writing. Have students collect leaves, acorns and small twigs to form the first letter of their name, or a letter you are focusing on during language arts.
Use the “A is for Autumn” printable as a launching point for students to understand how to create their own nature letters. Students can lay items down on the paper to fill in the letters temporarily, or you can get out the glue to make a more permanent art piece. (Keep in mind that natural materials such as leaves change and dry out over time, so for some children this can be frustrating. You will know what is best when working with your young ones.)
For readers and students familiar with their alphabet, go on an ABC scavenger hunt outdoors. See if you can find the shape of letters in nature or human-made structures. Keep track of the letters students have found and try to find all 26 letters of the alphabet. It is also fun to photograph each letter and use the pictures later for reading or art projects.
Nature Close Up
The possibilities for learning with Autumn’s natural resources are practically endless. Bring nature back into the home or classroom and examine it more closely. Use magnifying glasses to find the veins of leaves. Make leaf rubbings by holding a piece of paper over the leaf and rubbing a crayon over the top. You can even preserve them by folding freshly dropped leaves in a piece of wax paper and applying a cool iron to seal it up. The kids will be having so much fun they wont even realize they are recognizing both letters and numbers and actually learning!