10 Zero Waste Fall Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers
Updated: Sep 29
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Autumn is here and honestly I'm thankful. I don't enjoy the heat of the summer and theres just something about the smell of fall that is good for the soul.
This year my home daycare is looking a little different. My sons preschool permanently closed so I've decided to offer a preschool program to my kids and the kids in my care.
After looking at lots of preschool curriculums I decided to go with Habitat School House's preschool curriculum. I picked Habitat School House because their lessons really inspire a curiosity for nature and the outdoors.
Iv'e been working on this blog post for a while, testing and playing around with activities that will not only be fun and educational but will also be eco friendly.
Some of these activities are inspired by Habitat School House's Nature Studies for kids programs , their Fall Equinox program, and their preschool curriculum and others are inspired by activities I have seen others do either on Instagram or Pinterest.
10 Eco Friendly Autumn Activities For Kids
1. Fall Nature Walk
This one is KEY.
In order to do all the activities below you need to go on a nature walk and collect items found in nature. Kids love looking at all the colourful leaves and playing with pinecones and sticks.
I gave all the kids a reusable grocery bag and we headed out to find our supplies. I asked the kids to find anything on the ground that they liked and to let me know if they saw any garbage. The kids collected so much good stuff and I cleaned up the litter.
For all the activities requiring leaves it is best to go that day to get them. You want them to be freshly fallen so they don't crumble and make a mess.
We used this time to learn all about leaves and why they fall.
2. Leaf Soup
Iv'e made leaf soup with the kids twice this month because it is such a hit!
This activity is from Habitat School House's Leaves Nature Studies Program.
For this activity all you need is a large bin or water table filled with water , leaves and other items that you collected, bowls or pots, and some spoons.
Throw all the leaves in the bucket of water and give your kids some bowls and spoons.
The kids imaginations really get going here. They have made me berry tea, stick soup, and leaf cereal. They would spend hours mixing and serving leaf meals if I let them.
Definitely give this one a try!
3. Nature Find and Count
This activity is great for preschool aged kids. It requires no waste and is a great excuse to get outside. Create small piles of red leaves, green leaves, yellow leaves, sticks, berries, pinecones, or whatever you found on your nature walk.
I did this activity with my son ( he's 4). Each pile had anywhere from 1 to 9 items. Once he finished counting a pile I had him practice writing out that number a few times.
Once he has his numbers down this activity will be great for learning basic math skills. This is a great way to make math fun for kids!
4. Bath a Pumpkin
Honestly I was unsure about this activity. It seemed silly and I couldn't figure out how I was going to get zero waste bubbles. Especially since I do not buy bottled dish soap. ( Yay for dishwashing blocks)
The kids all actually loved this and it saved me from needing to wash my pumpkins before baking them.
I filled up the bins in our sensory table with warm water then grabbed my shampoo bar to make bubbles. It actually worked.
I gave each child a cloth and they went to town scrubbing down their pumpkins.
The kids in my care right now range from 18 months to 4 years old and each of them enjoyed themselves.
5. Mini Pumpkin Boats
All you need for this activity is some mini pumpkins , a bin of water, and some stuff to put in your pumpkin boats.
During nap time I cut all the mini pumpkins in half and removed all their insides. ( I saved all the pumpkin seeds, baked them, and had them for snack.)
For this activity you only want to use the bottom of the pumpkins because the tops don't float very well. ( save the top half for the next activity).
The kids loved the idea of pumpkin boats! I gave them some rocks and some Little People toys we had and asked them to see how much they could fit in each boat before it sunk.
This was great because it got all of their little minds thinking and they asked tons of awesome questions.
6. Pumpkin Paint Stamps
We did this activity the same day as the pumpkin boats because I didn't want to waste perfectly good pumpkin tops.
One day I am going to find a good washable DIY paint but until that day I have store bought paint. Painting is fun for everyone and I think it's one of those items that is worth having even if it does come in some packaging.
I cut 4 chunks out of an old box and squirted different colour paint on each piece. Then I placed the top of a mini pumpkin in each colour.
I used Printer paper for this activity but you can use anything... even a box.
The kids then grab their pumpkin and stamped it on their page again and again.
This one got pretty messy but it was a good kind of mess.
After we were done I rinsed all the paint off the pumpkins and composted them.
7. Leaf Cutting Trays
I struggled a bit with this activity. I had 5 kids the day we did this and I didn't think about how difficult it would be to teach them all how to use scissors. It kind of just turned into leaf ripping and leaf throwing. But the kids had fun.
I did it again with my son later and it went a lot better. If you do this activity I recommend doing it one on one with your child! It's lots of fun and when you're done you can throw it all outside like confetti.
8. Nature Patterns
This Nature Patterns activity was inspired by Habitat School House's Fall Equinox program.
I did this with each child individually.
First I created a pattern with items from nature then I had the child try to copy it.
Each child counted how many of a certain item was in my pattern then I helped them properly place it to match mine.
This was my favourite activity of them all.
9. Fall Play Dough Nature Table
For this activity you need to make some play dough. Click HERE to checkout my go to DIY play dough recipe.
Instead of using food colouring to colour the play dough I spent a morning experimenting with natural dyes. My colours didn't exactly turn out how I wanted them too but I went with it.
HERE is a great resource for making natural play dough dyes.
Once you have your play dough made add a bunch of items you found outside and let the kids play. This is a great sensory activity for kids of all ages.
When the kids are done either save the dough in a air tight container or compost it.
10. Apple Seed Counting
This activity is from Habitat School House's Preschool curriculum.
It's a great math activity as well as a great excuse to have a snack.
These 10 preschool activities are musts for fall! Not only are the educational and fun but they are also low waste! If you loved this post be sure to SUBSCRIBE because I will be posting a lot more posts like this!