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Now that the leaves have officially changed colors in our neighborhood, I’ve been starting to incorporate some fall activities for kids into our homeschool preschool. This fall-inspired What Is Missing? activity is extremely simple to prepare. Further, you can do it with any materials you have around the house.
What Is Missing? is always a hit with my kids. And I like that it supports their memory, attention, and cognitive development. Plus, you can use different objects each time you play, which is how I transformed What Is Missing? into a fall activity for kids.
To play this activity, I started by gathering a number of fall-themed items from around the house, including:
- an owl
- a pinecone
- a cup of corn kernels
- a dried corn cob
- a pumpkin foam bead
- a scarecrow foam bead
- a red leaf foam bead
- a green leaf foam bead
- an orange silk leaf
- a green silk leaf
Once I had my items, I called the kids to the floor, where I showed them a tray with just three objects on it. I pointed to each object and said its name, and the kids repeated the name back to me.
Then I asked the kids to cover their eyes. On this day, they decided to cover their eyes with their blankets. Much laughter ensued, of course. But at least the blankets kept their eyes covered. 🙂
While their eyes were covered, I removed one object from the tray. Then I asked the kids to uncover their eyes and name the missing object.
There are so many variations and extensions of this activity to keep it fresh and to challenge your kids.
If you are working with toddlers, I would suggest starting with just two items on the tray (instead of three) and removing one.
For preschoolers, you can start with three objects and remove one. If this is easy for your kids, then remove one object but place one of the remaining objects in its place to make it more difficult to recall the missing item. You can also remove one object and replace it with a new one. Then your kids have to name the missing object and identify the new object on the tray.
Instead of playing What Is Missing?, you can play What Was Added? To play this version, start with your objects on the tray and add one more. The kids have to identify which object was added.
And instead of playing What Is Missing?, you can play What Was Changed? To play this version, start with your objects on the tray. While your kids’ eyes are covered, move one object on the tray (like the corn cob in the photos below). Have your kids identify which object has been changed.
And an always popular extension in our home is to give one of the kids a turn to be in charge of selecting and removing/adding/changing the objects. They just love having a chance to be “the teacher” for a turn!
More fall activities for kids
More fall posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Fall-themed learning activities for preschool
- Fall on the farm sensory bin
- Fall sensory play ideas
- Scarecrow crafts and activities
- Fall Printables Pack
- Fall do-a-dot printables