11 Fall Themes for Preschool Classrooms

From autumn staples like apples and leaves to important preschool concepts like learning about new friends and gratitude, here are 11 fall themes that are perfect for your preschoolers. Grab your favorite cozy sweater and warm boots for the playground because we're about to fall into a pile of engaging and creative fun together!   


Welcome your students and the new school year with a back-to-school theme that helps preschoolers adjust to a new classroom environment and establish routines. Create activities like a classroom scavenger hunt to help familiarize preschoolers with their new surroundings and introduce them to their classmates through name games. Create a mini classroom in the dramatic play area where students can role-play as teachers and students, helping them understand classroom roles.   

All About Me 

The "All About Me" theme promotes self-awareness and confidence and helps young children learn about diversity. Have students create self-portraits that you’ll display in the classroom. Each day, feature a different child with the "Me Bag" that’s filled with items that represent them (a favorite toy, book, or photo). They can share the contents of the bag with the class, fostering confidence and communication skills.  


Download a fun Self-Portrait activity from Preschool With a Purpose  here! 



For some students, this may be their first time away from family and exploring the concept of family helps preschoolers understand relationships and feel connected. It also helps them understand that all families are different. Teachers can encourage children to bring in family photos to display in the classroom and share stories about their families. Set up a dramatic play area with dress-up clothes so children can pretend to be different family members and interact with each other.   


A Thanksgiving theme encourages social skills and an appreciation for others. Activities can include making a classroom “thankful turkey” where children add leaves with things they are thankful for and sharing a “friend's feast” where each child contributes a snack. Read 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston and Rich Deas and count along with construction paper turkeys for number and counting recognition.    


This theme promotes emotional well-being, empathy, and mindfulness. Plus, the theme of gratitude helps remind children to be kind. Teachers can create a gratitude scavenger hunt in the classroom where kids find items like something that makes you smile, something you enjoy reading, something that makes you feel calm, and something that feels cozy.  Help students create thank you cards for staff and other students by writing down their gratitude messages. Let students deliver each of the finished thank you cards.    


A harvest theme gives preschoolers hands-on learning about nutrition and how the fall season relates to different types of foods. Teachers can set up a classroom farmers’ market with pretend fruits and vegetables to discuss where food comes from. Kids can practice sorting and counting different types of produce to support math skills. Fill a sensory bin with dried corn, corn cob pieces, straw, and toy farm animals for kids to explore the textures.  


Pumpkins are a versatile theme that engages children in scientific exploration and mathematical concepts in a hands-on way. Use pumpkin seeds to create a number-sorting activity. Scoop the insides of a pumpkin into a gallon-sized freezer bag and seal it shut with tape. Let kids squish and squash the bag for a mess-free sensory activity.    


The changing colors and falling leaves of autumn support observational skills, creativity, and early science learning. Organize leaf scavenger hunts, leaf rubbings, and sorting activities by color, shape, and size. Create a sensory bin with items like leaves, pinecones, acorns, and small sticks, and allow children to explore the textures and smells.  


This fall staple is a sweet fall theme that promotes sensory exploration and understanding the agricultural processes. Lead an apple tasting and record the results so students can see which apples were the favorite and least favorite in the class. Using red, yellow, and green playdough and small pieces of fuzzy sticks, have preschoolers work on fine motor skills by creating different -sized apples.    

Fall Weather 

Exploring the weather helps children understand seasonal changes and promotes observational skills and scientific inquiry. Create a daily weather chart where students take turns being the "weather reporter," observing and recording the day's weather and suggesting what clothes to wear when it’s time to play outside. Set up a station with props like a thermometer, hats, coats, raincoats, and umbrellas. Children can predict the weather and discuss seasonal changes through imaginative play.  


Halloween doesn’t have to be spooky. It can be a fun and exciting theme that sparks imagination and creativity. Read a not-too-scary Halloween book, such as Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and follow up with a discussion about Halloween traditions and favorite costumes. Wrap up the fun by marble painting a mummy using black paper, a small box, white paint, a marble, and wiggle eyes.   


Check next year’s curriculum off your to-do list and help your teachers unlock the best learning environment for students! 


About the Author:

Amanda Mushro is a writer and content creator whose creative tips, tricks, and life hacks have reached millions of people through TV segments, videos, and her writing. However, her favorite job is being a mom of three.