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Fall Unit/Theme for Homepreschoolers: Books, Songs, Finger Plays and More

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on October 2, 2010

     I realize that this unit is probably a little late for many of you; others, like me, would save this unit unil late October/early November.  Where we live, the leaves don’t really start turning until then.  In fact, although it’s cooling off now, it was over 100 degrees last week.  Please NOTE:  As with any homepreschool unit, please that these ideas are only suggestions.  Make the unit work for you by deleting or adding as you please.  Use the books and activities you already have at home, and make use of the library!  

      Keep it light and fun, and remember that reading aloud is the most important part of any preschool unit.

Concepts to Learn:

-There are 4 seasons in a year.  The seasons are winter, spring, summer, and fall.

-Another name for “fall” is “autumn”.

-In the fall, the weather starts to turn colder.

-Fall is harvest time:  Grapes, corn, nuts, apples, pumpkins, cotton, walnuts, almonds, watermelons, etc (individualize this for where you live) are harvested during fall.

-During the fall, the leaves on trees change colors and then fall to the ground.

-During the fall, animals are busy getting ready for winter.  Some animals eat lots and lots, storing fat in their bodies to prepare for hibernation.  Other animals collect and store food for winter.  Some animals migrate (or travel) to warmer places during the fall. 

-In olden days, families where busy preparing for winter–just like the animals!  During fall farmers harvested their crops and stored up food that they could eat during the fall.  They had to do this to have enough food to eat during the long, cold, winter (read the book, Blueberries for Sal.) 

Vocabulary:  Seasons, fall, autumn, migrate, hibernate, seeds, and harvest. 

Suggested Books to Read:

Animals in Winter, by Henreitta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder (how animals prepare for winter)

Apple Pie Tree, the, by Zoe Hall

Autumn Leaves, by Ken Robbins

Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey

Chipmunk Song, by Joanne Ryder

Fall Leaves Fall, by Zoe Hall

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by  Marjorie Priceman  (just for fun–goes with the apple theme.) 

Why Do Leaves Change Color?  By Betsy Maestro

How Do You Know It’s Fall, by Allan Fowler, A Rookie Read About Science Book (includes a quick, inoffensive mention of Halloween)

What Happens in Autumn, A National Geographic Young Explorer Book, by Suzanne Venino

When Autumn Comes, by Robert Maass

How Do Apples Grow?  By Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro   

Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh and Kathy Jakobsen Hallquist

Corn is Maize by Aliki (or, you can save this one to read during your Thanksgiving unit.)

Finally:  Tell the story, “The Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows”, and illustrate with an apple.  Find the story HERE.  It’s fun to plan to do apple printing afterwards–make apple prints showing the star inside (see directions below under “activities.”)  

I haven’t read these books, but they look appealing to me:

Busy Animals: Learning About Animals in Autumn, by Bullard/Takvorian

Apples, Apples, Everywhere!  Learning About Apple Harvests, by Koontz/Takvorian

Raccons and Ripe Corn, by Jim Arnosky

Every Autumn Comes the Bear, by Jim Arnosky

Finger Plays

Alphabet Soup’s Apple songs and finger plays

More apple poems

Alphabet Soup’s Fall songs and finger plays

My Favorite Finger Plays and Poems:*

 10 Red Apples

10 red apples grow on a tree (hold up fingers)

5 for you and 5 for me (hold one hand forward, then the other.) 

Let us shake the tree just so (shake body)

And 10 red apples will fall below (hands flutter and fall)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (count each finger.)


Popcorn Clapping Chant (clap where the letters are in bold print)

Popcorn, popcorn, shakin’ in the pan.

Popcorn, popcorn, Bam! Bam! Bam!


5 Red Apples 

5 red apples in a basket by the door,

Little _____took one, and then there were 4.

4 red apples were still enough for me. 

 _____took one, and then there were 3.

3 red apples, and what did I do? 

I baked one in an apple pie, and then there were 2.

2 little apples before this story’s done,

______will make some applesauce, and that leaves 1.

1 little apple, I’ll put it in a sack,

I’ll give it to my grandma, to have for a snack.   (fill in with names of people in your family.  This is fun to do with real apples, or felt apples and numbers.)

Four Little Leaves

(cut out 4 differently shaped leaves from pellon or 4 felt leaves in the colors below.  Place leaves on your felt board before you start the poem.  Have your children pick the correct leaf off the felt board as you read the poem.) 

There were 4 little leaves, on an autumn day.

The green leaf said, “it’s time to play.”

The yellow leaf said, “I will tumble to the ground.”

The brown leaf said, “I will not make a sound.”

The orange leaf said, “I can hear the north wind blow,”

Then the 4 little singing leaves drifted down below.

*I learned these as a preschool teacher years ago. The author is unknown.  If you know the original source, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Nature Walk and Related Activities: 

-Go on a nature walk and look for signs of fall:  Beautifully colored leaves, seeds and seed pods, squirrels gathering nuts, squirrel holes/caches/nests, migrating birds, and so on.

-While on your nature walk, collect leaves for these ideas:

  • Press leaves between wax paper
  • -Preserve leaves in glycerin and later, use them to decorate for Thanksgiving (warning:  lots of supervision required—poisons involved.  Kids can pound stems and drop leaves into glycerin.) 
  • Make leaf rubbings
  • Older preschoolers will enjoy learning the names of some common trees in your area.  They can also learn to identify their leaves. 
  • Children will be fascinated to look at leaves using a magnifying glass or a simple hand-held magnifier/microscope
  • Older children will enjoy a scavenger hunt, matching leaves to trees and then identifying them by name (use a field guide for this.)  Draw or photograph your finds.

Other Activities: 

-Visit an apple farm and pick your own apples.  Use them to make apple pie and/or applesauce (see below for recipe.)

-Preschool Education.com includes a long list of fall art projects 

-Crepe paper fall tree:  Have your child draw or paint a bare tree trunk (or you make one for them.)  Pre-cut tissue paper squares (1×1”) in fall colors.   Have your child collage leaves onto the tree.  Experiment with crumpling the paper, laying it flat, rolling it, or wrapping it around a pencil eraser to make a flowery effect.  Alternate idea for the tree trunk:  trace around your child’s arm and fingers, then paint or color.

-Paint with fruits and vegetables harvested in fall:  Cut one apple in half down the middle in one direction, and another apple in two large halves across the middle; shuck corn and cut in half.  Set cut pieces out overnight (this dries them out a little to make a clearer print.)  Dip the fruit/vegetables in thick tempera paint or acrylic paint and then stamp or roll them to make designs (this is fun to do along with the story, “A Little Red House With No Doors and No Windows” (see above.)

-Make a collage with things harvested in fall:  Popcorn, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.  Some children enjoy drawing a simple flower or sun shape to fill in.

-Crack walnuts and eat.

-If you can, take a field trip to an agricultural area and watch the harvest.

-Take a trip to the grocery story and talk about things harvested in fall.

-Learn how grapes are made into raisins.  Make your own raisins by drying grapes on a dehydrating machine.

Snacks/Cooking Experience: 

-Anything harvested or processed in fall (grapes, raisins, apples, corn, etc.)

Make homemade applesauce (you cut the apples into medium sized pieces, and then have your children chop them into smaller pieces with a table knife.  Kids can also help measure and add sugar/spices and mash cooled applesauce.) 

Have fun!


 © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.  


2 Responses to “Fall Unit/Theme for Homepreschoolers: Books, Songs, Finger Plays and More”

  1. Cheyenne said

    Wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing Susan.

  2. Kim said

    Such fun, sweet ideas! Thank you for sharing with us! I can’t wait to share these ideas with my preschoolers.

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