Fall is officially here! Your little one has probably begun to notice the environmental changes happening all around him, including falling leaves, shorter days and crisper air.

The fall season isn’t only a great time to get outside and play, but it also presents an opportunity to use items found in nature to reinforce important skills, such as listening, self-expression, critical thinking, gross motor and more.

Below are some festive, hands-on activities that you can do with your child to celebrate the fall season.

1. Apple Taste Test

Visit a local orchard or grocery store with your child, and ask him to help you choose a few different types of apples. Encourage him to name the color of each as you add them to your cart. Do a taste test at home and ask him which apple he liked best and why.

2. Pumpkin Seed Snack

If you carve pumpkins this year, save the seeds for a yummy, healthy snack. Drizzle them with olive oil and ask your child to sprinkle cinnamon, cumin or even pumpkin pie spice on top. Bake the seeds for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. He’ll be excited to try the snack that he helped to create.

3. Fall Foliage Collage

Go on a nature walk with your child and collect a few fall treasures, such as acorns, leaves, pine cones and sticks. Encourage him to create a collage using the items he found. Provide glue or tape and markers in fall colors like brown, red and orange. Let his creativity run wild!

4. Leaf Pile Fun

Playing in a pile of leaves is a lot of fun, but it also serves as a chance for your child to practice gross motor skills and spatial vocabulary. Enlist his help in raking together a large pile of leaves and then give him directions, such as, “hop over the pile,” “skip around the pile” and “jump into the pile.”

5. Sink vs. Float Experiment

Fill a large bin or bathtub with water, and provide your child with various seasonal items. Ask him to predict whether each object would sink or float. Have him conduct the experiment to see if his hypotheses were correct.