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Autumn Leaves

Take a walk! Learn about autumn through all five senses

Where I live it’s gotten cooler, and a few weeks ago I noticed a few trees were very slowly losing their leaves, which floated down in front of my window. Looking more carefully, I noticed the occasional flashes of yellows and oranges.

Several days later, things had really changed. There was still a lot of green and the flowers were blooming, but more trees showed the start of a color change and a lot more leaves were falling. Looking around, I saw bright areas of yellow, orange and now red.

Fall is a magical time. Now most of the trees that change color every fall are well on their way, and the ground is covered with colorful leaves!

The activities for fall are based on using our five senses. You may not see many colorful leaves falling from the trees if you live in a warmer climate. But no matter where you live, you will see signs of fall. It’s time to go for a walk!

As we start our walk, what do we see? Look up, then down and then side to side. Take your time. What do you see? Are leaves falling? Are trees changing color? If it’s windy, what do you see?

Let’s be very quiet for a moment. What do we hear? Perhaps a bird chirping, a frog leaping into a pond, squirrels scurrying to their nests with cheeks bulging with acorns. Let’s walk on. What do we hear when we’re walking? We might hear the crunch of leaves. If it is windy, what does that sound like?

Time to pick up some leaves and investigate. Are they soft or stiff? Smooth or rough? Do they crumble when you close your hand on them? Are they different shapes? How many shapes can you find? If you’re in a marshy area, you’re bound to see cattails. These tall plants have a fluffy brown mass at their top. Before winter comes, these will disintegrate into tiny, featherlike seeds. What does the brown area feel like? Is it soft or hard, rough or silky? You may see some mushrooms. Many mushrooms are poisonous to eat, but you can still touch and feel them. What do they feel like? If there are different types of mushrooms, how do they look and feel different from each other?

Fall brings some different smells. Unlike spring, where we might smell the scent of blossoms or flowers, during fall we can smell the scent of decaying leaves and plants. What does it remind you of? This is also the time when folks start burning wood to keep warm. What does the smell of wood smoke remind you of?

The final sense is taste. Hmm, there probably isn’t anything that we can taste on our walk. However, back at school or at home we’ll take off our coats, and if we’re lucky we will have warm apple cider to drink. When apples are harvested in late summer and early fall, some are taken to cider mills and crushed, releasing liquid called apple cider. What does cider taste like? Does the taste remind you of apples? Another fall and winter favorite is hot chocolate. Some people call it hot cocoa. Take a sip and think about the taste. What do you think?

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