A Resource For Early Childhood Educators

I SPY - Fall

Additional Information:

I Spy 

Signs of Fall Hike

Story County Conservation Board

 Age level: 4-5 year olds and an adult

Season: Fall

Time: 1 hour

Topic: Autumn/Signs of Fall


The fall season can be very colorful.  To  help preschoolers understand this play a variation of the game “I Spy.”  Tell the students “I spy something red” and have them look around and tell you all the red things they observe.  Repeat using other colors.  This game can be changed for the season by saying “I spy a sign of fall.”

On the Hike:

Zippity Do Dah Birds

A sure sign of fall is birds migrating to other areas to spend the winter.  Geese, ducks, hummingbirds, blackbirds, and hawks are just some of the birds that leave our area in search of areas with food.  Use our zip line to observe fall migration.  Release the bird cut-outs along the zip line and have the preschoolers observe them with “paper-tube” binoculars.  Have the children pretend to be geese and migrate to the next stop.  Boys should honk while girls hink.  (See Zip Line Activity in the Animal & Insect)

Busy Squirrels

Squirrels are very busy in the fall gathering and storing nuts for the winter months.  Squirrels usually bury nuts close to a large tree making them easier to find once the snow covers the ground.  Although squirrels eat many of these nuts, some are left buried and sprout as new trees in spring.  Do the finger play, “Four Busy Squirrels,” using the squirrel puppet. (See Fingerplays/Song for the song.)

Leaves & Seeds

Fall is an excellent time to observe leaves and seeds because they’re easily picked up off the ground.  Leaves change colors because the chlorophyll (which makes leaves green) breaks down and allows the yellows, oranges, browns, and reds to be seen.  Seeds are produced from flowers and under the right conditions, sprout into new plants.  In small groups with an adult leader, collect leaves and seeds and put them into plastic trays.  Sort according to shape and/or color.  Please return the gathered materials to the park when you’re done.

Tree Hugging

Have you hugged a tree today and said thank you?  Trees are very important in our lives.  List ways that trees are important (they give us food, shade, oxygen, lumber, paper, pencils, etc.)  Have the children role play the life cycle of a tree. (See below)  After they role play, have the children find a tree to hug.

Peek-a-Boo Rabbits

Being able to hide from predators is important to many animals.  One way to be protected is to blend in or be camouflaged with your habitat.  If an animal wanted to hide in the woods, what colors should it be (brown, tan, green, black)?  Look from this point and see if you can spot the two wooden bunnies we’ve put out in the woods.  Which bunny was easier to see?  Why do you think so?  What would be a good color to be during the winter.  Show pictures of different camouflaged animals. (For the rabbit cutout see Props for Adults)

Tree-mendous Trees

Just like we have different body parts that help us to live, so do trees.  Lets look at the parts of a tree (dress a student in the tree vest and leaf crown see art for instructions).  The tree roots (brown yarn) absorb water and minerals from the soil.  The bark protects the tree from insects and disease.  Just underneath the bark are tubes (straws) that carry water throughout the tree.  Other tubes carry down the sugars (food) produced by the leaves.  Have students sing the “Tree Parts” song to reinforce the concepts.

 Roleplaying the Lives of Trees

Tell the life story of a tree, from the sprouting seed, to the growing sapling, through the seasons and years to the mature tree, to the decomposing log fallen on the forest floor.  Have the children act this cycle out:

  • seeds in the soil (children are curled up)
  • sprouting (children grow upward with arms extended)
  •  mature tree (children extend arms sway in the breeze)
  • lighting hits branch (children droop one arm)
  • tree dies and now is a dead log
  • talk about life in a dead log - bugs running around, mice hiding, ants tunneling.  Explain how the wood is decomposing and becoming part of the soil.  The decomposing log becomes so soft and mushy that a squirrel could bury an acorn in it.
  • acorn buried by squirrel sprouts and the cycle is repeated again.


Song/Activity: Tree Part Song

(Tune: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes)

Leaves, branches, trunk, and roots, trunk and roots.

Leaves, branches, trunk, and roots, trunk and roots.

   Trees are important to you and to me...

Leaves, branches, trunk, and roots, trunk and roots!

Leaves, Leaves Falling Down

(sung to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)

Leaves, leaves falling down (wiggle fingers downward)

Falling on the ground

Red, yellow, orange, and brown

Triangle, oval, and round (touch thumbs and make shapes with forefinger).

Autumn Leaves

(Sung to “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)

Autumn leaves are falling down

falling down, falling down.

Autumn leaves are falling down

Yellow, red, and brown.


Rake them up as they fall down,

as they fall down, as they fall down.

Rake them up as they fall down

Yellow, red, and brown


Here comes the wind on a windy day

a windy day, a windy day.

Here comes the wind on a windy day

and blows them all away.



Multiple Intelligences


(reading, talking)


Gross motor or kinesthetic development (moving, running, moving your body, jumping)

Small motor or tactual development (blocks, puzzles, sensory)


(songs, patterns, sound)


(understanding other people and social interactions)


(understanding of the physical world, nature)









Nature Picks of the Season

Background information Habitats-Ponds, Prairies, Woodlands

Background information Habitats-Ponds, Prairies, Woodlands

Educational Resources

Background information Insects

Background information Insects