5 Low Prep Fall Activities For Your Toddler

Hookster's Ideas: 5 Low Prep Fall Activities for Your Toddler

Wahoooooo!!  Who is excited for fall?!?!  My Tinkering Toddlers structured playgroup classes were on a hiatus for the summer, but are now back in full force for October.  All things fall are on my mind, so I have come up with five easy activities for you to do with your toddler this fall.


#1 Fall Finds Sensory Box

Hookster's Ideas: Tinkering Toddlers Fall Finds Sensory Box
As part of our Woodland Animals theme week, we will be learning all about animals and things that live in the forest.  Sensory boxes are such a great way to make learning hands-on for our smallest learners.  I chose kinetic sand from Lakeshore Learning as the base because it is purely magical.  If you have never touched it before, I highly encourage you to dig in with your toddler.  The sand sticks together, doesn't dry out and has antibacterial components to keep all healthy.  Then add in things that you would find in the woods: pine cones, acorns, leaves, pine needles, rocks, etc.   I also added in some picture cards of animals that are native to the forest and labeled them.  Finally add in some spoons, little cups, scoops, bowls, etc. to use to interact with the different materials in there.  

Teaching Tip: The following discussion prompts can be used to help your child's language and vocabulary develop:
How does the pine cone feel?
How many acorn can you count?
Which animals live on the ground and which animals live in the trees?

#2 Salt Dough Pumpkin Keepsake Crafts



Hookster's Ideas: Tinkering Toddlers Salt Dough Pumpkin Keepsake

What parent doesn't love a memento of just how small our kiddos are or how much they have grown?  I try to do at least one hand/footprint activity a year so that we can compare how much our little 2 pound 11 ounce peanut has grown each year!  This simple activity can likely be done with the materials you have around the kitchen: flour, salt, water, food coloring, and acrylic paint.  Make them in the shape of pumpkins to add to the fall flavor of this time of the year.

Teaching Tip:  Make extra orange dough and store in an air-tight container to use throughout the month to create all kinds of fall creations.

#3 Stinky Skunk Puppets


Hookster's Ideas: Tinkering Toddlers Stinky Skunk Puppet

This adorable puppet was inspired by a little song (inspired by this one by Jim Cosgrove)
 Jackson and I sing which goes like this:

Mom: "Jackson's got stinky feet...pee-yew!"
Jackson: "Momer's got stinky feet... pee-yew!"

All you need for this one is a paper lunch sack, my skunk printable, a white and black bump chenille stem, crayons, scissors, and glue.

Teaching Tip: Once you have made your skunk puppet, you can practice asking wh- questions to your toddler using the puppet.  For example: 
Where does the skunk live?
What does the skunk eat?

#4 Slimy Noodle Sensory Box


Hookster's Ideas: Tinkering Toddlers Slimy Noodle Sensory Box

This is another super easy sensory box that will surely keep your toddler busy for a long time!  It is so easy to make these colored noodles.  All you need to do is cook the noodles, let them cool, mix in gel food coloring with a little olive oil so they don't stick together, then let them sit for 30-45 minutes to allow the coloring to set so it doesn't stain what it touches.  Then add in (not pictured) spiders, bugs, eyeballs, etc. from the dollar store and some tongs, bowls, cups, etc. and dig in!  Make sure that you throw this out after a day or two max because bacteria will develop and then you will have a science experiment to examine!  I speak from experience on this one! :)

Teaching Tip: Discuss with your child the textures and colors they see.  
How do the noodles feel?
What color is this noodle (hold up a noodle)?
Can you find a _____ noodle? (insert color)

#5 Bug Matching Mats


Hookster's Ideas: Tinkering Toddlers Bug Matching Mats

Matching and learning new vocabulary go hand-in-hand and are such important skills for toddlers to learn.  My bug matching mats are great for this and worked well in our Bugs and Insects themed week.  All that is needed for these are the mats, cards, printed in color and laminated, and some hook and loop fasteners from the dollar store.

Teaching Tip: Be sure to talk about the characteristics of the insects:
Which insects have wings?
Which insects have antennae?
What feature makes it so the butterfly can fly?
Why do you think some insects have a lot of legs?

Where do I find these materials?

I hope you found one or more activities you would like to try with your toddler this fall.  All of the above plus more (4 activities per week all month that include language, movement, science, and art) are available here.  You will get the detailed directions including photos for most and printable materials mentioned above.  Additionally, you can find the whole year's worth of Tinkering Toddler materials bundled together here.