Crisp mornings on the way to school and trees transformed into yellows, oranges, and reds. Fall is here! This fall activities scavenger hunt is a fun way for children to explore autumn changes and practice fundamental movement skills along the way. Check out the detailed description of each activity to help your child get a head start on physical literacy this season. Plus, get the free printable that goes along with it!
Fall Activities Scavenger Hunt printable
Download and print the Fall Activities Scavenger Hunt printable so that you have it on hand the next time you and your child visit a park, nature trail, or your backyard. (It’s also available in 13 other languages!) There are 25 separate activities on this printable. Your child can do them all one day or spread them over a period of time. You could even cut the scavenger hunt into individual squares, place them in a jar, and have your child pick a random activity for each day. Have fun with this activity!
Jump into a pile of leaves
Jumping is a fundamental movement skill that starts to develop around the age of two and continues to develop up to age five and beyond. Children should practice jumping from an early age because it will help develop muscle and bone strength, coordination, and balance. Plus, jumping is fun—especially jumping into a big pile of fall leaves! Jumping into leaves also adds an extra layer of sensory play. Leaves have a distinct smell, sound, and feel that stimulates the senses. Add an extra challenge to this activity by having your child rake leaves into a pile.
Search for a spider web
Fall is spider season. This is the time of the year when spiders mate, make egg sacs, and display their beautiful webs for all to see. Searching for webs stimulates your child’s sense of sight while getting them to move around to find the most interesting spider’s web. You could even ask your child to try crawling on the ground like a spider to work on coordination.
Hang from a tree
Hanging helps to develop grip strength, which is an important part of fine motor development. Hanging also ties into another fundamental movement skill: climbing. Encourage your child to hang from a sturdy branch or monkey bars. If your child has good grip strength, work on climbing skills by climbing a tree or going to a climbing gym.
Follow animal tracks
Fall is a fun season for observing and following animal tracks. Animals leave behind footprints when they walk over soft dirt, mud, and snow. If there hasn’t been rain or snow (yet!) you can find animal tracks near bodies of water like a pond, creek, or sandy beach. Add a fun movement challenge by asking your child to move like the animal tracks that were found.
Gather four acorns
Picking up acorns (and other smaller objects) from the ground develops motor skills and coordination. Make this activity more challenging by looking for other types of fall seeds (nuts, milkweed, pods, and burrs).
Dance with your shadow
As autumn unfolds, the days get shorter and the sun doesn’t get as high up in the sky. A lower sun means longer shadows and a perfect opportunity for shadow play. Have your child put their back towards the sun so that they can see their shadow and have a shadow dance party. Bring music along to make this extra fun. Dancing gets the whole body moving and boosts creativity too.
Hop like a rabbit
In the fall, rabbits are busy hopping around getting ready for winter. Hopping is a more advanced movement skill because it requires forward motion. If your child is still working on jumping with two feet on the ground, hop like a rabbit without moving forward. If your child has mastered hopping forward work on hopping on one leg.
Find three colourful leaves
As the weather gets cold, leaves show their true colours: purples, reds, oranges, and yellows! For this prompt, encourage your child to find three leaves of different colours or five different types of leaves. Picking up leaves from the ground helps develop fine and gross motor skills.
Run around a tree
Running is a fundamental movement skill that begins developing around 18 months old and beyond. This keystone skill is important for developing muscle and bone strength, coordination, and cardiovascular endurance. Most kids enjoy running, especially during free play, but if your child is a reluctant runner here are some tips for encouraging your child to run.
Draw in the mud
Sticky, slimy mud is the perfect medium for art. Drawing in the mud with a stick or finger helps develop fine motor skills and creativity. This activity also helps develop the sense of touch. Another way to encourage mud play is to make a mud kitchen in your yard.
Splash in a puddle
Puddles can be sloshed, kicked, stirred, tapped, and jumped into. All these actions help develop movement skills as well as sensory development. Puddle play is also wonderful for learning about water science. Learn more about what makes puddle play so great for kids in this article.
Pretend to be a snail
Snails love autumn weather because it’s cooler and wetter. They also move very slowly. See if your child can move very slowly like a snail or get into a snail position, similar to a yoga hare pose.
Stomp on dry leaves
Stomping on dry leaves is a satisfying sensory activity that’s great for developing movement skills. If your child has mastered stomping, encourage kicking, skipping, or swishing through piles of leaves.
Find a mushroom
Fall is the best time of year to search for mushrooms. You can find mushrooms growing in grass, along trails, and in forests. It’s best not to eat mushrooms from the wild unless you’re a mushroom-picking expert. Make this activity more challenging by finding five different kinds of mushrooms.
Play Simon Says
Simon Says is a game that never gets old. It’s also great for developing body awareness, motor development, and self-control. You can add a fun autumn twist to this game by giving fall-themed instructions: “Simon says… scurry like a squirrel, flap like a bat, pick up a leaf!”
Roll like a pumpkin
Rolling is a motor skill that develops around three months but it’s something that even older children enjoy. Rolling and spinning develops your child’s vestibular system, which is important for balance and spatial orientation. Encourage your child to roll down a grassy hill sideways or on a flat grassy spot head-over-heels.
Pick a favourite stick
Find a tickly feather
During autumn many birds are migrating south to warmer climates. This makes fall a fun season to go bird-watching. A good place to observe birds is near a pond or other body of water—chances are your child will find a feather or two along the way. Have your child use the feather to brush against their hand or arm. Does it tickle? This is a fun sensory activity.
Stand like a scarecrow
Standing still like a scarecrow requires concentration and self-control and these skills take time and practice to develop. However, if this challenge is too easy, have your child stand still on one leg to test their balance instead.
Crawl like a bear
Crawling might not be just for babies, it can be for big kids too! To crawl like a bear, have your child use only hands and feet to move forward or backwards along the ground. If that’s too challenging, work on crawling on hands and knees instead.
Skitter like a mouse
Moving like different animals is a fun way to try out different movement patterns. How does a mouse skitter? Let your child decide. Perhaps your child might crawl quickly or run in a zig-zag pattern. Part of the fun is allowing your child to use their creativity.
Spin in the wind
Spinning, like rolling, develops your child’s vestibular system, which is important for balance and spatial orientation. That’s why many playgrounds include spinning elements in them. Most kids love to spin, and they don’t need any special equipment to do so.
Balance on one leg like a tree
Tree pose is an easy yoga pose for kids to try. Have your child stand straight with both feet on the ground and then bring one foot up and touch the other leg at the ankle, shin, or above the knee. Hands can stretch up to the sky or hold onto the waist if that’s easier.
Flap like a bird
There are many different types of birds—chickens, eagles, peacocks, and seagulls—and each flap their wings a little differently. Ask your child what kind of bird they are and how that bird would flap its wings. Add a challenge by seeing how many different types of birds your child can imitate. This activity develops gross motor skills and creativity!
Toss leaves into the air
Throwing is a fundamental movement skill that plays an important role in various activities and sports. Like any skill it needs to be practiced and what better way than with leaves. See how high or how far your child can throw leaves. If your child needs extra practice learning how to throw here is a helpful tutorial on how to teach kids to throw correctly.
Most importantly, have fun!
I hope you and your child enjoy exploring autumn with this fall activities scavenger hunt. Don’t forget to share this resource with a friend or, better yet, invite a friend to join you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.