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Resources for Autumn Fun at Your CACFP Site

August 17, 2022

A row of children sit on hay bales holding pumpkins and making silly faces

Soon it will be cooling down outside. In a few short weeks, your farmers market will begin featuring more squash and gourds and less watermelon. Reminders will be sent home for children to bring sweaters. Days will grow shorter.

The changing of the season is an exciting time for children to learn more about the natural world as well as anticipate another season of cultural, religious and family traditions.  Here are our top recommendations for ways to celebrate autumn at your CACFP site, from fall-themed recipes to autumn books and crafts. Enjoy!

Harvest food

In the fall, food traditionally centers on the theme of the harvest. Check out our Pumpkin Five Ways infographic five pumpkin recipes, including pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin and white bean soup! The Corn Five Ways infographic has five corn recipes, including corn bread and corn & green chili salad. Check out our recipes and menus page to stay up to date; we add new recipes all the time!

Autumn themed crafts

Many CACFP operators, such as Head Start and Early Head Start, are not allowed to use food for crafts or games. This can be tricky in the fall when pumpkin carving and apple stamping are staple activities! Here are a few resources for autumn crafts that should do the trick:

  1. Fall Leaf Wreath: Cut out rings of scrap cardboard or cardstock. Take your participants on a nature walk to gather leaves and pinecones. Assist them in gluing their finds onto their wreath for a seasonal decoration.
  2. Happy Autumn Newsletter: This simple fall-themed activity page packs a punch! It features a peanut butter & apple wrap snack recipe, a craft, and circle time inspiration.
  3. Halloween Activity Page - MEMBERS ONLY: This members-only Halloween-themed activity page features a delicious pumpkin bread recipe, a Halloween-themed craft and numerous game and activity ideas.
  4. Paper Art 3D Apples – MEMBERS ONLY: The paper art 3D apples resource is step-by-step printable on how to make 3D paper apples, the perfect autumn craft to decorate a classroom!

Fall food books

The transition from one season to the next is a perfect reason to refresh your classroom library. Why not keep an eye out for books that celebrate food and fall? Here are our recommendations:

Applesauce Day by Lisa AmstutzApple Sauce Day book cover

We like this book for Autumn reads at CACFP sites for several reasons! First of all, it highlights a seasonal fall favorite food, the humble apple. Apples are so ubiquitous at grocery stores and in fruit bowls, that we can forget they’re best enjoyed in the fall! This book also highlights a special family food tradition and sets the stage for continuing conversations about food traditions at home.





Pumpkin Soup by Helen CooperPumpkin Soup Book Cover

Continuing to reinforce that pumpkins are so much more than front porch decorations, this adorable book is all about three friends who make pumpkin soup together every year.






Amara’s Farm by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Samara HardyAmara's Farm Book Cover

Amara needs to harvest the pumpkins on her farm, but in her search for the pumpkins we see and learn about other fall crops that are ripe for harvesting. This adorable book is full of fall colors and features an African-American main character and is good for representation.





Four Friends in Autumn by Tomie DePaolaFour Friends in Autumn Book Cover

It's autumn! The air is cool and crisp, and the leaves have changed to bright golds and reds. Mistress Pig wants to celebrate her favorite season by cooking a big feast for her friends. Mister Frog, Missy Cat, and Master Dog can't wait to taste all the delicious food. But why is it taking so long for Mistress Pig to come out of the kitchen? You'll never believe what happened to dinner! (From the publisher)





What wonderful autumn ideas did we miss? Let us know at Looking for access to our members-only resources? NCA members enjoy access to these resources and many others as part of their annual membership. NCA members receive many benefits, including the following:

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