Fall Autumn Themes and Units for Preschool, Pre K, and Kindergarten: Lesson Plans, Activities, and Crafts

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Unit Ideas

Fall Autumn Unit Ideas

Pumpkins

Apples

Leaves

Halloween

Fall Harvest

Thanksgiving

Squirrels

Scarecrows

This fall think about adding a handful of new preschool or kindergarten units and themes to your standard curriculum. Many teachers find it beneficial to rotate through different themes and units during a season or to switch up the entire curriculum from year to year. Keep in mind that a solid unit can be used throughout the entire academic curriculum and should not be contained to one or two subject areas. The ideas will start to flow as you get comfortable integrating topics across multiple subjects. Before long, you won't even know what to do with all of the material that you have. Happy fall!

Subjects

Writing

Math

Science

Social Studies

Art

Music

Pumpkins

• Plan a trip to a local pumpkin patch or farmers market. This can be a great opportunity to learn about how pumpkins are grown. Bring back a selection of pumpkins in various sizes and shapes to use in the classroom for your unit. If you aren't able to visit a pumpkin patch, purchase real pumpkins from a grocery store.
• Estimate the weights and sizes (don't forget about circumference) for a group of pumpkins before calculating the real weights. You can also estimate and then count the number of seeds in a given pumpkin. Discuss and implement different strategies for counting the seeds (i.e. counting by 5s or 10s). There are any number of other math lesson possibilities for pumpkins such as comparisons (i. e. which pumpkin weighs more?) and total weight or size.
• Once you've taken the seeds out of a pumpkin, you can eat them or make pictures with them.
• Do pumpkins float? Make your guesses and then give it a try.
• Learn about the different parts of a pumpkin.
• Learn about the health benefits of pumpkins.
• Make pumpkin recipes with real and/or canned pumpkin. Try making the same recipe with real and then canned pumpkin and the discuss the similarities and differences. Students can draw and/or write about the results. Consider writing your own pumpkin recipes as well.
• Make paper pumpkins that will last all year long.
• If you have a pumpkin unit going during Halloween, carve jack o lanterns. Experiment with different carving tools, designs, and lighting techniques. Painting pumpkins can also be a fun activity for smaller children.
• 10 Pumpkin Recipes for Thanksgiving
This hub details 10 pumpkin recipes that are perfect for Thanksgiving. Each one includes a photo and a link. I've included additional recipe links, too.
• A Delightful Granny Smith Apple Pizza Dessert
This apple pizza recipe uses the Granny Smith variety to make a delicious dessert. It is a great way to enjoy the fruits of the Autumn harvest season.
• Fall Preschool Apple Craft Ideas
Celebrate fall with your preschooler with these five easy apple crafts. Includes step-by-step directions with pictures for creating fun art projects that kids can make at home or in the classroom.

Apples

• Take a trip to a local apple orchard and pick your own apples. If this isn't an option in your area, purchase apples from a local farmers market.
• Do a taste test with different apple varieties and write about their similarities, differences, and characteristics. Which apples do you like the best? Create a graph and chart the class responses.
• Learn about the parts of an apple and how apples are grown. What do apples need to grow?
• Learn about the health benefits of eating apples.
• Estimate how many seeds are in a given apple and then count them.
• Make apple recipes as a class and enjoy simple apple snacks throughout the unit such as apple slices dipped in peanut butter or honey. Then write your own apple recipes and make them into a book.
• Learn the story of Johnny Appleseed.

Leaves

• Learn about the anatomy of a leaf.
• Examine leaves under microscopes and draw pictures of your findings. For younger children, it may be easiest to set up microscopes to proper settings for viewing leaves ahead of time.
• Learn about why leaves change color and fall off of the trees in the fall.
• What kinds of trees are prevalent in your area? Go on a leaf walk in the neighborhood and look for different varieties.
• Examine the patterns of leaf veins by doing leaf rubbings with wax paper and crayons or other appropriate materials.
• Rake leaves on the school grounds or in the neighborhood. This can be a great volunteer opportunity! You might get the chance to jump in a few of the leaf piles, too.
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Halloween

• Discuss safe treat-or-treating guidelines.
• Make some of your own Halloween candy and other treats for a class party.
• Write original scary stories and choose one or two to act out as a class. If you can, put on the play for another class.
• Read famous scary stories and make up new endings.
• Throughout the last couple weeks of October, decorate your classroom for Halloween.
• Decorate rolls of toilet paper with black eyes and mouths to use for "ghost bowling." A small plastic pumpkin makes a great bowling ball.
• If you didn't do a pumpkin unit this year (see above), Halloween is a great time for any number of different pumpkin lessons and activities.

Fall Harvest

• What types of food do farmers harvest in your particular area? If possible, take a trip to a local farm or orchard to observe harvesting in action. If you didn't make an excursion to a pumpkin patch yet this year, a fall harvest unit is a great opportunity.
• How do we harvest food? Learn about the processes of harvesting various foods that grow in your region of the country.
• What animals harvest food during the fall so they have food stored up in the winter? Learn about how and why animals harvest food.

Thanksgiving

• Learn about the first Thanksgiving. How has Thanksgiving changed over the years?
• Learn when we celebrate Thanksgiving in the month of November. Is it in the beginning, middle, or end of the month? What day of the week is Thanksgiving?
• Share Thanksgiving traditions. Are there any special foods that your family always has for the holiday? Do you have any other traditions around the holiday (i.e. chopping down a Christmas tree together during Thanksgiving weekend)?
• Some teachers do separate turkey units. If you don't, Thanksgiving is a great time to learn anything and everything about turkeys.
• Prepare and enjoy a few Thanksgiving foods as a class.

Squirrels

• Are there squirrels that frequent the school grounds? Do students often see squirrels around their homes? Make up stories about and draw pictures of some of these squirrels.
• What type of squirrels live in this area? Learn about the similarities and differences of various types of squirrels. Make sure to watch at least one video of flying squirrel.
• Learn about why squirrels gather and store nuts and acorns.
• Gather your own acorns and make crafts with them.
• Include acorns and various types of nuts in sensory tables and science displays.
• If you make squirrel crafts, don't forget to use cotton balls or another fluffy material for the tails to add dimension and a sensory element.
• Acorn Crafts: Fall Autumn Projects and Ideas

Scarecrows

• Learn about why we use scarecrows. Do they really work? Why are crows afraid of them? Explain how they aren't actually scary to people.
• If you live in a rural area, find out whether they are any scarecrows on nearby farms. If possible, take a trip to visit one or two of them.
• Learn about one of the most famous scarecrows: the one in The Wizard of Oz.
• Make your own scarecrow. Be creative with the materials that you use.

Are you looking for more theme and unit resources? Check this out!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 20, 2013:

Thanks, kikalina! Yes, for sure.

kikalina from Europe on October 20, 2013:

Loved the pumpkin one....It really is the right season for pumpkin.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 14, 2013:

How neat that your son still has all of those facts that you taught him when he was little!

CraftytotheCore on October 14, 2013:

Such excellent ideas! When my children were small, I pushed them around in a double stroller. We would go around and I would identify leaves and berries at this time of year, in fall. My son has Autism, but at the time I didn't know it. He remembered everything I taught him. To this day he can identify trees, nuts, berries, etc., like out of the pages of an encyclopedia! LOL I used to love nature walks when I was a kid too!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 09, 2013:

Thanks, Cyndi! It's great to hear that!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on October 09, 2013:

Fun ideas for fall! I'm actually doing some fall units in Spanish with my students and I got a few ideas here. :)

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 24, 2013:

Thanks, Heather! It's great to hear that. :)

Heather from Arizona on September 24, 2013:

What a comprehensive list. Like epbooks, I'm also not a teacher or mother, but I really enjoyed reading this list. It reminded me of doing leaf rubbings when I was in school. I liked the idea of making the same recipe with fresh and canned pumpkin and comparing the two and also the idea of writing recipes as a class. Such a good hub! :)

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 21, 2013:

It's great to hear that, epbooks! Thanks!

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on September 21, 2013:

I'm not a teacher, nor do I have children, but this hub can help many. Sharing!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 20, 2013:

FlourishAnyway, thanks! You're absolutely right about the versatility of these ideas. They are perfect for parents, youth group leaders, and so much more.

purl, that's awesome. :) I'm sure that kids really enjoy the goofy scarecrows. Thanks!

Donna Herron from USA on September 20, 2013:

Great ideas! I love making scarecrows with smaller children using recycled materials. They tend to look a little goofy rather than scary, but it's a lot of fun :) Thanks for sharing these great ideas! Voted up and pinned!!

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 20, 2013:

Excellent resources for classrooms, youth activity groups, or even for parents to adapt for use at home. Thanks for sharing.