It always sad to see the end of the summer come which means the end of the garden but, I leave my garden until late October or early November before I clean it out. We haven’t had a hard frost yet and there’s still a lot to explore in the garden in the fall. All summer long, the garden has a been a place for the kids to play and explore. There’s still a lot of exploring to do in the garden in the fall! Here are 7 Ways Kids Can Explore the Garden in the Fall.
1. Harvest What’s Left
There’s always tomatoes and peppers that linger on after the prime growing season has ended. No reason to leave them to rot! Have the kids pick them. Green tomatoes can ripen after they are picked off the plant. If the vegetables that are left are not good enough to eat, add them to a compost pile or worm compost bin. The kids will love to search for the veggies and pick them regardless of where they end up.
Kids love that they get to pick whatever they find. They don’t have to worry whether or not it’s okay, if it’s ripe enough or if we’re ready to use it.
Everyone can help or just watch, if that’s fun for them too. See the little girl counting the cucumbers in the bowl?
Lots of vegetables still in the garden! Such lovely colors too.
2. Discover Fall Fruits
Trees, shrubs, and plants often have beautiful displays of berries into the fall. These often provide food for birds. My preschoolers always like to pick “berries” off our Prairie Fire crabapple tree. They’re fun to play with in the sand kitchen. Our American Cranberry bush viburnum has gorgeous red berries too. We’ve found berries on the neighbor’s junipers and on other flowering plants when the blooms are done. Look around your yard and garden to see what fruits and berries you can find!
I always remind the kids that the berries or fruits on the shrubs, trees and bushes are not to eat. They are for the birds to eat. We never eat anything if we don’t know what it is because it may not be safe for people. Always supervise of course.
Picking berries off the plant can be fun fine motor work.
3. Look for Colors of Fall
There’s so much color this time of year so why not take a color walk? Look through the yard for colors and take pictures of what you find. Just enjoy the discovery and the beautiful colors you find, or make your photos into a book.
You will find some plants have many colors!
4. Clean out the Gardens
Cleaning out the gardens in the fall is a lot of work – work kids can help with. They enjoy helping with outdoor work! Pulling weeds and plants might be too hard for the little ones, but let them try. When they tire of that, give them the job of putting the plants into the wheelbarrow, bag or bin. It feels good to accomplish a job and see the results!
Older children can push the wheelbarrow to the compost pile, trailer or place they will be disposed.
6. Look for Seeds
Looking for seeds is another fun activity for preschoolers. Many plants will have seed pods. When they are dry, they release their seeds. Look for them and collect them. You may be able to replant them, or just use it as a learning opportunity. My group likes to pretend to plant them in the garden even though it’s fall and they won’t grow.
The seed pods pictured above are from the day lilies. The boys in the photos below were really into picking htem and collecting the seeds.
Sunflower seeds are always fun to pick out of the flowers. Read this post for more ways to explore seeds in preschool.
There’s seeds in this green pepper too!
7. Rake the Leaves
While leaves aren’t really in the garden, they are all over the yard. It’s another great way to explore the outdoors in the fall. It’s so much fun to rake up leaves and play in them!
Enjoy the fall days. The garden and yard have so much to offer yet in October and November.