Autumn Celebrations at The Holiday Zone
Candy Chase | Leaf Hunt | Needle in a Haystack | Pass the Pumpkin | Pin the Leaf on the Pumpkin | Scarecrow and Crows | Spiders | Squirrel and Nut

Games for Fall Festivals and Celebrations

Candy Chase
Fill two pans with flour or powdered sugar. Mix into each pan a couple of rolls of Lifesavers. Place a cup of plastic coffee stirrers or chopsticks next to each pan.

Show children how to hold a coffee stirrer between their teeth, then stick it through the hole of the Lifesaver to "catch" a piece of candy. When a child successfully picks up a piece, he or she may eat it.

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Leaf Hunt
Before children arrive, scatter leaves (real or paper cut-outs) around the classroom.

After children arrive, give each child a small bag. Ask children to search the room for leaves. Tell children to try to remember the places they found leaves. Give them about five minutes (depending on age) to search.

Ask children to take the leaves they've found and return to their seats. Have them count the number of leaves they found. Who found the most? How many leaves total did the children find? What was the average number of leaves each child collected?

How many children found a leaf under something? beside something? on top of something? next to something? (With older children, you might create a bar graph.)

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Needle in a Haystack
Purchase one bale of hay and a large blunt plastic needle. (If plastic needles are not available, you may cut a needle out of construction paper and laminate it.) Scatter the bale of hay, and mix the needle into it. Let two students at a time hunt for the needle.

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Pass the Pumpkin
(similar to "Hot Potato")
Cut an 8-inch circle out of a piece of orange cloth. In the center of the circle, place a cup of dried beans or rice. Gather the circle up around the beans, and tie shut using green or brown yarn. (It's best to use several thicknesses of yarn, and tie in a knot.) Make sure the circle is tied securely shut. If desired, you may draw a face on your pumpkin bean bag.

Have all children sit on the floor in a circle. Explain that they are about to hear some music. When the music plays, they should pass the pumpkin around the circle. When the music stops, they should stop passing the pumpkin. Whoever is left holding the pumpkin moves to the center of the circle. As the number of children inside the circle increases, the distance between children in the circle also increases, meaning that each child will have the pumpkin a few seconds longer before he or she can get it to the next person. Play until only one child is left outside the circle. This child wins the round.

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Pin the Leaf on the Pumpkin
Cut a large pumpkin out of orange construction paper or poster board. Add a brown stem at the top. Laminate.

Cut leaves out of construction paper and laminate. Put sticky-tack or a piece of tape on the back of each. Blindfold one child at a time, making sure the child can't peek. Ask the child to turn around two or three times, then tell the child to stick the leaf on the pumpkin. See how close children can come to placing the leaf near the pumpkin's stem.

For added excitement, assign point values to various regions of the pumpkin. For instance, placement right at the base of the stem would be 10 pts. Placement within an inch of the correct spot would be five points. Place within three inches would be 3 pts. Placement within five inches would be one point. Divide students into two or more teams. As each child goes up to place the leaf, his or her team mates may give oral directions in the target language--"Go to your right two feet. Higher. Higher. No, a little lower. Now over to your left," etc.

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Scarecrow and Crows
Either cut ears of corn out of construction paper and laminate, or purchase dried corn from a feed-and-seed store.

On the playground, mark off a large square (20' x 20' or larger). Scatter the corn inside this area.

Select one child to be the scarecrow. All the other children are crows. The crows must try to steal the corn from inside the square while the scarecrow tries to stop them.

The scarecrow may tag anyone inside the square. Anyone the scarecrow tags is out and must sit down for the remainder of the round. But anyone who makes it back outside the square is safe.

Depending on the ages of children, you  may give the crows thirty seconds to three minutes to try to steal corn. When time is up, the crows receive one point for every ear they have stolen. The scarecrow receives one point for every ear he has protected.

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MATERIALS: One or two dice, drawing paper (one sheet per player), and pencils or crayons with which to draw.

Divide players into groups of six or less (one die) OR 12 or less (two dice). If one die is to be used, have each player choose a number between 1-6. If two are to be used, have each player choose a number between 1-12. Do not duplicate numbers.

Once each player has a number, roll the die. The player whose number is showing may add one body part -- body, mouth, eye, or leg to his/her spider. The first player to complete his/her spider wins.

For faster play, allow students to work in pairs or make groups smaller and allow each player to choose two numbers.
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Squirrel and Nut
(similar to "Doggie, Doggie, Where's Your Bone?")
One child is the squirrel. He or she sits in the front of the classroom with a nut under his or her chair. The squirrel should close his or her eyes. No peeking!

While the squirrel counts to twenty, another student slips up and takes the nut, then returns to his or her seat. On the count of twenty, the squirrel opens his or her eyes. He or she has three guesses to try to identify the culprit.

If the squirrel correctly guesses the identity of the child who took the nut, the squirrel remains the squirrel for another turn. If the squirrel does not guess who took the nut, the child who took the nut becomes the squirrel.

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