Do you use the terms
“fall” and “autumn” interchangeably? If so, you are
just like most other people in America who agree that the two words are meant
to mean the same thing (the season that comes after summer and before winter).
But there is another school of thinking which says that autumn and fall are
two subtly different seasons. How many people agree with this depends on where
in the country you are living. In some places, the seasonal shift between the
two is too subtle to warrant a difference in the name. But in other places,
such as New England, there is an obvious difference between autumn and
fall and people will tell you that this means there are five seasons
instead of four.
you can explain this difference to your preschooler, you’re going
to have to make sure that you understand the difference yourself. Basically,
autumn is the beginning of this season. It is the weeks during which the
change happens after summer, when you can feel that crispness creep into
the air and you know that the summer is over. It is the time of year where,
in many places, the colors of the leaves are bright and eye-catching. And
autumn is associated with excitement about this change. In contrast, fall
is when the leaves have fallen off of the trees and are down on the ground.
The air is cold all of the time so that the crispness isn’t so much
refreshing as just standard. And instead of excitement about the season,
most people are anticipating the winter holidays. But knowing this isn’t
the same as being able to explain it to your youngster.
One of the
best ways to explain the difference between autumn and fall to your preschooler
is to use different crafts during each time to reiterate the important lessons
of that time. For example, since what’s most exciting about the autumn
weeks is the colorful leaves, you should enjoy lots of crafts that are related
to the leaves. Get outside with your preschooler and note the beauty of the
leaves and the changes that are taking place and how exciting it all is. Explain
that this feeling is related to autumn. Hiking and other activities which get
you outdoors are all a part of experiencing and enjoying autumn.
As the weeks go on, it will
get colder. Note the difference in the weather and explain that it’s fall.
One of the easiest ways for your preschooler to understand that it’s fall
is that you can point to the leaves now falling off of the trees. Your preschooler
is able to associate the fall of the leaves with the season fall. Point to this
difference to note the shift between the two time periods. You can also transition
to new crafts that don’t focus so much on the colorful leaves of fall.
Start planning for Halloween crafts and Thanksgiving crafts since these are
what you will mostly be doing during the fall. You will probably also spend
more time indoors which you can explain to your preschooler is something that
you do in fall and winter.
Of course, in most
places, people think of fall and autumn as the same season. If you think that
your child is too young to understand the subtle difference, you may not want
to harp on it. But if your child brings it up, asking about the difference since
you use both words, feel free to discuss it. Even if your preschooler
doesn’t quite understand the subtleties, looking for the differences is
a good exercise in observation.
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