5 Exciting Fall-Themed STEM Activities To Keep Your Kids Busy

Sep 28, 2022 | Burlington

Fall is finally here! And, what better way to welcome the season than with fall-themed, educational STEM activities. These activities aren’t just festive and fun, but engaging for all ages. Plus, if you’re looking for some activities to keep the kids busy for a while, these activities are just what you need. So, read on for 5 exciting, fall-themed STEM activities your kids will love.


Operation Leaf Discovery

Fall is never complete without all of the beautiful autumn leaves. So, why not learn more about them? That’s exactly what this activity is here for; it helps your child learn more about the basic structure of leaves. All you’ll need is some colorful fall leaves, crayons, and printer paper.

First, have your child head outside to collect some leaves. If you want to keep them busier for longer, have them collect plenty of leaves! Once the leaves are brought inside, set them on the table and cover one leaf at a time with a piece of printer paper. Then, take different colored crayons and gently rub it over each leaf. For this activity, it helps to remove the paper wrapper and place the crayon on its side, but using the crayon the standard way works just fine, too. If done correctly, you will start to see the outline and details of the leaf.

Once each leaf is copied onto the paper, now it’s time to start learning about the various parts of the leaf! For younger kids, we recommend referring to a simple diagram of a leaf (plenty can be found on Google) and helping them label or talk about each part on the paper. For older kids, we recommend watching one of the awesome YouTube videos out there on the structure and function of leaves, such as this one, and then encouraging them to label each part and describe what it does.


The Pine Cone Weather Predictor Experiment

Before our beloved weather forecast was around, people had to get creative to predict the weather. So, they used nature, including pine cones! Learn all about it in this experiment, where you’ll need just a pine cone and water.

On a warmer and sunny day, start by having your child find a pine cone outside that is fully dry and open. Then, explain to your child that when it’s warm and sunny, all pine cones are open. However, when it’s moist or snowy, they close up. Because of this, before the weather forecast was around, people used pine cones to help predict the weather. Explain to them that you’ll observe this first hand with a simple experiment. Have your child take the pine cone inside, immerse it in a cool bowl of water, and seal it off with a lid for at least an hour. Ask them to make predictions, like what will the pine cone look like and how long will it take to change. Or, ask them if it will change at all! Over the next few hours, have your child check on the pine cone and observe the changes that occur. They’ll be surprised when it seals itself shut!


The Great Pumpkin Dissection

Another staple of the fall season is obviously pumpkin! So, before carving your pumpkins this year, help your child exercise their discovery skills by analyzing the different parts. For this activity, you’ll need a pumpkin (or two), a knife or pumpkin carving tool, adult supervision, and (optional) some investigation tools, like a magnifying glass and paper and pencil.

Before cutting open the pumpkin, have your child make predictions. Here are some questions they can answer:

  1. What will be inside the pumpkin?
  2. What will it feel like?
  3. How many seeds do you think there will be? Will they be the same size?

Then, use your knife or carving tool to cut the top off. Next, allow your child to explore the inside of the pumpkin and see if their predictions were correct. It might get a little messy, but it’ll keep your little one busy! We also recommend watching this awesome video either during or after the activity is complete to learn more about the science and anatomy of a pumpkin: Dissect a Pumpkin!

pumpkin-seed-counting.png Image Credit: Mary Catherine with Fun-A-Day Blog

The Pumpkin Seed Counting Challenge

Now that you’ve dissected a pumpkin, you have plenty of seeds at your disposal for more fun activities! That’s where the pumpkin seed counting challenge comes into play. For this activity, you’ll need pumpkin seeds, a pumpkin cookie cutter, a marker (preferably orange), paper, and glue (optional).

First, you’ll need to set up this activity by tracing about 6 - 9 pumpkins on a piece of paper (or several pieces, if you want to keep them busy for longer) using the cookie cutter and marker. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can freehand draw them or even just print out free pumpkin printables from online. For younger students, write down different numbers from 1 - 10 inside each pumpkin. For older students, you can write different math equations in each pumpkin, like 3 x 2 or even 15 - 8. The perfect thing about this activity is that it can be specifically catered to your child’s needs.

Once the activity is set up, have your child add the appropriate number of pumpkin seeds to each pumpkin, either by setting them inside the pumpkin or gluing them down.

Bonus: You can also challenge your child to create different shapes by lining up the pumpkin seeds to practice those geometry skills!

pumpkin-engineering-challenge.png Image Credit: Mary Catherine with Fun-A-Day Blog

The Pumpkin Engineering Challenge

The pumpkin engineering challenge is another activity that kids of all ages will thoroughly enjoy! It exercises their math and engineering skills, is pretty mess-free, and can be repeated as many times as your child likes. For this activity, all you need is pumpkin candy, play dough, and something with numbers on it, whether it be the magnetic numbers you stick on your fridge, cards with numbers on them, or even dice.

Start the activity by challenging your child to create different structures using pumpkin candies and play dough. If your pumpkin candy has been sitting in your kitchen drawer since last Halloween and is subsequently stale, you’ll need to use play dough to hold the structures together, but you can also use toothpicks if the candy is more fresh. Then, have your child select a number at random (or roll the dice). For younger kids, you’ll want to use smaller numbers, but for older kids, you can assign them a random, larger number! Next, instruct your kids to count out their assigned number of pumpkin candies and create the best pumpkin structure they can! Trust us, they’ll stay busy creating pumpkin castles, forts, and houses for a while. And, this activity can be repeated with different numbers as many times as they want.

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