Pumpkin patches. Scarecrows. Jack-o-lanterns. In addition to the cozy autumn feels in general, I’ve always loved all the fun fall activities for 2nd grade.
These are ten of my favorite ideas for math and language arts practice during the fall! All activities are standards-based with high levels of student engagement.
I’ve personally used them with second graders, but many work well or could be adapted for other grade levels too.
Activity #1: The Farmer in the Dell
This first fall activity can technically be done any time of the school year. But I’ve tended to introduce it in September (when harvest time is first starting). It feels appropriate with the activity’s farm theme.
Farmer in the Dell is one of the BEST ways to reinforce students’ understanding of parts of speech. Dressing up is not required, but my own students have always gotten a kick out of the farmer hat.
There are many different variations you can do for this activity, but here’s the whole group one I’ve done most often. Students brainstorm words for each part of speech on the poster. As a class, they sing the silly sentences they create to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.” It is extremely entertaining for them, in a Mad-Libs sort of way. You can continue to mix up the word selection to create new songs.
Not only is this fun and engaging, but it ticks a ton of academic boxes for a literacy lesson- reading, writing, speaking & listening, and grammar skill practice.
If you’d like more details about this activity (as well as a classroom video of it in action), you can click the button below.
Activity #2: FALLing Jenga
Improving students’ literacy and math skills while having fun? Win-win. Jenga is a favorite for math centers and early finishers all throughout the school year, but especially when it’s themed for the season.
Students take turns rolling the color dice. All players solve the problem on the matching color card, and the one who rolled the dice gets to pull the same color block from the tower.
The fall-themed math Jenga games come with versions for addition and subtraction facts 0-20, 2 digit addition (pictured above), and 2 digit subtraction.
There’s also a version for language arts. It hits multiple second grade standards for phonics and grammar.
If you’re interested in hearing about all different kinds of ways you can use Jenga in the classroom, click the button below to visit another blog post.
Activity #3: Building Arrays Activity
Here’s another hands-on math activity for the fall. This one is ideal for practicing those early foundational skills for multiplication (repeated addition and building arrays).
These activity mats come in two sets (one themed for Halloween and the other themed for fall) with 3 different types of activities for building arrays. Like the other fall activities I’ve shared, they’re available in my website shop and TPT store.
They can be used with any kind of math counters. But if you happen to have a stash of Target mini erasers somewhere, now is the time to bust them out! If you don’t already have a drawer full of them somewhere, they often appear in the Target Dollar Spot at the beginning of fall. You can also find Halloween mini erasers“>Halloween mini erasers on Amazon.
If you want to see how I’ve used this activity in my own classroom (or get additional ideas for teaching arrays), you may want to check out the blog post below.
Activity #4: Pattern Block Shapes
In addition to mini erasers, the use of pattern blocks is a super simple way to make math hands-on. For this low prep activity, students can build a fall-themed shape with their math pattern blocks. For instance, they might create spiders, bats, pumpkins, leaves, or trees. It’s a focused, engaging task, and one that also helps continue to set the foundation for geometry skills.
As an extension, you could also integrate writing by having students write a procedural text for how another person would build that shape using the pattern blocks.
Activity #5: Shades of Meaning Fall Writing Craft
Since I mentioned integrating writing, let’s go ahead and shift from math fall activities over to writing activities!
Do you have students who tend to use the same words over and over in their writing? This Shades of Meaning writing craft helps students expand their vocabulary. For instance, instead of always saying “thankful”, students can explore alternative words like grateful and appreciative.
First, you could have students do a word sort with fall-themed words. The kids can cut out the words, learn and analyze each meaning, and then sort the words from weakest to strongest. You might have them color the words (in fall colors) from lightest to darkest based on how strong each word meaning is.
Students then create their own fall tree using a set of those synonyms. Here’s an example of the craft with shades of meaning for the word smell.
Another option is to print the tree pieces on different shades of fall colored paper, and students can cut, assemble, and glue.
These make for a beautiful fall bulletin board, and a functional one too! Think of it as one big thesaurus on the wall. Any time students might want to use a more descriptive word in their fall writing, they can refer to the words displayed on the trees.
And to give it those extra cozy fall feels, you could choose to use the bulletin board heading included with the resource. I like to hole punch the top of the leaves and hang the letters on string.
If you’re in need of additional ideas for teaching shades of meaning, I recommend heading over to this blog post.
And if you’re wanting all of the templates for the fall activity shown above, those can be found on my website or TPT. The resource is also a part of a bundle with more shades of meaning activities for different seasons throughout the school year.
Activity #6: Multiple Meaning Word Activities
Another way of expanding vocabulary knowledge is through practice with multiple meaning words. This resource comes with five different activities for review:
🎃 Show It Two Ways: Students create their own sentences for a multiple meaning word, showing it being used in two ways. They draw a visual representation to go with each sentence.
🎃 Bat Craftivity: Similar to the activity above, but on a bat writing craft.
🎃 Sentence Match: Students analyze word meanings in different sentences. They color the sentences that use the word with the same context in matching colors.
🎃 Word Study: Students read informational text about bats. They search for multiple meaning words in the text, identifying and discussing their meaning.
🎃 Multiple meaning task cards that can be used for Write the Room, Scoot activities, etc.
Activity #7: Character Mask Project
This fall activity works well any time of year, but can be especially fun during Halloween time since there’s a “costume” component to it. It is a project that incorporates writing, speaking and listening, and even some art!
Students choose a book character they’re interested in. They answer standards-based question about that character, give an oral report in front of the class from the character’s point of view, and get to create a mask. They wear the character mask during their presentation.
Not only does the writing component hit a ton of standards, but presenting in front of the class helps with their listening and speaking skills. It also really helps them grasp the concept of point of view, since they speak to the class as though they are their character.
And getting to wear a mask definitely adds a fun factor to the project. It makes for higher student engagement and they have fun getting creative with it. I’ve always enjoyed getting to see all of the different masks they create, and the variety of characters they choose.
I’ve shared more details about this project in another blog post, which you can visit by clicking below.
Activity #8: Spider Day Activities
As you might have guessed from the project above, I love activities that can be cross-curricular. Having a common theme for a day or week (like spiders!) is a great way to tie in multiple subject areas in a fun way.
These spider-themed activities hit reading, writing, and even STEM skills. You could have a Spider Day or Spider Week any time of year, but I’ve typically aimed for October. It just makes it all feel a little extra creepy and crawly, in that way that kids love!
If you’re looking to plan one yourself, this resource (also available on TPT) will save you a ton of time, since it’s all already put together for you! Everything is both digital and printable. Here’s a preview of some of the slides included:
Students can practice grammar skills, such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives:
And their favorite is often the STEM challenge, which incorporates some writing as well:
The STEM challenge is a fun way to wrap up Spider Day or Week! Students enjoy sharing their web creations with their teacher and peers.
Activity #9: Turkey Disguise Project
Might as well keep the fall activities going all the way through November…after all the bats and spiders, it’s time to bring on the turkeys!
“Disguise a Turkey” is a classic activity, and this specific one is particularly engaging for opinion writing practice.
Students write about what disguise they think would be best to help keep a turkey from becoming a Thanksgiving meal. They give reasons to support their opinion on why it would be the best disguise. Their favorite part is getting to create a turkey disguise craft to go with their writing!
It helps to provide students with a clear prompt, pre-writing strategies, and a grading rubric.
Activity #10: Thankful Journal
The month of November is also an opportunity to get students thinking about all that they have to be thankful for.
A simple, meaningful way to help them feel and express gratitude (while still getting some writing practice in) is to have students keep a thankfulness journal. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, it takes just a little time each day.
From my own experience, this works best when you give the kids a specific prompt or sentence stem. Here is a ready-made journal with a whole month’s worth of writing prompts.
Love it all this fall!
Hope you and your students go batty for all of the fun fall activities this year! Wishing you a happy, cozy, and learning-filled fall season.