Suggested Nature Activities for September 2020

Flowers near a September planner

Note: While doing these activities, we should be practicing social distancing, staying at least 6 feet from the nearest person. Frequent hand washing for twenty seconds or more is advised. These activities are recommended to be done with your immediate family or household. If you want to include other friends or family members, consider a virtual playdate through Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime, so we can share the learning fun!

Monday September 7 Apple Stamping
Apples make a nutritious snack- and a fun and creative way to get crafty with little kids. All you need to do is cut an apple in half and dip it in paint and stamp it on paper. Stab a fork in the back for easy (less messy) gripping and dipping. Depending on the colors you choose, apple stamps can be used to make leaves, bushes, pumpkins, ladybugs, trees, and apples!

Tuesday September 8 Read Books Outside to Celebrate International Literacy Day
Back to school in September means kids not only need time outside, but they need time to read (and be read to). Cozy up this fall in a hammock, under a tree, on a blanket, or in your favorite spot in the garden to read together with your children. Anything you read is beneficial. Whatever they’re into! If you want a few recommendations for a couple of great nature-inspired fall books: Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert, Look What I Did with a Leaf! by Morteza E. Sohi, We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert, Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer, and Looking Closely Through the Forest by Frank Serafini.

Wednesday September 9 Nature Alphabet 
Write your name and see if you can think of a plant or animal that begins with every letter of your name- and/or include ones you find on an outdoor scavenger hunt Draw the animals and plants on a piece of paper spelling your name. Be as fancy and creative as you want.  This makes a great name tag/sign for your desk/remote learning workstation, or a present for your grownup.

Thursday September 10 Painting with Nature
Go on a hike collect about 10 different natural items that can be small enough to be held between a clothes pin.  Return home and fasten them between the clothes pin.  Put out some different colors of paint and dip the fixed nature item in the paint and then paint, dot, squiggle a picture on a piece of paper!

Friday September 11 Virtual Forest Walk
Take a walk through a virtual eastern woodland forest.  Observe each of the four seasons.  How does the forest look different in each season? What plants are there during some seasons?  What animals do you think live here?  Try to remember what the picture shows in the forest, then describe what you observed.

Monday September 14 Have an Outdoor Picnic with Your Fluffy Friends
Picnics can be nourishing for your body- and for your imagination. Bring your favorite stuffed animals outside for a party.  Set up your table with plates and cups, sit them down and enjoy your lunch and tea!

Tuesday September 15 Go on a Spider Web Hunt
Spider webs may sound creepy, but they’re actually super interesting and beautiful! Spiders may have a sinister reputation (particularly this time of year), but we can change that by discovering how amazing and beneficial these little helpers are. The next time you’re out and about, go on a hunt for a spider web. See if you can find one intact and study the intricacies. Take a guess as to how long it took the spider to make that web, why she chose that location and how much food she catches in it daily.  Thinking of these things will get them to see spiders in a new light with a new appreciation for how hard they work.

Wednesday September 16 Watercolor Silhouettes
Put a different spin on leaf-rubbing by using watercolor to paint around the leaves you’ve collected.  Paint on paper or a white or a light-colored sheet to create a dramatic design using the leaves as “negative space.”

Thursday September 17 Make a Terrarium
This is a great way to bring the outdoor inside and learn how to take care of plants through the winter season. You’ll need a clean glass jar and then the following ingredients (in this order): small pebbles, some activated charcoal, potting soil and cuttings from succulent plants (or other plants of your choosing). Let the kids place the succulents inside the jar wherever they choose and add some fun colored-stones or mini figurines. Finally, spritz with water until moist.

Friday September 18 Go on a Bat Hunt
Similar to bird watching, bat watching is a favorite thing to do in the late summer and early fall. Pick a dry evening and snuggle up in the garden at dusk with hot chocolate and just wait. It’s never long before the bats come out and start to circle the houses and swoop down into the gardens. Bats are not just cave dwellers or in the country; they live in cities and suburbs, too. Watch as they swoop, circle, and dive. They’re great fun to watch. Bonus points for reading Stellaluna by Janell Cannon while you’re snuggled up waiting!

Monday September 21 Measure Your Shadow
On a sunny day close to the fall equinox, go outside at noon with a measuring tape or yard stick. Stand up straight on a flat surface (e.g., lawn, asphalt) with your back to the sun. Have a family member measure the length of your shadow. Record the length in your nature journal. Don’t forget to do it again at the winter solstice, spring equinox, and summer solstice. You’ll be amazed at how much your shadow length changes!

Tuesday September 22 Have an Unforgettable Autumn Equinox Experience
Night (black) and day (white) are of equal duration during the autumn equinox.  Black and white can be the theme of a party. Just use your imagination, and you will come up with unique and clever ways to celebrate the first day of fall. You might, for example, want to serve sandwiches with one slice of pumpernickel and one slice of white bread, make a cake that is half-chocolate and half-vanilla, dress half in white and half in black and maybe even decorate with black and white balloons. For a table centerpiece, use dark objects (e.g., bark) and bright objects (e.g., goldenrod blossoms) along with black and white candles. Have a countdown in the last minute leading up to the Equinox. This year, it is at 9:30AM on September 22.

Wednesday September 23 Autumn Leaf Crown
Collect leaves during a walk, then make wearable art.  Use card stock, oak tag, or heavy construction paper for the base.  Color, paint, or decorate the base however you wish.  Attach the leaves to the crown using tape or glue.  Fit the crown to the wearer’s head, then staple the crown to that size.  Have fun wearing your crown- and allow your imagination to help guide you to new adventures.

Thursday September 24 Sticky Nature Walk
Wrap a bracelet of wide tape sticky side out around your wrist.  Go for an outdoor walk and take bits of nature (seeds, bark, etc) and stick them to the tape. Cut off when you get home and talk about what you found.

Friday September 25 Create a Moon Journal and Track the Phases of the Moon
Shorter days mean longer nights- and more opportunities for taking advantage of darkness. One fun thing to do is track the phases of the moon. A great project to do in the fall is to track the moon’s progress using a simple moon journal. Observe the moon each night and keep track of the changes that occur as the days go by. It takes 29.5 days for the moon to go from a new moon back to a new moon, so track for one month and then discuss your findings together. The full moons in the fall are called the Harvest Moon (September), the Hunter’s Moon (October) and the Frost Moon (November).

Monday September 28 Plant Bulbs for Spring
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” This quote is never truer than when it comes to planting bulbs in the fall for the next year’s spring blooms. Fall is the perfect time to start planning ahead and planting bulbs for next spring and summer. Start by figuring out which bulbs work best in your zone by checking with your local nursery. Some classic bulbs are: Daffodil, Tulips, Crocus, Lilies, Irises, Hyacinth and Trillium. Planting bulbs is a great way to spend time outside and get your hands dirty. Plus, there’s nothing more exciting than forgetting about themuntil they rise up and let you know spring is coming!

Tuesday September 29 Plant a Tree
Fall (and spring) are great times for planting trees.  Trees provide shade, a home for wildlife, a more beautiful view, and cleaner air.  Have you ever considered planting a tree?  Perhaps you can talk to your family or Scout troop about the possibility.  Check out this fun website to learn more about caring for trees and what happens months- and years- after planting a tree.

Wednesday September 30 Fall Leaf Finger Puppets
Be creative with how you use fallen leaves – and toilet paper tubes – this season. Materials: cardboard tubes, pebbles or bark, leaves, twigs, pipe cleaners, wiggle eyes, buttons, scissors, glue stick, hot glue gun. Begin by hot gluing the leaf to the top of the cardboard tube for the head. Next, hot glue the twigs or pipe cleaners to the sides of the tube for the arms.  Hot glue pebbles or small pieces of bark (and/or buttons) to the front of the tube for buttons. Finally, add wiggle eyes to the leaf head.