Autumn is a wonderful time to help children become aware of the changing sounds of the seasons. Listening is the foundation of all musical experiences. We can help children to become aware of sounds, to be able to identify sounds and also to be able to copy a simple sequence of sounds such as shake, shake, shake or tap, tap, tap. Once the children are able to imitate the pattern, have the children make up their own simple patterns and you copy them.
Go on a sound hunt and collect autumn treasures such as beautiful coloured leaves, chestnuts and dried bean pods or sun flowers which the children can rub and hear the raspy sound of the seeds. Have a table where children can arrange and display their treasure. Listen to each child tap their two leaves, shake their treasure, or put out a visual pattern such as leaf, leaf, little leaf (two large leaves spaced apart, two small leaves placed close together and another larger leaf). Chant this pattern and make up others. This kind of play is the beginning of reading musical rhythmic patterns.
Encourage children to listen to the sounds around them. Go on a sound hunt together. Sound expeditions at this time of the year help children to appreciate the changing seasons. Listen to the wind in the trees and notice that the autumn leaves make a rustling sound in the wind. Stamp through the autumn leaves and listen to the crunchy sounds of the leaves. Explore language together that describes the different sounds. Make up chants, rhymes, stories about what the children have found.
Have a large sheet of sturdy brown paper and good quality paints or crayons. Listen to excerpts of the composer Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and have the children paint or draw in time to the music using whatever rhythmic patterns the music suggests.
Children need outdoor settings that are rich in trees, plants and with access, space and time for them to listen, observe, explore and move in order to make sense of their world. Their listening and sensory experiences in the natural world inspire them to create and appreciate all the wonders of nature.