Children love a good treasure hunt and exploring and learning about nature in Autumn. It is a wonderful season for discovering and a great way to have your child connect to their natural environment and recognise the significant changes that can come about from one season to the next. We made a wonderful sensory bin full of pieces we found while on a nature hunt.
If there is one thing I really look forward to during a year it’s exploring and learning about nature in Autumn with my two girls. Autumn (or Fall) is such a beautiful time of year. The heat of Summer cools down and the garden looks significantly different and interesting. With all the wonderful leaves and seed pods around we could resist getting outdoors and collecting such treasures.
Recommended age: 1 year +
(Strict and active supervision is required)
Possum (aged 4 years ) and Boo (aged 1) always get excited by the opportunity to get out of the house and into nature. Do you have children like that? Exploring nature is one of those activities that suits all ages and there always seems to be something new or different to find.
Exploring and learning about nature in Autumn
Our purpose for our walk that morning was explore our environment and spot signs of Autumn. We would then return home and put them all together to make a sensory bin. Of course there are many online that include artificial bits of plastic or scented rice, which is fine, however I believe nature can offer us all we need on it’s own.
Boo is very much a hands on girl and doesn’t mind getting her fingers into dirt or picking up interesting pieces of nature as we walk around. She loved this piece of bark as it was easy to hold and almost as long as herself!
This was a great opportunity to develop her understanding of size and various sizes of objects in nature. I used the words such as ‘big’ and ‘small’ to communicate this to Boo.
Beauty of nature
Just look at a few of the pieces we found on a Autumn nature hunt. Stunning, right? Just looking at the above picture, children can learn all about –
- variety of Autumn colours
- variety of leaves (shape and size)
- grouping of leaves and seed pods etc
As we were discovering all these Autumn treasures the topic of colours was often brought up. Through my conversation with Possum, Boo was listening and really learning about colour names and (hopefully) starting to make connections, which is possible for even a 1 year old.
Preschool aged children might like the challenge of grouping their Autumn treasures according to the colours, although some of what we found was gorgeously speckled with different colours.
With all the wonderful leaves, we also found lots of wonderful seed pods, like this poinciana seed pod. Possum was curious to know more about it and what was inside. The questions started to really flow.
- Why is it that shape?
- Why is it that colour?
- What is inside it?
- How do the seeds come out?
- Do the birds eat the seeds?
…and so the amazing flood of questions continued. To each of the questions I asked Possum to tell me what she thought the answer was. It’s amazing to give children this opportunity to verbalise their thoughts and sometimes they can be able to answer their own question or have the discussion lead on to discovering the facts. Our simple nature hunt then instantly becomes a fabulous lesson of inquiry. How cool is that!
When we returned home I had the girls put all their treasures into a container. They both had such a wonderful time sifting through the pieces and talking about what interested them. Boo discovered that some of the leaves were crunchy and enjoyed scrunching them up in her hand.
I later included a little magnifying glass. Possum loved this because she was able to look up close at each of the leaves and see its veins. I explained to her that the veins move the water and nutrients from the roots of the plant to the leaves and help it grow.
This Autumn sensory bin of natural treasures has been enjoyed for over a week since we first collected all the pieces. I love that it has become something the girls have gone back to and continued to learn from. Not only is it great for sensory development, having them touch and explore each piece, but it has been a source of inspiration for inquiring and wanting to know more about nature and the environment.
Would your children enjoy finding and collecting signs of Autumn?
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