Adventuring? Fun. Adventuring and learning? Even better.
Just because your kids are now sitting at a desk, pencil in hand, their minds going in a hundred directions as they learn, doesn’t mean that you have to be at home in class all day, every day. School is fun, but you can make it even more fun by taking the time to explore and have some adventures. After all, school is about learning, and learning doesn’t just have to come from books!
With cooler days, longer nights, and winter on its way, the fall offers you and your homeschoolers a chance to go on some unique adventures that are educational, too. You might end up in the woods, shuffling through dry, crunchy leaves, or just outside your back door laughing at the antics of squirrels. And, for those days when the fall weather gets a little unpleasant, you can have an adventure right inside your kitchen!
Ready to explore and maybe learn something new?
- Go for a hike
The woods are alive and changing in the fall. Take a walk and notice those changes! Get your kids to ask questions: why do the leaves fall from trees? What do animals do during the winter? Why does it get colder come fall? Encourage them to find the answers!
You can even turn it into a writing exercise by having them notice the world around them using all five senses. What do the fall woods sound like? Smell like? Feel like? What did they see? Exercise caution if tasting anything in the woods, though! Tell them to compile what they noticed in a short story describing their explorations and all that they learned and saw.
- Learn about geese
Fall is marked by the sound of geese trumpeting as they make their way south. Ever wonder where they go? Go on a learning adventure to find the answer! Google it, consult a bird book, pull out that old dusty encyclopedia. You can even track their path on a map so that the next time geese pass over your house you know just where they are headed!
Don’t stop with migration either. Ever notice how geese fly in a “V” shape? Give your kids a lesson in aerodynamics to find out why!
- Watch the squirrels.
Believe it or not, squirrels can be very entertaining. They scurry here and there, collecting acorns, walnuts, and hazelnuts, and storing them away into little nooks and crannies all around your yard. Did you know that squirrels use a lot of strategies to remember where they store their nuts and to keep other squirrels from stealing them? New research suggests that they may use a memory strategy called “spatial chunking” to keep track of all their hiding places.
Those little creatures scampering around your backyard have a lot of secrets. Take a moment to uncover them with your kids!
- Cook a fall-themed meal
You don’t have to go anywhere to have an adventure…you can stay right in your kitchen! Go on a culinary adventure and see if you and your kids can cook a meal where each dish contains apples. You can teach your kids about measuring and kitchen safety and prepare a delicious fall meal at the same time. I think you’ll be surprised at how many different recipes, both savory and sweet, contain apples!
- Sew a scarecrow
Take your art class up a notch: put together a scarecrow! Your kids will need to be creative in gathering the supplies for its clothes and they’ll learn life skills like how to sew and measure and pin. You don’t have to stop with just one either! If your kids are old enough, have each one make a scarecrow so you can have a whole family on your front porch. Of course, the activity wouldn’t be complete without watching the Wizard of Oz, featuring one of the most famous scarecrows in existence.
- Build a campfire
There’s no better way to chase away the chill of fall than with a fire. And they’re good for more than just making s’mores. You can teach your kids a short chemistry lesson through it! There’s a whole chemical process, called combustion, behind those burning logs that you can thank for roasting that marshmallow to perfection. If you have younger kids, teach them about fire safety, how careful they should be around a fire, and what to do in case of an emergency.
- Collect leaves
Go outside and collect the leaves that line the ground. Sort them according to type and use an identification chart to figure out the trees that the leaves came from. Do you know why leaves turn a variety of colors? Turns out different amounts of pigments found in the leaves appear as the chlorophyll –what turns them green–disappears! Learn about the whole process here.
- Go stargazing
The clear nights and shorter days of fall make it easier to go stargazing. Throw a sweatshirt on and lay under the stars. Learn how to tell a star from a planet and why some stars look closer than others. If you find a place far away from city lights, you may even get a glimpse of the Milky Way!
Inspired? Maybe it’s time to close up those books for an hour or two and go see what you can learn. While schedules and routines are important, it can be just as important to take a break from them once in a while.
It’s adventures like these your kids will remember forever.
What are your favorite fall activities? How do you make use of the special days of fall?