Fall is almost here! Changing seasons provide an amazing opportunity to give your Montessori shelves a face lift with some easy switches to make your activities more cohesive and seasonally-themed. Fall is one of my favorites because one of the key elements of a themed shelf is so abundant in fall: COLOR!
The easiest way to make your shelves seasonally-themed is to switch out the colors of your materials and add a few seasonal shapes. For fall, that could be red, orange, yellow, brown, leaves, apples, pumpkins, scarecrows, acorns, etc. I found the absolute cutest materials at Oriental Trading for my fall shelves, and I can’t wait to set them up over Labor Day Weekend! The best part — most of these materials can be used for several different activities, so you can switch up your trays if one activity has already been mastered.
Here are 20 Montessori-inspired activities for fall, arranged by section:
Typical Practical Life Transfer Works
I am absolutely in love with this beautiful Autumn Crystal Bead Assortment — so much so that I am using it in five different activities! Posting is always a fun and relaxing work that helps build hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills such as the pincer grip. I put a bunch of these beads into a small yellow bowl beside an empty coffee creamer bottle. The bottle is clear, so the child can watch the beads fall as she drops them one by one into the top.
These Apple Lampwork Glass Charms are gorgeous and a great fall-themed material for transfer works! I put them in a bowl with a toddler-sized pasta spoon for a spooning transfer work.
Returning to those earlier Autumn Crystal Beads, they are the perfect size for a ladling work, which requires a bit more wrist motion than just a simple spooning work. Transferring the small beads from one container to the next requires many repetitive motions, which will help build concentration and focus.
To further refine the spooning work, use a smaller spoon with those same Autumn Crystal Beads.
Those Apple Glass Charms are the perfect size for a child-sized tong transfer work! I like to pair tong transfer with an empty ice cube tray, which also helps promote one-to-one correspondence, a beginning math skill.
Finally, you can use those same Autumn Crystal Beads in a simple dry pouring work to refine hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Manipulative/Fine Motor Practical Life Works
These adorable Harvest Beads are another favorite material that I can find use for in four different works. To start with, put a variety out with a pipe cleaner for a beginning bead stringing work. The pipe cleaner makes it easier to string the beads since it is stiffer than string.
I just couldn’t resist these cute Fall Brads, so I made up a quick push-through work for them. I laminated a piece of cardstock, then punched holes all around the edges. This is a fun way to work on hand-eye coordination as well as the fine motor skills needed to expand the brad so it stays in place.
Did you think we were finished with that first set of Autumn Crystal Beads? No way! They are the perfect size for a hand sweeping work. Show your child how to dump out the bowl of beads on a tray, sweep them up, and then pour them back into the bowl.
When I saw these Burlap Leaf Shapes, I knew I could come up with at least a few different ways to use them. Older children could use these as a sewing work — the holes in the burlap are just large enough for a needle to go through. I think this is going to be L’s favorite work from our fall shelves!
You could also put out more than one leaf at a time so your child can sew a leaf garland — then hang it up as decoration!
Sensorial Sorting Works
Many of the materials I found come with a variety of shapes or colors, which make them perfect for sorting works! I took photos of those Harvest Beads and taped them to the different sections of a sorting tray to make a sorting work — older children may not need that, but it provides a helpful control of error for toddlers and young preschoolers.
These Multicolor Stone Leaf Beads can also become a color matching work with a simple muffin tin! I cut out each color from construction paper and taped it to the bottom of the tin.
Those Burlap Leaves also come in a large variety, so they can be used for a slightly more difficult sorting work that would combine color AND shape.
The beautiful variety of colors that can be found in fall can also be used in a section of the classroom that you might not expect — MATH! I made this free printable pattern template just for the leaf beads from that Harvest Bead set. You can keep yours whole like I did or cut out each template individually.
Those Harvest Beads are also the perfect size for my free printable number to quantity cards — just choose 15 of the same bead along with cards 1-5 to help make the connection between the written number and what that number represents.
Art is a favorite section of our homeschool classroom, so I was excited to find some great art materials that can be used in more than one way. This Fall Nature Stencil Set is perfect for a Montessori art section! First you can set it out with a colored pencil for some stencil tracing…
…then switch out the pencil for some paint and a foam dotter! I like to clip the stencils onto some paper so they don’t move while the child is working with it, but that could be eliminated for older children.
I remember using this Nature Print Sun Sensitive Paper when I was a kid, so I knew I HAD to get some for our own home. This would be great for all seasons, but I’m especially excited about using it this fall because that is when there are so many beautifully-colored fallen leaves to choose from!
Grace and Courtesy
One part of the Montessori curriculum that we don’t take lightly is known as “Grace and Courtesy.” In our house, we like to use grace and courtesy when we think about cooking for others and delivering a special treat. I was so excited to find this Caramel Apple Delight Recipe because it is the perfect fall food prep activity for my girls, and then we can deliver them to some special people in our lives!
I can tell that I am going to have a hard time choosing which of these great ideas to put on our shelves this fall — I might have to rotate my works a bit more often just so I can get everything out there! Which ones do you think your children will enjoy the most???
You can find these products and other fall materials right HERE.