What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of autumn? Color, of course. The leaves of trees burst into an array of vibrant colors – from green to hues of red, orange, and yellow. And that’s not all. There are red apples, orange pumpkins, purple grapes, golden wheat stalks, brown nuts and acorns, and multi-colored chrysanthemums. Celebrate the season with a few simple activities that will bring the colors of fall indoors. Your group might enjoy some of the following suggestions.

  • Ask participants to name colorful items they can find at these fall destinations: fruit orchard, pumpkin patch, corn maze, farmers’ market, winery, garden center, cider mill.
  • Name some shades of red, yellow, orange, green, brown, and purple. (Examples: mustard, amber, scarlet, chocolate) Gather some fallen leaves, and ask participants to name the shades of color in the leaf – e.g., burgundy, bronze, crimson.
  • Listen to Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “Autumn Leaves” or Johnny Mathis’ version of “Autumn in New York.”
  • Plan a fall foliage trip to the six New England states, even if it’s just a trip of the imagination. Decide: towns to visit, historical sites to see, and classic recipes to taste. If possible, take a local drive to see the changing colors of fall.
  • Ask participants to use words to describe the sound, smell, look, and texture of leaves on a windy day in the fall. (Example: sound of leaves – rustle, sway, crunch; smell of leaves – earthy, dusty, moldy; look of leaves – dancing, swirling, circling; texture of leaves – crisp, dry, brittle)
  • Display a colorful fall accent: small pots of vibrant mums. Learn the symbolism of the chrysanthemum, the flower for November birthdays.
  • Invite local photographers to display pictures of fall foliage. Hold up leaves from various trees (e.g., maple, oak, birch, elm, hickory, ash), and ask participants to guess the type of tree.
  • Fill a bowl with red, green, and yellow apples. Make some simple apple treats, like apple fritters, with your group.
  • Read the ingredients in some old-fashioned corn dishes – corn pudding, cornbread, corn fritters, corn chowder, corn mush, corn relish – and ask your group to guess the recipe.
  • Display some basic canning equipment and some jars of colorful canned fruits and vegetables. (Examples: tomato juice, pickled beets, homemade grape jelly) Reminisce about the fall home canning season. Ask the ladies if they used the old Ball Blue Book, a guide to canning and freezing.
  • For nature lovers: enjoy an afternoon of verse by New England poet Robert Frost. Suggestions: “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” “Gathering Leaves,” “After Apple Picking,” “The Cow in Apple Time,” “A Late Walk,” “The Road Not Taken,” “October,” “My November Guest.”
  • Plan a vintage fall fashion show – 1950s style. Get samples of fall fabrics from a fabric store to pass around. Many calico fabrics, found in a quilt shop, will have leaf designs in them. Reminisce about popular fall shades of color.
  • Explore how cranberries are grown. Create a mini-cranberry wreath with a colorful fall ribbon.
  • Learn the history of a fall treat: candy corn. Hold a candy corn toss (use a plastic pumpkin). Guess the number of corn kernels in a clear canning jar.


  1. Name some varieties of apples that begin with the letter ‘g’. Gala, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Grimes Golden, Granny Smith (Other answers are possible.)
  2. What shades of skin are found on most apples? Red, yellow, or green
  3. If an apple tastes sour, it is called what? Tart
  4. Finish the old saying: “An apple a day…” Keeps the doctor away
  5. Which state produces the most apples? Washington
  6. Which U.S. city is called “the Big Apple”? New York City
  7. Which fiber ingredient in apples helps to lower your cholesterol? Pectin
  8. Who sister singing group sang the World War II hit “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)”? Andrews Sisters
  9. John Chapman was a pioneer who introduced apple trees to parts of the Midwest. What was his nickname? Johnny Appleseed
  10. Describe someone who is considered a “rotten apple.” A bad influence

“FALL COLORS” written by Sue Hansen. © 2011 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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