The turning of the seasons is a perfect time to help your child hone her or his observation skills. With much in the outside world changing, things to notice are everywhere.
Seeing – Colors are changing. Green gives way to a bright, yet somewhat melancholy palette of reds and browns. You can almost see the color moving through the leaves as they slowly turn from green to yellow, to orange, to red, then to brown, curling themselves into little boats to sail on the wind. Seeds, green, yellow and brown, hang from trees before dropping, the prickly, unfriendly packages keeping them safe until they hit the ground. Night comes sooner. The autumnal equinox, September 22nd, marks the first day of astronomical autumn and it’s as though the Earth is starting to lean away from the sun as the days get shorter.
Hearing – Which sounds are different? On trees, dry leaves rustle, scratching against each other in the breeze before they fall to the ground. Dry leaves crackle, crunch, snap, as you shuffle through them—shhhh, ska-tat. Big horse chestnuts thump when they fall, while helicopter seeds gently glide down from maples. Are those ducks quacking as they wing their way south?
Touching – Spiky green capsules break open to reveal smooth, red-brown horse chestnuts. Prickly sycamore seed pods look like ornaments—can you spot the seed inside? Take care that the helicopter seeds you gather are hairless. Pick smooth, round apples, cold to the touch, colorful, lumpy squash, heavy to lift and the very last blackberries, dangling from arching stems.
Smelling – Dusty leaves, a chill in the air, the moist earthiness of decomposing gardens, comforting cinnamon and applesauce simmering on a stove.
Tasting – Crisp apples, roasted pumpkin seeds, cinnamon—anything, pumpkin pie, tangy apple cider and popcorn.
Wearing – Clothing is heavier: sweaters, scarves, coats, hats, mittens, shoes, not sandals--brrr!
There is so much to talk about when seasons change. It doesn’t matter if your child hasn’t begun to verbalize, talk away and enjoy sharing the season.