Autumn is the perfect time of the year for hands on learning! There are so many great themes in the Autumn that naturally lead to hands on activities. By integrating hands on learning into our teaching, we can strengthen understanding of all the skills we are targeting.
Have you tried sensory bins in your classroom yet? Sensory bins rock! They easily get students engaged in learning. Who wouldn't want to put their hands in?! Nature gives you all the sensory bin supplies you need in the fall! Kids can't wait to get their hands into pine combs, pine needs, sticks, acorns, leaves, etc. Once the leaves dry up and get crumbly, add dried rice and beans to keep the sensory bucket going. You can easily integrate academic skills with the sensory bucket. In the picture below, students are finding cards containing different sets of fall items. After finding the pictures, the students have to match it to the number or a number line.
Autumn is also the perfect time to work on the food pyramid unit. Most of the fall holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc) have foods associated with them. During the fall, we work on trying new foods, doing taste tests & graphing the results, etc. A big hit with my kiddos is exploring the 5 senses with popcorn. We make a list of descriptive words that we can then use in our writing.
One of my all time favorite themes occurs in Autumn...Fire Safety! There are so many great ways to add movement and hands on learning during this unit. We practice concepts like "Get low and go!" and "Stop, drop and roll." Here we are practicing getting low. We pretended the blanket was smoke that we had to stay under. Through these kinds of activities, our students have a much better understanding of how to do it if they should ever be near a fire.
How do you add in hands on activities in your classroom?