The Magic of Fall

Crisp cool mornings, bright blue sunny skies, juicy red apples, changing leaves…..fall is a great time to explore the outdoors!  If your meeting place allows, take your Cloverbuds on a nature hike.  Or encourage them to explore their backyards or take a nature walk with their family.  Take a look around – what do you see?  Many plants are reaching the end of their life cycle and it’s exciting to look for seed pods, berries, nuts, pinecones, etc.  Look for cocoons, spider webs, insects, and empty bird nests.  Remind your Cloverbuds not to eat anything they find.  Also remind them that when we are hiking in a public park we only take pictures.  Leave everything there for the next family to enjoy.

Talk with your Cloverbuds about the changing seasons.  How are the seasons different?  What is their favorite season?  What is their favorite thing about each season?  How does the weather change each season? What are some activities that they enjoy doing during the fall?

Here are some fun fall activities to share with your Cloverbuds.

Leaf rubbings are easy to do and fun to make.  Have your Cloverbuds collect a variety of fallen leaves from trees in their own yards.  Help the Cloverbuds to identify the leaves they find by using a leaf identification book from your local library.  Talk to your Cloverbuds about the different kinds of leaves and the trees that each leaf comes from.  Why are leaves important?  Why do some trees lose their leaves in the fall and others don’t?  Give each child a piece of paper and some crayons and have them make leaf rubbings.  Place a leaf on the table with the veins up.  Put the paper over the leaf and gently color over the leaf with the side of the crayon.  It may be helpful to tape the paper to the table.  Have your Cloverbuds use different leaves and colors to make their picture.

Pumpkins are found in abundance this time of year.  Use the insides of a pumpkin to make a sensory bag.  For each bag you will need a one pumpkin, one, one-gallon plastic freezer bag, the “guts” of a pumpkin, and a few small items to put in the bag with the pumpkin guts.  Small items such as plastic spiders, googly eyes, small fall themed erasers, etc., work well for this activity.  If you decide to have each Cloverbud carve their own pumpkin to retrieve the guts, be sure to have plenty of adult help.  Have an adult cut the pumpkin open and then ask the Cloverbuds to scoop out the guts.  Place the pumpkin guts and small items in the plastic bag and be sure it is tightly sealed.  Lay the bag on the table and have the Cloverbud squish the bag and look for the items inside.

Making a fall tree using the Cloverbud’s hand print as a guide creates a special keepsake for parents, grandparents, or other special person in your Cloverbud’s life.  For this activity you will need construction paper (white for the picture, any color to make the hand print), paint in fall colors (red, orange, yellow), paper plates or foil pans (to put the paint in), and sponge paint wands. 

Trace the Cloverbud’s hand and forearm on construction paper, then cut it out.  Use poster putty to secure the “tree” (Cloverbud’s hand print) to white construction paper.  Once the hand print is in place, ask the Cloverbud to sponge paint all around it with fall colors. Encourage your Cloverbud to leave little or no white around the edges of the “tree”.  Gently remove the paper hand print and any remaining poster putty.  Be sure to have your Cloverbud wear an old shirt or an apron to protect their clothing from the paint.

Some great fall books to read with your Cloverbuds are Apple Picking Day by Candice Ransom; Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak; Leaf Man by Lois Ehert; or Hello Fall! by Deborah Diesen.

So, go out and explore the outdoors,  Enjoy the crisp, fresh air, the ever changing colors, and the glory of nature that is fall!

Resources:
Hand Tree: https://fun-a-day.com/fall-hand-print-art-negative-space/
Pumpkin Sensory Bag: https://www.pre-kpages.com/pumpkin-sensory-bag/
Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities, Chapter 19

Nature Color Match Lesson

This is a great activity that can be done anytime throughout the year and can be combined with a nature hike or other outdoor activities.

MATERIALS & LOCATION NEEDED:

  • Paint color chips/swatches (available free at paint or hardware stores) or your can print a color wheel
  • Depending upon the season, but greens, yellows and browns are a great place to start
  • It is best to do this activity outside on a nature walk or even in a backyard

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Before going on a nature hike, talk about all the colors in nature to help children prepare for the activity.
  2. Give each child a paint swatch and talk about all the various shade of each color. For example, green. In nature there are lots of green items, but different shades.
  3. Give each child at least one paint swatch as you head out for a nature walk and ask them to find three natural items that match the colors on their swatch. (Caution them to not touch or pick any plants or flowers.
  4. After several minutes of exploring, gather the children together and ask them to share their discoveries.
  5. Then ask:
    • Was it hard to find the exact color matches?
    • Did you find more than one kind of thing that was exactly the same color?
    • Were you surprised by how many different shade of green, yellow and brown you found?

APPLICATION:

Ask:

  • Look around your home and school – how many of nature’s colors can you find? Look at clothing, books, and even paint on the walls.

BOOKS TO READ:

  • Tell me, Tree by Gail Gibbons
  • Over in the Meadow by Olive A. Wadsworth
  • Nature’s Hidden World  by Ingrid Selberg
  • The Listening Walk by Paul Showers

This printable activity and others can be found at: https://u.osu.edu/cloverbudconnections/click-it/

Source: This Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities at Home works well with Chapter 19 in The Big Book of 4-H Cloverbud Activities available through OSU Extension offices or online at extensionpubs.osu.edu. Ohio residents get the best price when they order and pick up their purchases through local Extension offices.

Summer Fun with Cloverbuds

Summer is the perfect time to get outside and be active with your children.  Helping youth get into the habit of enjoying fresh air and sunshine can’t start early enough.  Many young people prefer electronics and television in their spare time, but if we break that habit early, fun play time can become the norm.

According to Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. in a Psychology Today article, numerous screen-related factors trigger stress or hyperarousal.  Some of these factors include reward/addiction pathways, intense sensory stimulation, bright and blue-toned light, media multitasking, interactivity and rapid pace, and electromagnetic radiation.  She goes on to say, “Because chronic stress effectively ‘short circuits’ the frontal lobe, a hyperaroused and mentally depleted child will have trouble paying attention, managing emotions, suppressing impulses, following directions, tolerating frustrations, accessing creativity and compassion, and executing tasks”.

This is reason enough to head outside and enjoy fun play time.  Some things to try with your child:

  • Go fishing
  • Read a book under a tree
  • Dig in the dirt
  • Plant a garden
  • Pick flowers
  • Chase a butterfly
  • Look for bugs and other creepy crawly things
  • Lay on your back and look at the clouds
  • Roll down a hill
  • Go on a picnic
  • Fly a kite
  • Blow bubbles
  • Draw with chalk
  • Play hopscotch
  • Hula hoop
  • Climb a tree
  • Jump rope

This is Your Child’s Brain on Video Games, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201609/is-your-childs-brain-video-games

So, go outside and explore the great outdoors!