Fall Adventures

Fall Adventures

Students will use their senses to observe signs of fall, size and shapes of leaves, matching seeds, animals that eat the seeds, and fall migration of ducks and geese.


  • Seed collecting trays
  • Leaf collecting guides
  • Baggies
  • Animals- pictures, study skins, puppets (see below)
  • Black bags
  • Puppets

Introduction: Turn on your Senses

Hearing: Rabbit Ears
Have students cup their hands behind their ears and let them listen for 30 seconds. Have the students share what they heard.

Seeing: Eagle Eyes
Have students make little circles with their thumbs and first fingers and place this in front of their eyes like glasses. Let the students look with their “eagle eyes” and describe the different colors that they see.

Smelling: Fox Noses
Have the students smell the air around them and have them describe how it smells to them.

Touch: Raccoon Paws
Have the students wiggle their fingers. Have them touch their hair, pants, sidewalk, and face. Explain to the students that they will be touching things that are soft, hard, damp, dry, etc.

Students will not be tasting at the park today. The only tasting students will be eating snacks or picnic lunches.

Discussion: Review the rules for the hike

  1. Stay with your group leader.
  2. Please don’t pick up the plants (leaves and flowers). Explain that the naturalist may do some picking but that the students shouldn’t.
  3. The naturalist will lead the hike and will rotate groups so that each group gets to go first at least once.
  4. Don’t pull on the prairie grasses because they will cut your hands.
  5. Remind the children that they are visiting someone else’s home (all of the plants and animals that live in the park) so they need to treat it with respect.
  6. School rules apply.

Activity (can be done at the beginning or after the hike begins): What are some signs of fall?

Leaves turning color and falling, cooler weather, shorter days, need to wear warmer clothing like jackets, pants, mittens and hats, school starts, crops are harvested, pumpkins ripen, Halloween, Thanksgiving

Activity: I Spy

Hink/Honk Migration
Tree Seed Sort
Tree Vest

Activity: How are the woodlands different from the prairie?

Less grass, more trees, more shade, smells earthy, less wind, cooler, more colorful.
Sing or read a fall poem or song. Have students sing along

Activity: What animals live in the woodlands?

Squirrel, chipmunk, deer – Using a puppet, describe the chipmunk or squirrel and how they collect nuts and store them. Compare the differences between the squirrel and chipmunk. (Squirrels gather acorns and nuts, bury them, they live in trees, and do not hibernate. Chipmunks gather acorns and nuts, store them in underground home, they live in burrows underground, and hibernate.)

Background Information

Fox Squirrel- common animal to see at the park. In the fall they are gathering and burying nuts so they will have something to eat when winter comes and food is scarce. Often they will bury their nuts next to large trees so that they can find their buried nuts later in the winter. However, squirrels do not remember where they have buried all of their nuts. In spring, the nuts they don’t find may sprout and grow into trees.

Activity: Tree Song

Leaves, branches, trunk and roots
Leaves, branches, trunk and roots
Leaves, branches, trunk and roots
Leaves, branches, trunk and roots

Activity: Autumn leaves and leaves, leaves falling down

Activity: Matching leaf shapes and comparing size and types of tree seeds.

Hand out leaf shape guide, baggie for carrying leaves and seed comparison trays. Have adult leaders take the students out in the woodlands. Roam around observing leaf types and seed comparisons. Gather group and discuss leaf types and seed types. Identify the different seeds (walnuts, acorns, hickory nuts, basswood seeds, sycamore seeds, red cedar seeds). Have students disperse the seeds and leaves after finished with observations.

Activity: Tree Vests and Tree Cookies

Dress a student with the tree vest and leaf crown. Describe how the roots (brown yarn) bring water up into the tree. Why is the bark important? Open vest and show straws. Describe how sugars are made in leaves and brought down to the roots so the tree can have food. What is happening to the leaves in the fall (changing colors and falling off)?

Activity: Hug a Tree

Have children run up to the big basswood tree. Have them hug the tree. What does a tree offer us? (Shade, wood to build houses, air, food) Look at its size and shape. How does it feel (smooth, bumpy)? Smell the tree.

Activity: Migration

It’s time to migrate to the pond. Students are to pretend to be Canada geese honking and hinking as they fly to the pond. Boy geese say HONK and girl geese say HINK. Put the animal skin or puppet into the black bag and then have a student come up and place their hand in the bag and describe how it feels, how large they think it is and try to guess what the animal is. Show the animal and its picture after the students have guessed what it is. (Canada goose wing, duck foot)

Why do geese and ducks fly south for the winter? (Geese and ducks eat insects in the water. They fly south to find food in open water because the water here is frozen)

Wrap Up

Gather group together and review the observations of fall. Ask what the students liked best on their hike. If the group is big and it takes too much time to ask each student, have the students shout, on the count of three, what their favorite part of the hike was.

Activity provided by:

Story County Conservation Board
Linda R. F. Zaletel
56461 180th St.
Ames, IA 50010
Story County Conservation

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Category: Group Activities

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 9.1, 9.3, 9.4, 11.2, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 13.2, 14.3

Related Kindernature Resources: Other Resources: