By Kathryn Brunner, Founder of Musik at Home, LLC
It’s FALL! This means all things golden, red and leafy brown...all things pumpkin orange and sunflower yellow.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to sit in front of a warm fire, curl up with a book and sip something delicious from a favorite mug?
Ah yes...the still, quiet moments may be few and far between for those of us with little ones in the house, but there are many ways to savor the beauty of fall while teaching our children to enjoy it with us.
For our little ones, the best part of fall may be dreaming of the influx of candy along with the fun of wearing creative costumes. Yes, this is a great part of fall fun, but there is even more to fall than tasty treats and dress-up dreams.
If we help our children dig in deeper, we can instill in them a love for more of the unique characteristics of this festive season.
15 ways to savor the season of FALL with your child!
- Crunch leaves under your feet to the beat of your favorite song while singing or chanting the words.
- Make a leaf pile outside. Hold hands around it. Playfully sing Ring Around the Rosy. On the words “all fall down," jump into the leaf pile!
- Go on a sound-hunt walk! Listen for the sounds of fall as you walk outside. Can you hear a bird chirping? Can you listen for a squirrel or chipmunk rustling through leaves? What does it sound like to crunch leaves under your feet? Can you hear the wind blowing through the trees?
- Draw the sounds of fall! On your sound hunt, take paper and crayons or a pencil. How would you draw the wind that you hear? Perhaps the sound of the wind looks like swirling, whirling lines across the page. How would you draw the sound of crunching leaves? Perhaps you could draw a sharply pointed zigzag, or a jagged circle. How would you draw the sound of a bird chirping? Use your imagination! This is the first step toward understanding music notation. We begin by helping children understand that sounds can be notated on paper!
- Watch this fall poem and say it together with your child! Talk about apple picking and why apples might fall from the apple tree if you shake it. Imagine eating an apple. Next sing the song in the video about falling leaves! Imagine watching the leaves fall from the trees as you sing “Down Down Down.” When you sing this song, you're singing a descending major scale!
- Be a falling leaf. Your child might love to be picked up and twisted around like a flying, twirling leaf. As you’re twirling to the floor, say what color leaf you are (gold, red, brown, yellow!). Try it again as a different colored leaf! Explore the range of your voice from high to low as your little leaf floats from up in the sky down to the earth.
- Go on an imaginary apple picking trip. Pretend to pack your bag for what you'll need for the day. Imagine driving to the orchard, getting out of the car together, grabbing a bucket for the apples, finding a long stick to reach the apples in tall trees, inspecting each apple to see if it’s good enough to put in the bucket, washing an apple, wiping it dry, and tasting it! What does it taste like? Is it sweet or tart? What could you do with all the apples?
Imagine bringing a large bucket of fresh apples into your house. How many apples do you have? Mime taking apples out of a bucket one by one to count them. What could you make together? You could bake an apple pie, roll your apples in caramel and sprinkles, or cook the apples for applesauce. Ask your child for his or her ideas!
Pretend to go to a Fall Carnival together right in your own home. Mime getting into the car, buckling seatbelts, spotting the tall rides as you approach the carnival, and finding a place to park. What else might you see as you walk to the ticket counter? Give the carnival worker your ticket to enter the park. Then, let the play begin! Imagine where each ride might be found. Move around your house pretending to ride the ferris wheel, bumper cars, flying swings, merry-go-round with horses, and roller coaster. Imaginatively find a snack bar to order a funnel cake, churro, or your favorite snack. What does it smell like? What color is the sky? Do you feel any wind around you? Is there a clown at the carnival?
10. Listen to Aaron Copeland’s Hoedown at the link below and pretend to ride imaginary horses in the beautiful open countryside lined with tall trees. Imagine the fall leaves on the trees and all the colors you would see as you ride through open fields together. Chase one another to each side of the room. As you pretend to ride the horse, show the difference between trotting, galloping and loping (running). Try to match your horse’s speed with the tempo of the music. Find a pumpkin patch on your ride, pick a pumpkin to keep and bring it back with you as you ride away. Be careful to hold on tight! End your journey back at the barn.
11. Listen again to Aaron Copeland’s Hoedown with your child (above). This time, pretend to enter into a large red barn together for a real (imaginary) Hoedown! It’s evening time. Many people are gathering together for a night of country dancing. How could you move your feet to the sound of the beat as the music plays? Move in a line across the room and then back again. Change your motion when you hear a new section of the music begin. Pretend there is hay under foot. Take a piece of hay and pretend to chew on it. Imagine what it would feel like to sit down on a barrel of hay in the barn. What does the barn smell like? Is the weather warm or cool? Are there animals in the barn?
- Enjoy an imaginary visit to the farm together in the comfort of your own home. What kinds of animals would you see at the farm? Make the sounds of each animal’s voice. Participate in the song video below! Ask your child which animal he or she would like to see at the farm. Sing an extra verse of the song with the name of the animal your child chose. Next, grab a scarf or cloth napkin for dancing as you listen to the delightful composition by Beethoven called Ecossaise.
- Make a warm fall beverage to share with your child. Drink it together outside while listening to all the sounds around you. Can you mimic the sounds you hear by tapping, rubbing, or knocking on your cup or mug? Talk about how each sound is the same or different. Why are the sounds different? Why are some sounds the same?
- Find a song that can become your family’s fall theme song. It could be one you already know, one you discover together, or one you make up! Sing it throughout the season whenever you see something that reminds you of the unique festivities of fall – at home, in the car, picking out your favorite pumpkin, or walking to the ticket counter at the fair. Make a note in your digital calendar to remind you to sing it again on the first day of fall next year. :-)
- Sing about Thankfulness!! Make up a song to a familiar tune that expresses thankfulness. Here’s a short song you can sing to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:
After all of this imaginative and musical play, your child will experience these fall festivities in new ways. When you actually get to go to a carnival, talk about how exciting it is to ride a real ferris wheel together and how fun it was to ride the ferris wheel at your imaginary carnival too.
Imagination is a delightful gateway to savoring the season! I hope you'll enjoy many imaginative & musical moments with your precious little one.
What else do you enjoy doing with your child in the fall? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
Have you heard about the Mom Conference? For some more amazing ideas for your home and family, stay tuned for the Mom Conference happening soon this fall! It's FREE!