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Thursday, August 31, 2023

September Play Activity Ideas for Toddlers & Preschoolers + Free Play Calendar PDF

I'm putting together monthly play calendars to make it easy for you to create a month of fun for your kids at home or in the classroom, every month of the year. The September play calendar focuses on community helpers, farm, apple and pumpkin themed ideas for toddlers, preschoolers and school kids. The activities include a mix of art and craft, sensory, science and play ideas as well as books to read aloud during the month.

Each activity is explained in detail below, including how you can extend or adjust the activity based on your child's age. You can also download our free interactive September activity calendar pdf with links to instructions for every activity to save for future reference.

september play calendar


This play activity calendar includes activities that can easily be done using items from around your home {or classroom} and you can substitute items to make it suit what you have on hand. If you want to be fully prepared I've set up an Amazon supply list that includes all of the main items needed for every activity during September.

There are no activities listed for weekends as they can be used for free play/family time or to catch up on activities you may have missed during the week. Below you will find detailed explanations of each activity as well as how to modify them for children of different ages and some extension activities you can do if you're looking for additional ideas.

At the bottom of this post you'll also be able to download a copy of the interactive September play calendar PDF which includes direct clickable links to all of the activities featured in this months calendar.

Community Helpers Craft

Introduce children to the most recognisable community helpers - doctors & nurses, fire fighters and policemen, with this fun craft. Download the free printable template then children can colour and assemble their community helpers. Mix and match the template pieces and you can even use children's photos so they can become community helpers too.

community helpers craft for kids


Whose Hands Are These? {Read Aloud}

Whose hands are these is a fun, interactive guessing book about community helpers. The pictures and rhyming words on each page give children clues to guess which community helper the hands belong to. 

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story being read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon.

whose hands are these book cover


Hospital Dramatic Play

Turn your playroom, kids bedroom, or classroom into a real life hospital with these free hospital dramatic play printables. The set includes everything you need to create a hospital at home {or school} including waiting room signs, name labels, prescription forms, x-rays and labels for all the equipment. 

Use a doctors kit to stock the hospital and dress up in a doctor or nurse outfit and start treating patients. Other children or dolls can be used as the patients. This is a really great activity for developing social and language skills, especially when done in a group.

free printable hospital dramatic play resources

Extension Ideas:

Doll Bandaid Activity. If you're using dolls as the patients, you can also include this doll bandaid activity to add in even more learning. You can tailor the activity to be about shapes, colours, numbers, letters, or simply draw on boo boos onto the doll so the kids can make them better with bandaids.

More Community Helpers Dramatic Play. You can get other community helper dramatic play sets including a vet clinic, post office, airport, hairdresser, library, school, farmers market and more.

Community Helper Colouring Pages

Learn about how different community helpers help the community, practice letter tracing and build fine motor skills with these free printable community helper colouring sheets. The set includes police officers, teachers, veterinarians, mechanics, soldiers, reporters, cleaners, pilots, flight attendants, bank staff, judges, dentists, hairdressers, plumbers and more.

community helper colouring sheets


Community Helpers Small World

Role play how community helpers interact and help out with people in the community with this easy community helpers small world. To set up your own small world simply draw a map of the community on a flat piece of cardboard or a big roll of white craft paper. Add some cars and people to the town so the kids can be police officers, fire fighters or ambulance drivers etc and help solve crimes and save lives during play.

The Safari people at work toob, these wooden professional people blocks or these Li'l Folks community dolls would all be great figurines to use in your small world play to represent the people.

emergency vehicles small world play


Community Helper Sorting Mats

Learn more about what items each community helper uses to do their jobs with these free printable community helper sorting mats. The set comes with items for a police officer, fire fighter, mail carrier {postman} and baker, which children need to sort onto the correct mats. Sorting activities are a great way for children to build their cognitive and visual perception skills to recognise similarities and differences between groups of objects.

free printable community helper sorting mats

Muddy Pig Craft

Your kids or students can make their own muddy pig with this mess free muddy pig painting craft. Download and print the free pig template and then put the template inside a ziplock bag with some brown paint and shaving cream. Then the kids can have fun spreading the paint around inside of the bag to make the pig muddy, while their hands stay clean.

muddy pig painting craft


Farm Small World

Create your own mini farm with this fun farm small world. All you need is a container or tray, some farm animal figurines and some sensory bases. We made our farm using a cutlery tray to separate the enclosures, various CollectA animals and sensory rice, raw cous cous, shredded paper and chocolate powder as sensory bases. I generally don't use wet sensory bases with dry sensory bases, so that the dry bases can be reused again.

farm small world play


Old MacDonald Had a Farm {Read Aloud}

Old MacDonald had a farm is probably the most classic children's story about farm animals, which can also be sung out loud. It's a great way for children to learn about different farm animals and the sounds they make.

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story being read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

old MacDonald had a farm book cover

Wash the Dirty Farm Animals

Animals can get pretty dirty on the farm when they spend all day walking or rolling around in dirt and mud. Set up an animal washing station in the backyard with some animal figurines in dirt and some soapy water to wash them off. The kids can have fun getting the animals dirty in the dirt and then washing them clean in the water {over and over again}.

If you don't want to use real dirt for this activity you can use chocolate powder as dirt, or make chocolate oobleck as mud. You can set this up in containers, buckets, or in a water table like we did.

washing dirty farm animals sensory play


Farm Animal Shadow Matching Game

Match different farm animals with their shadows with this free printable farm animal shadow matching game. This is a great way to encourage language development by naming all the animals as children match them. If you laminate the shadow page and the animals you can also use this as a travel or busy bag game.

farm animal shadow matching printable

Extension Idea:

Animal Sounds. Each time an animal is matched, ask your child what sound they make and get them to act it out.


Apples, Apples, Apples {Read Aloud}

Learn everything about apples as Minna, Pip, Mom and Dad go apple picking. Farmer Miller teaches the family all about apples including how to pick them properly, the parts of an apple, how to grow apples and apple snacks and recipes.

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story being read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

apples, apples, apples book cover

Apple Stamping Craft

Cut up some apples and use them to paint and make this fun apple basket craft. Painting with apples is a fun way to paint without a paintbrush and the prints left behind look exactly like apples. Use a mix of red, green and yellow to create different types of apples.

If you're doing this with toddlers, don't worry about making the basket at the bottom, just let them have fun stamping with the apples.

apple print stamping


Apple Playdough

If you're not afraid to make your own playdough, use this apple pie scented playdough recipe to make your own playdough that smells like real apples. The kids can then use it to make playdough apples.

apple scented playdough

Alternative Idea:

Apple Playdough Tray. If you don't want to make your own playdough, simply use red and green playdoh and set up an apple making invitation to play with some pipe cleaners and leaves.


Dancing Apple Seeds Science Experiment

Did you know you can make apple seeds dance all on their own, with just a little bit of science? All you'll need is a glass, some lemonade and apple seeds. Follow the instructions here to make your seeds dance.

dancing apple seeds

Paper Plate Apple Core

Make your own apple core that won't go brown or rot with this simple apple core paper plate craft. You only need a paper plate, red or green paint and some brown and green paper.

apple core paper plate craft


Pumpkin Soup Sensory Bin

Create some pumpkin soup with this super simple sensory bin, all you need is some small pumpkins, water and a ladle. Jack Be Little, Baby Boo, Casperita, Hooligan and Wee Be Little pumpkins are all great varieties to use in this pumpkin sensory bin. If you don't have any real pumpkins you can use artificial pumpkins.

pumpkin soup sensory bin


From Seed to Pumpkin {Read Aloud}

Learn about how pumpkin seeds grow and transform into big, fat, orange pumpkins. This picture book is a great way for children to visualise and understand the life cycle of a pumpkin.

Read the story aloud in a group, read the book to your child, have your child read the book to you, or watch the story being read aloud here on YouTube. You can borrow the book from a friend or the library, or get your own copy from Amazon or Amazon AU.

from seed to pumpkin book cover

Extension Idea:

Pumpkin Life Cycle Game. After learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin in the book, print out these free pumpkin life cycle cards and follow the instructions to play different life cycle sequencing games.

Fizzing Pumpkins Science Experiment

Combine a recipe, chemical reaction and sensory play all in one, with a spooky Halloween twist, to make these fizzing pumpkins. You'll need some baking soda, vinegar, some pipettes and a silicone pumpkin mould. This science experiment is a great way to explore chemical reactions and build fine motor skills at the same time.

If your kids want to do even more pumpkin experiments check out our list of pumpkin science experiments and stem activities including exploding pumpkins and pumpkin slime.

fizzing pumpkins experiment


Paper Plate Pumpkin

Make a pumpkin from paper plates with this simple paper plate pumpkin craft. Paint or colour the paper plate orange with paint, paint sticks, crayons or markers. Keep the pumpkin plain, or download the free jack-o-lantern face templates to turn it into a jack-o-lantern.

paper plate pumpkin


Pumpkin Playdough Mat

Have fun decorating a pumpkin with my free pumpkin playdough mat, get it in my free printable Halloween playdough mats. Kids can give it any kind of face, or just decorate it with different playdough colours.

free printable pumpkin playdough mat

Extension Idea:

Halloween Playdough Mats. If your kids love the free pumpkin mat, I have a whole set of 10 different Halloween playdough mats in my Etsy store.


Click the download template button below to download the interactive PDF file. Each image on the PDF calendar can be clicked to go directly to the instructions for the individual activity.

Please note that this activity calendar PDF is for personal or classroom use only and may not be shared, electronically uploaded or sold on any platform. If you would like to share or feature the calendar in a blog post please link back to this post directly.

finding myself young september play ideas calendar

download template here

september play ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

Disclosure - This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, which means I may make a small commission at no cost to you, should you make a purchase.

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