Fall is in full swing which makes it a fun time to explore the outdoors. The sights, the sounds, and the crisp air makes taking a walk outside so much more exciting for children. The foliage in many areas has just peaked or is almost ready to peak. Weather in your area will affect the timing, but whether the leaves are still on the trees or partially on the ground, the colors are beautiful. Wildlife is moving in the cool fall air and many trees are in the process of dropping their fruit. A walk in the fall provides youth the opportunity to see and touch so many things in nature that are not as easily accessible to them at other times of the year.
Try a fall scavenger hunt when youth can explore and see so much more! Ask youth to find different colored leaves (red, yellow, or orange); different tree fruit such as apples, acorns, hickory nuts, or walnuts; check off/write down the animals they see such a ladybug, wooly worm, squirrel, rabbit, bird, or deer. If youth are able, have them take a gallon size bag on their hunt to bring back a few items from their adventure. This will give you the opportunity to help them match the leaves and fruit from the same tree or compare the sizes of each object the members found. For a little extra fun, tell them to find the smallest and the largest leaf they can find. It will be fun for them to compare what they found with what others found.
Fall is also a fun time to for youth to explore birds as they migrate through Ohio. Cloverbuds can make their own bird feeders and hang them where they can watch the birds. There are multiple ways to make homemade bird feeders. A simple and clean option is to use pipe cleaners and cereal. To complete the activity, you will need pipe cleaners, cereal, string or ribbon, and scissors. Select a cereal with a loophole that can be strung on the pipe cleaner. Members can bend their pipe cleaner into a shape, such as a heart, star, or circle. Be sure the two ends come back to meet each other. Connect two pipe cleaners together to make a bigger feeder. Members can string cereal on the pipe cleaner, leaving about a half inch on each end. Twist the ends of the pipe cleaner together to secure the cereal in place. Use a piece of string or ribbon to hang the feeder outside.
Cloverbuds can also make a bird feeder using a piece of nature, a pinecone. Ask your Cloverbuds to bring a larger, open pine cone. You will also need peanut butter, bird seed, a dinner knife, a small bowl, string or ribbon, and scissors. Tie a loop of string or ribbon to the top of the pine cone to hang your feeder with once it is complete. Use your dinner knife to spread peanut butter on the open pine cone layers. Hold the pine cone at each end and roll it through a bowl of bird seed until all peanut butter is covered in bird seed. Members are now ready to hand their completed bird feeder outside. Encourage Cloverbuds to hang their bird feeders where they can watch the birds from inside. As the weather gets colder, members can refill their bird feeders or make new ones and continue watching the birds through the winter months.
Cereal Bird Feeder: https://kidscraftroom.com/diy-bird-feeder-craft-kids/
Pinecone Bird Feeder: https://onelittleproject.com/pinecone-bird-feeders/