Fall is perfect for easy toddler activities!
Here I’ve compiled a list of activities perfect for your toddler or preschooler, which have kept my toddlers busy, busy, busy this Fall (or Autumn as it’s called where I’m from).
I’ve also thrown in a few others we’ve yet to try since there’s still plenty of Fall left.
From outdoor Fall activities to a few simple indoor ones, no prep ones to a little prep, all of these Fall/Autumn activities incorporate some specific learning tasks.
Easy Fall toddler activities here we come!
Fall scavenging and leaf/Fall ‘stuff’ activities
1. Scavenge and collect dead leaves and other Fall ‘stuff’
This is a Fall ‘scavenger hunt’ in the loosest sense; hunting, foraging and collecting different types of leaves, sticks, twigs, seedpods, pine cones, acorns, conkers and everything else Fall.
This is the precursor to some of the other Fall toddler activities, which involve I dried leaf or six plus a bunch of other Fall ‘stuff’.
It’s also possibly the easiest and most fun; if your toddlers are anything like mine, carrying things around in the latest bag, bucket or toy wheelbarrow is about as much fun as it gets!
2. Sort the Fall find
You’ve got a big pile of random Fall stuff. So the next Fall activity is to get your toddler to sort it.
Sorting is an important skill for your toddler or preschooler to learn and one of the very first steps in learning Math. Here we’re going to start off by sorting by’type’.
Sticks with sticks, leaves with leaves and so on.
Depending on your toddler’s sorting skills you can then move onto sorting big leaves with big leaves, little with little, yellow with yellow and so on.
It just depends what your mini Fall scavenger hunt produced.
3. Count the different ‘Fall’ items
Saying 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 is the easy first step to counting. Teaching your toddler what the numbers means is the next step.
Practice counting how many leaves are in the leaf pile or how many you are holding.
Then ask your toddler to pass you either 1, 2 or 3 leaves. Just stop at 3, that’s more than taxing enough.
Then you can turn this into more of a physical activity, game even.
Put a pile of leaves or sticks at one end of the garden and have your toddler run to the pile and come back with 1, 2 or 3 depending on which number you shout.
Sounds easy, trust me, it might not be in the beginning!
4. Match colors or leaf shapes using a free printable
I love this simple Fall leaf matching activity (with free printable) from KC Edventures.
It’s another exercise in sorting and matching which is on the list for next week.
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5. Make a giant face or mini tree with Fall items
My eldest wanted to do a monster face which was definitely a joint activity at first until he got into the swing of things. We used leaves for the outline, stones for eyes, seed pods as eyebrows, some dried up grass for some crazy monster hair and sticks for ‘big sharp teeth’.
Sadly I failed to get a photo before his delightful little sister came and destroyed the whole lot – much to my son’s horror.
But he as determined and tried his own interpretation of a ‘tree’, hidden in the verandah, which I distracted his sister. Not bad considering he did it entirely unaided.
Pick out some softer of the dried leaves – you don’t want them to be too brittle – for the body of the monster.
My two then did some squiggles and doodles on this leaf with sharpies. I helped them stick arms on and the craft stick, using masking tape.
Finally, the fun part of the googly eyes and pompoms for hair (stuck on with glue dots).
Not a craft that’s going to last all that long but in our house taking the craft apart is as much fun as doing it so none of ours do anyway.
7. Birds nest collage
For this one you need some smaller Fall items – small leaves, dried petals, dried seeds etc.
Have your toddler make their own birds nest collage on some contact paper. Add a simple bird cut out and cover with another sheet of contact paper.
8. Leaf rubbings
Such a classic and so simple.
Clip your leaf under some paper on a clipboard. Let your toddler go mad with some crayons and let the leaf emerge!
Good for talking about the different parts of the leaf.
This one comes from Here Comes The Girls Blog and is a fun exercise in coordination and fine motor skills. Simply thread leaves onto a stick…
Simple nearly-zero-prep Fall activities for toddlers
10. Sing some Autumn action songs
Childhood 101 has some lovely Autumn action songs here. Most of them are pretty easy to learn because they’re sung to songs you will already know the tune to.
These 3 are the ones that have become the favorites with my toddlers:
- “Scarecrow, Scarecrow” – sing to Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around
- “Here We Go Round the Apple Tree” – sing to Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
- “Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down” – sing to London Bridge is Falling Down
11. ‘Bob’ for apples
This was not bobbing as I remember as a kid – as in sticking your head in the water and grabbing the apple with your teeth while trying to avoid getting completely soaked. I decided that was just too wet and cold for this time of year!
Grab some kitchen utensils, fill a bucket with water and chuck the apples in.
Hand your toddler a ladle, slotted spoon, ice-cream scoop, plastic tongs etc and get them to fish the apple out.
You can play lots of different versions of this game – for a long time it would seem! I did this game at a playdate with two other toddlers and it went on for an hour, I kid you not.
First, we played it as an ‘apple and spoon’ race, then added a color sorting dimension since the apples we were using were all shades of red and yellow.
So having fished the apple out of the water, they had to run back and place it in the red or yellow plastic bowl.
Finally, we incorporated a balance beam – walking up the balance beam while carrying the apple and spoon!
12. Color in Fall inspired printables
Too simple. Just print and go! Click here for some free printable Fall coloring pages from Party With Unicorns.
13. Read a book about Autumn/the Fall
My two love books which I’m so happy about and what better way to learn about the Fall than with a Fall-inspired book.
Here are some lovely Autumn book ideas from Cendu Param.
14. Apple poking
Get your toddler to poke cocktail sticks into an apple pre-marked with dots. Really good for hand eye coordination. Just watch as my toddlers didn’t want to stop and the apples soon resmebled hedgehogs and were very difficult to handle!
15. Pumpkin hammering
If your toddler likes hammering they’re going to love this Fall activity.
Similar to the apple poking but using a toddler-friendly hammer and some golf tees. Mark up some dots on the pumpkin or the outline of eyes and nose for your toddler to aim for when hammering in the tees.
16. Dinosaur hunting
Whatever the season, some kind of ‘hunt’ around the garden for things I’ve hidden is my go-to for a quick toddler activity. It’s minutes to set up and keeps my two busy for as long as 20 minutes sometimes.
Even better in the Fall because the dinosaurs and plastic animals (our items of choice to hunt) are so well camouflaged among the dead leaves.
17. Practice number recognition & counting with this apple tree printable
Simply add the correct number of apples on to the apple tree. A fun and simple fall activity for your little one.
Fall sensory activities for toddlers
18. Fall process art
The possibilities are endless here – the idea is to use anything other than a paintbrush to transfer paint to paper. And because it’s Fall, this list either uses Fall fruit or veg or produces a Fall inspired masterpiece!
Here are a few ideas:
- Use apples to print pumpkin shapes – In The Kids Kitchen
- Use pumpkins to print pumpkins – What We Do All Day
- Try leaf painting and printing – Lorena Y Lennox.
- Try painting with nature and using leaves other Fall things as the paintbrush in this simple activity from Busy Toddler.
- Get your toddler to paint leaves onto a pre-drawn tree using cut-up sponges – Cendu Param.
- Make it easy for your toddler with some Fall leaf stencil art with a free printable stencil from Craft With Sarah
- What about a footprint painted Fall tree? My two are sure to love this activity from Emma Owl
- For some messy art, try this pumpkin drip art from The Imagination Tree (it looks right up my toddlers street!)
- Or let the pumpkins do the hard work in this painting with pumpkins Fall activity from Childhood Beckons.
19. Fall sensory Bottle
So this is more for mom to make, but it’s super quick, and your toddler is just going to love it! Making one of these is on my list of things to do as, at 2.5 and 3.5, my two often get themselves in a pickle with their emotions. Trying to help them calm down and teach themselves calm down techniques is a vital part of their ability to self-regulate.
Here’s an easy to follow tutorial for Falling Leaves Sensory Bottle from The Soccor Mom Blog.
20. Explore the inside of a pumpkin or squash
Little hands just love yukky, messy, sensations as far as I can tell. So exploring the inside of a pumpkin was right up my toddlers street and kept them engaged while I explained all I know about pumpkins (in case you’re wondering, that’s not very much.)
You can even get them to remove the seeds with some tweezers – my two seem to love this kind of fine motor skill nearly as much as cutting, which is definitely top at the moment.
21. Fall slime
My toddlers love the squishiness of slime and they’re also going to love the color and sparkle of this Fall inspired slime recipe. That’s definitely one for next week.
22. Bake Fall inspired goodies
I love baking and have even learnt to love baking with my toddlers!
It’s obviously more of a challenge but if you can reset your expectations (it’s going to take ten times as long and involve ten times as much mess) there’s a lot to be said for getting your kids involved in food. Besides the understanding and learning, they’re far more likely to try new foods if they’ve been involved in the preparation and cooking.
And then, of course, there’s the sensory experience of the taste, textures and smells of both preparing and eating your baked Fall treats.
There are lots of yummy looking pumpkin and apple goodies in this list of 15 Fall-Inspired Sweets to Make With Your Kids from The Every Mom.
Can’t wait to try these!
23. Fall scented playdough
Playdough is an absolute winner in our house. And it’s also wonderful for fine motor skills, it helps build muscle in all those intricate hand muscles (aiding a nice strong pincer grip, necessary for good pen control) and is good for imagination and creativity.
Another activity with a therapeutic and calming effect – so ideal for toddlers!
So next time you make slab of playdough you’ve got to try this homemade pumpkin spice playdough recipe from Homeschool Preschool to add a further sensory dimension with a classic Fall aroma.
24. Fall-inspired sensory bin
A lovely quiet time activity that can keep busy toddlers entertained for quite a while. Normally long enough to enjoy a whole cup of tea hot!
I love this Autumn sensory bin idea from Felt With Love Designs.
Your toddler may also enjoy sorting the different elements to the sensory bin into different colored pots, a good test of fine motor control.
25. Fall-inspired musical instruments
A lidded Tupperware or yogurt pot with a few acorns in is all it takes to make a “musical instrument”, aka noise maker! You can vary the size of the container, what you put in it (corn kernels, leaves, pebbles, sand etc) and how much you put in, so your toddler can experiment with the different sounds. A fun Fall sensory activity and STEM project too!
Inspired by these fun fall activities for toddlers?
Ok, that’s all for now but will continue to update as I’m sure there are a ton more awesome Fall activities for toddlers out there!
Halloween is just around the corner! For fun and easy Halloween activities for 2 to 5 year olds, don’t forget to check out the FAB-BOO-LOUS HALLOWEEN ACTIVITY PACK:
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