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We have been having so much fun participating in Playful Preschool. If you would like to keep up with all of the educational ideas, follow the hashtag #playfulpreschool and you will find lots of learning activities to try with your preschooler. Many of these ideas would also be great for elementary school children of all ages. This week, the theme is Fall Colors. Since we were on a getaway to the Russian River area, there were Fall colors all around us.
We decided to do a celebration of Fall colors by going on a nature walk and collecting things to make our own potpourri. This was my first time making potpourri and I have to say, I like it so much better than store bought. It fills our home with the Fall aromas of cinnamon, cloves and orange as it brings back memories of our nature walk.
Make Your Own Fall Potpourri:
You will need:
- Nature finds collected from a walk such as leaves, small redwood cones and moss
- Essential oils (We used cinnamon, clove and orange)
- Orange or tangelo peels
- Cinnamon sticks (if desired) They do not need to be food grade.
- Ziploc bags large enough to hold nature finds
- Basket or bowl to display the finished potpourri
Making potpourri is easier than I ever imagined, or we would have been doing it for years by now! Now that I know, I can’t believe I spent a lot of money over the years buying prepared potpourris that were nowhere near as pretty or fragrant! When you are ready to make potpourri, take your children or students on a nature walk with large Ziploc bags to store their treasures. Afterwards, have an orange or tangelo snack and save the peels. Have children break any large pieces into smaller pieces.
We enjoyed tangelos from Grandma and Grandpa’s garden. If you want them to dry quickly, set your oven to the lowest setting. Ours is 170 degrees. Then cook them until they are dry and crispy. Ours took about 2 1/2 hours. Alternatively, you could lay them out on a cookie sheet to dry for several days. Break up cinnamon sticks to desired length. This step needs to be done by an adult.
Have your children smell each essential oil and learn about the scents. Ask which one they like best. Add the cinnamon sticks and dried orange peels to the bags of nature finds. Then, have your children add several drops of essential oils, depending on how strong you would like the scent to be. Have them shake the bags to disperse the oils. Leave the bags for a couple of days to absorb the scent. Then, display in a basket or bowl. This would make a wonderful gift from a child for grandparents, other relatives or teachers. The Sugar Snaps are very proud of their potpourri basket and love to inhale the fragrance.
While on our walk, we discovered several banana slugs which were roaming amongst the leaves showing off their beautiful Fall colors. This gave us another opportunity for learning. Capri knelt down next to a particularly vibrant banana slug and said, “Hello banana slug. I hope you’re having a wonderful day!” That cracked me up. I love how preschoolers interact with their environment with such enthusiasm. I labeled one of the banana slug photos to continue our learning when we got home. I did not include all the parts, but I labeled enough parts to generate a discussion and enhance their learning. You may want to label a photo from your nature walk too.
For More FALL COLOR Themed Preschool Activities from the PLAYful Preschool Education Team:
Fall Colors Water Mixing by Still Playing School
Exploring Fall Colors With Gourds by Little Bins For Little Hands
Why Leaves Change Colors by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
Learning With Preschool Songs: The Leaves of the Trees by Growing Book by Book
DIY Fall Color Word Book by The Educators’ Spin On It
Learning Number Words with Fall Colored Leaves by Tiny Tots Adventures
Fall Tree Number Matching by Mom Inspired Life
Colors of Fall Sensory Bin by Life Over C’s
Foot Painting The Fall Colours by Learning to Walk
Exploring Fall Colors in Paint by Powerful Mothering
Autumn Colours Plant Science at Rainy Day Mum
Make Your Own Fall Potpourri at Capri + 3
Join us tonight at 9:00 EST for a live Google Hangout where we share what activities we are doing for the fall color theme in our homes and classrooms.