Activities to Celebrate Fall in Your Classroom

Your local farmer’s market is bustling, pumpkin spice is featured on every menu, mums greet us at doorsteps…fall is here, and it’s time to celebrate with students!

As an elementary teacher, I usually got the party started with picking up a few small pumpkins in mid-September for my students to hold and admire, which sparked interest and excitement for this special time of the year. Students would share memories of their experiences at a pumpkin patch and would take turns proudly displaying one of the mini pumpkins on their desks, like a trophy. (It’s amazing how happy a pumpkin can make you feel.)

Below are some of my students’ favorite activities that highlight fall staples, including pumpkins and apples. But before moving on to the student activities, though, l have one for you. Apples and teachers stereotypically go together, but do you know why? Listen to this teacher explain why “A great teacher eats apples” in this TEDx Talks video. I bet you will want to start eating more apples after watching (I did!).

*Pumpkin and Apple Recipes
If cooking isn’t an option for you and your students, reading recipes together can be almost just as fun. A few years ago, I had a student with a learning disability who loved to bake but was a reluctant reader. Providing her with recipes to practice her reading skills gave her interest, motivation, and a purpose to read.

Get started with these recipes from Super Healthy Kids:

*Pumpkin Math
Give your students the opportunity to practice their estimation and measuring skills using a pumpkin of any size. (I often brought in one or more medium-sized pumpkins that I could carry.) Students will estimate the pumpkin’s weight, circumference, and number of seeds and record their findings on this Pumpkin Math chart. Students will then compare their estimates with the actual measurements.

*Apple Tasting Contest
Provide students with two or more different varieties of apples and host an apple tasting contest. Students love being the judges and can keep track of their apple rulings on this form.

*Celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day
Every September 26, the principal of the elementary school where I taught would disguise himself as Johnny Appleseed and visit all the classrooms – barefooted, of course. If nobody at your school is willing to dress up, you can still celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day with a variety of other fun activities.

*Fall Haiku
The beauty of fall can bring out the poets in all of us! According to Creative Writing Now, “Haiku is a Japanese poetry form that uses just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the reader’s mind.” Typically, a haiku has a focus on nature and is written in three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. For example:

Falling leaves from trees
The air is breezy and crisp
Pumpkins greet my friends

Decorate your classroom or the hallway with your students’ poetry with illustrations to match. Learn more about how to write a haiku here.

*Picture Books Featuring Apples and Pumpkins:

  • How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Princeman
    This book will take you and your students to Vermont for the freshest apples, Sri Lanka for the most flavorful cinnamon, Jamaica for the sweetest sugar, and other exotic places around the world to gather the finest ingredients to make an apple pie.
  • Apple Cider Making Days by Ann Purmell
    Spend a day with this family at their farm as you see the process of making apple cider unfold.
  • Bad Apple: A Tale about Friendship by Edward Hemingway
    Students love this story about a unique friendship between an apple and a worm and how the apple stands “firm” against bullies.
  • Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

When life gives you pumpkins…find out how Rebecca (who hates pumpkins) makes the most out of a pumpkin patch that grows out of control.

  • The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
    “…from flat seeds to brilliant orange pumpkins!” Learn about the life cycle of pumpkins, fascinating pumpkin facts, how to carve pumpkins, and more with this fun book.

It’s time to pick up a pumpkin (or two) from your local grocery store or farm stand – just wait and see the excitement and wonder of fall unfold in your classroom. Happy fall to you and your students!


Jill Rockwell
Jill has over 13 years of experience as a licensed teacher in the areas of Special Education, Reading Education, and Health Education. She embraces diversity and has worked with students in grades K-12 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. Jill completed her Master of Science degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls while teaching full time. She fully understands the soaring demands of today’s teachers. Her courses are designed to maximize the time of all educators by providing engaging, meaningful, and applicable activities which can be used to enhance teaching practices. She focuses on research-based best practices and technology integration throughout her own instructional practices. Together with her husband and two young boys, Jill enjoys traveling, biking and the changing seasons of the great outdoors in Wisconsin.