What We're Thankful For: Falling for Fall

Published November 24, 2014

by Heather Doggett, Director of Visitor Programs and Staff Training

In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we’re asking various teams from across the Aquarium what they are thankful for this year!

In these colder, foggy mornings on the drive to school, I am struck by the quieter side of nature this time of year. It seems that every week my son and I are treated to a new kaleidoscope of colors in the trees and the bare branches of others are revealing a different view of the foothills as the leaves fall. Now we are able to easily spot the grey squirrels, deer and occasional fox in the wooded area behind our house.

I enjoy fall because it reminds me of seasonal changes and how our family can always simply step outside to take advantage of what the seasons have in store. As we reflect on this past year, I’m giving special thanks for the time spent with my family in nature. Whether it’s visiting our local farms to pick apples or chilly walks on nearby hiking trails, my son’s never-ending curiosity and growing appreciation for our natural world is a true inspiration! 

This year I am starting a new fun family activity that sparks conversation around thankfulness. Here are some of my favorite ideas!

  • Fall Leaf Hunt: Venture outside with a reusable bag or basket and collect several different leaves from different trees. Once inside, try categorizing and sorting them together in several different ways (by size, color, shape, type of edge). Collecting, sorting and observing details in nature actively encourages your child to build essential science process skills!
  • Book Nook: Snuggling under a warm blanket together on the couch and reading fall-themed books is one of our favorite Saturday morning activities. We especially like Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington (ages 2 and up) and Owl Babies by Martin Waddell (ages 3 – 7). 
  • Thankfulness Tree: All you need is pieces of recycled paper and found twigs set in a vase. Every night after school, have everyone in your family write one thing they are thankful for on a piece of paper and tie it to a twig. In no time, you’ll have a lovely centerpiece to enjoy through the holiday season.

Does your family have any special Thanksgiving traditions? Share them with us in the comments section! 

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Heather Doggett

Director of Visitor Programs and Staff Training

National Aquarium - Heather Doggett

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