Autumn & Harvest Unit Round Up

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Rich colours, kicking leaves, muddy wellies, howling winds, hooting owls, foraging for nuts, throwing sycamore seeds, slow cooked stews, corn reaching for the sky, pumpkins on every doorstep, chilly breezes and snuggling under blankets.
We loved Autumn.

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I spread this unit over a long period, just about 2 months, and considering i have been in increasingly poorer and poorer health, and have encountered other challenges, plus a lovely short holiday away, i think we have maintained relatively good flow.

I will break down what we have involved in this unit in blocks of content types so its a little easier to navigate the mass!

KEY SPEECH AND VISUAL RECOGNITION

Squirrel learned to recognise and/or say/sign LEAF, TREE, PUMPKIN, CORN, WOOD, TOADSTOOL, NUT, COLD, CONKER, OWL, FOX, SQUIRREL, OTTER, RABBIT, BROWN, RED, GREEN, PURPLE, BLUE, YELLOW, BROCCOLI, CARROT.

 

BOOKS
We enjoyed these superb books alongside our theme, encouraging words spoken and visual recognition of the various animals and objects that are so heavily repeated through Autumnal activities. I meant to get hold of The Scarecrows Wedding but I never got around to you. Bah.

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We had a great fortnight dedicated to The Gruffalo, which you can read about in its separate round up, which involved a Gruffalo Hunt, Scrambled Snake Sensory & Lunch and a magnificently exciting Gruffalo Small World.

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TV TIME

We also enjoyed relaxing with lots of youtube videos of documentaries on squirrels, foxes, deer and owls, while also watching BBCs Autumnwatch, which follows nature in Britain live over a week- we love it!

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BUSY BOY TRAYS

Our busy boy trays, those activities that are easy to whip out to fill moments in need regularly while maintaining our theme for some learning consistency went down very well.

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We laminated some leaves and created a collection of activities using them including CRAYON LEAF RUBBING, THREADING, COLOUR MATCHING, LIGHT BOX WINDOW OBSERVATION and CHALK TEMPLATING.
You can explore them further here.

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We also enjoyed sorting conkers into variously spaced trays with tools and fingers.

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Playdough Time!

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Playing with felt vegetables with various tools and containers.

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Squirrel really enjoyed THREADING and SORTING these cute little leaf buttons!

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I made him a ‘Fiddle Stick’ which was two tough sticks wound together with twine; Squirrel would spend handsy time unraveling and twisting the twine together, great LOGIC and FINE MOTOR practice.

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We would occasionally turn our lunch into leaves!

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And a spot of delicious creature dress up and role play!

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BIG ACTIVITIES

We thoroughly loved painting with vegetables out in the sunshine. We turned our painting into apple bunting for our display at home and our friends Sukkot Party.

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We made Squirrel Soup! Imaginative play and sensory mess turned up to 11!

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Transferring leaves! Such crunchy, interesting sensations! Plus we made beautiful Squirrel nests!

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Bubblewrap Corn! Awesome, am i right?

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We experimented with finding and RECOGNISING AND MAKING LINES in the garden with foraged things.

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We explored and deconstructed ears of corn, most exciting!

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Harvest Produce freestyle play was so great; he explored so thoroughly and did such unexpected and brilliant things with it all!

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Pumpkin Deconstruction was a squishy, sensory, seedy adventure, where Squirrel loved sorting the seeds and sniffing!

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We made this beautiful Pumpkin Orb and Leaf Crown!

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VISITS

We spent as much time out and about as my poorly legs could manage, walking in the woods, watching sunsets, visiting owls and deer at the local farm and falconry attraction, farm shops with harvest festivals, foraging marvelous things, playing with natures offerings, puddle jumping and getting pretty muddy indeed!

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Of our various visits and walks I covered our Farm Shop trip.

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I hope you are enjoying your beautiful Autumn as much as we are!

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Pumpkin Deconstruction

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Covering harvest with Leo has been a real joy, as he seems particularly interested in vegetables and fruit, not just for eating, but for investigating.
Pumpkins have proved a real favourite for him, next to corn.

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We have kept several tiny pumpkins around for sensory free play, for crafty sticking on, for pumpkin bowling, all sorts. So when he spotted the larger pumpkins at the farm shop and shouted “PUMMM!” loudly, i knew that this activity, which i have been looking forward to, would go down a real treat.

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We picked up a small pumpkin, light enough for him to still hold it, and from the moment it got home it has been carried around, rolled around, sat on, put in mixing bowls and barrels and generally received a great deal of attention.

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We didn’t intend carving a pumpkin for Halloween, but we did use this pumpkin and one from one of Leos previous activities for a ‘display’ for the evening.

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So the day came, not long after we got it, for pitching out on the garden with a few tools and getting stuck in! We were even met with a beautiful rainbow in the questionable shy display.

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I cut into the top and pulled it loose so he could ‘discover’ its insides for himself.

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We provided him with a bowl, tongs and an ice cream spoon, and were keen to see what tasks he would create for himself.

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As soon as he saw it set up for him, he dashed over and grabbed the spoon with his serious business face on. It was seconds before he was taking off and replacing the top, like a jigsaw puzzle piece.

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He pulled and squished at the flesh a little, rubbing its slime through our hands, though surprisingly this was not high on his list of things to do with it. Must have been having an off day. Hes usually right in there with anything squelchy.

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He liked scooping and picking at the seeds, and putting them into our hands, the bowl, and back into the pumpkin.

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He tried carrying it again, and taking it to a specific spot to turn it upside down and empty it. Logic play!

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He incorporated some seeds with his stones and enjoyed inspecting the two together and playing with them.

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We cut it in half, and this reignited interest after he put it down to play elsewhere in the garden.

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He tried putting them back together again, the right way up too, and tried his very best to fit the top back in.
We had a good sniff, what a funny old smell. Not my very favourite smell.

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He was not consistently playing with this activity with us, even on a guided level, but he still got a lot out of it in the short 20 minutes of play we had.

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I have to admit, I had an absolute ball!I think this is going to become as annual an activity for us as carving is to others, until hes old enough to carve anyway!

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This post is for Unit 2, Autumn & Harvest.