The mornings get crisp and the leaves start to turn, so it's a great time to pull out the orange, red, and brown paper! Autumn is a fantastic time to teach children to observe and reflect on the gifts of a bountiful harvest.
These 20 Harvest Activities cover a wide variety of concepts and materials. Encourage your students to explore using man-made as well as natural materials and watch as they have their own harvest fun!
1. Teach Children About the Fall Harvest
Before you have kids jump into a cornucopia of tasks, make sure you give them some context! Each culture has annual harvest festival traditions, and you want to ensure that your activities are culturally appropriate, respectful, and fun!
Learn more: Kaplanco
2. Teach About the History of Your Favorite Fall Activities
Continuing with fun alongside cultural respect, check out this resource for the history of many popular farm and harvest activities. From bobbing for apples to the ever-divisive candy corn, each autumn symbol has a story.
Learn more: Learning Lift Off
3. Make Apple Cider
Kids love eating (and drinking) things they've made all by themselves! This recipe would be a great activity to split over two days - kids remove the apple peels and cut apple slices on day 1, a grownup cooks up the apples after class, and then they stir, strain, and drink on day 2! Here are some kid-friendly cutting tools to keep their little fingers safe (with adult supervision). This recipe can also work with all different types of apples, so it would be a great companion to a harvest farm visit as well!
Learn more: Kid Stir
4. Make Apple Cider Floats
What was that? You have cider left over? How about apple cider floats?! This farm-fruits-turned-dessert recipe will delight your students and be a fantastic finish to a lesson on harvest crops or after a harvest trip.
Learn more: The Merry Thought
5. Make a Leafy Garland
This harvest festival craft can be done at home or at school, all with things you already have on hand! Simply gather some gorgeous leaves (they're all over, anyway!), some paint, newspaper, and string, and voila! Your kids can decorate leaves with a variety of animal characters.
Learn more: Mother Natured
6. Make a Scarecrow
It's not as scary if they make it themselves! This scarecrow "recipe" uses crumpled newspaper instead of straw, so your room is less likely to end up smelling like a barn. You could even create harvest scenes in your room as a focal point for other harvest crafts.
Learn more: eHow
7. Make Pumpkin Popcorn Balls
These simple-yet-delicious treats celebrate one of the most famous harvest vegetables - the noble pumpkin. Cheddar popcorn is transformed into a delightful snack, all without needing to pick or carve!
Learn more: Three Kids and a Fish
8. Make Tissue Paper Ghosts
Using either tissue paper or facial tissue, these lowly supplies are transformed into cute haunts that your kids will love! Pair them with your newspaper scarecrows and make a puppet show!
Learn more: How We Learn
9. Explore With a Fall Scavenger Hunt
Enjoy the last days of clear, crisp weather, and get your kids up and running after all of those sweets! This scavenger hunt includes items that are bountiful in most neighborhoods. You can download harvest theme printables for other activities as well.
Learn more: Wondermom Wannabe
10. The Must-do Handprint Turkey
It wouldn't be preschool in autumn without the handprint turkey. This version adds feathering detail to kick the cuteness level up a notch. This is a great classroom activity, or as a fun harvest festival craft with parents joining in!
Learn more: Fun Handprint Art
11. Stained Glass Fall Leaves
This one requires a bit more setup than the others, but the results are beautiful and worth the window real estate! Shredded tissue paper combines with glue to create these gorgeous silhouettes. Be warned, though, that your kids might have more fun painting the glue than forming the leaves!
Learn more: Sarah Halstead
12. (Not so) Spooky Paper Spiders
Who can resist those googly eyes? This activity is great for motor skills as students practice accordion-folding paper to make the spider's legs.
Learn more This West Coast Mommy
13. Download Harvest-themed Printables
This resource has dozens of printable activities, including Bingo cards, doorknob signs, and vocab & concentration matching cards. There are also adorable harvest-themed gift tags! It's amazing what a piece of paper can do!
Learn more: DLTK Holidays
14. Hidden Pictures From Highlights
15. Visit a Harvest Festival
If you're looking for a location for a harvest trip in the United States, this website is a great resource. Search by state to see what's going on in your area! Don't forget to take your fun harvest festival picture in the corn maze or with a bale of hay!
Learn more: Pumpkin Patches and More
16. Painting With Ears of Corn
17. Paper Corn Husks
Make this a multi-day project by using autumn-themed colors and painting dots on day 1, then add brown construction paper for the husks on day 2! The ears of corn should be bunched together to make a seasonal decoration.
Learn more: Toddler Approved
18. Create With Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Yes, the kids can play with their food! This fun idea uses fruits, vegetables, and cheese to make a delicious turkey for classroom snack time. Even picky eaters will be motivated to eat some "turkey" after this fun activity! This can work with different types of apples as well, so you can explore different colors for the turkey's body.
Learn more: Bright Hub Education
19. Harvest Preschool Activities: A Social Studies Lesson
Learning and play go hand-in-hand for preschoolers. Teaching about the harvest to preschoolers can include some basic geography and history as well. Scroll down on this site for some lesson resources that bring the world into your classroom with a thematic unit as you explore the concept of harvest with your students.
Learn more: The Educators' Spin on It
20. Learning About Wheat and the Red Hen
This resource is a complete lesson plan for learning about wheat through the story of the Little Red Hen. Students learn about wheat, how wheat can be turned into bread, and a bonus activity on the purposes of dance! Enjoy wrapping up the harvest season with this interactive and creative lesson.
Learn more: Education