“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.”
– Nathaniel Hawthorne
This quote expresses how I feel about fall and this month in particular. It lays between the blur of September – full of transitions – and the delightful, although busy, holiday season. It is quieter, cozier, slower and full of colorful fall beauty. I hope the prompts for this month help you slow down and notice some of the splendor of the season.
Track the changing temperature
The temperature can shift quite drastically this month. From day to day and even hour to hour. Today in Maine the temperature reached near 70°F in the afternoon and is supposed to dip to the low 40s tonight. That’s a big change! Use our weather log to track the temperature and weather throughout the month and see what a difference a day can make.
Life of a log
Even after it’s life, trees continue to be a crucial element in the ecosystem. They help lessen erosion and provide shelter, food and nutrients. Examine a fallen log and you’ll see that it’s full of life. Search for signs of animal activity and fungal growth. What did you observe? Why do you think they were in, under or around the log? What role do these things play in the cycle of life?
*Note: While observing fallen logs, please be very gentle and careful. This is a living habitat.
These are some of our favorite books to accompany the exploration of fallen logs…
Go on a bark scavenger hunt
The outer bark serves the same function for all trees but there is a lot of diversity in how it looks. So many different patterns and textures and colors to notice! Your young naturalist will gain a greater appreciation for trees with this scavenger hunt.
You can take this activity further by adding some sensory elements.
- Ask your child to feel the difference of the barks. Do they feel rough or smooth? Are they thick or thin? Take some bark rubbings too. They will aid in remembering the experience and serve as prompts for reflection and further discussion.
- Try smelling the bark. Go ahead, don’t be shy. The bark of some trees have very distinct odors. Sandalwood, red cedar, yellow birch and ponderosa pines are some.
Notice the night sky
This month is the perfect time to get outside after dark and observe the night sky. It’s getting dark before bedtime, still warm enough to not have to bundle up too much, and the skies tend to be clear.
While time spent together simply gazing at the night sky is a wonderful thing, you can make it engaging and educational by doing a little prep work. I like this short video for generating some ideas: Stargazing with Kids.
Here are some other resources you may want to have at the ready…
- Learn the phases of the moon with this fun flip book.
- Track the moon phases with this printable moon journal.
- Read Night Sky With the Naked Eye by Bob King
- Learn some constellations with Find the Constellations by H. A. Rey
- See what’s happening in the night sky, like who will be accompanying the full Harvest Moon in a couple of days, at Space.com.
Happy October. Have fun exploring and noticing nature!