* Post in association with Jessica Foreman
It may seem difficult to keep the kids entertained as the days start to get colder, but Autumn brings a host of outdoor activities that the whole family will love. From giving nature a helping hand to crafts the kids can get stuck into, here are five fun ways to make the most of the season.
Give nature a hand by making a hedgehog house. It’s a known fact that these loveable creatures hibernate over winter, but did you know that they’ll be searching for a safe place to stay during autumn? Kids will love decorating these mini houses with stickers, pompoms and non-toxic paint. You can easily build these from old potted plants and wood, but you can also make them kid-friendly by using polystyrene. Find out how your family can make one here.
Turn a boring windy day into one filled with fun by buying and flying a kite. Make sure the kids wrap up warm for this one – flying a kite can take some practise before being mastered, and autumn is unpredictable at the best of times. Muddy Puddles’ range of waterproof jackets and coats will keep children cosy while they enjoy the great outdoors despite the wind. Just pick a mild but windy day to fly the kite and make sure the kids hold on tight, giving them guidance as needed.
Combine learning and playing by setting up a nature-themed scavenger hunt. Autumn is the ideal time to do this as it brings out new colours and plants. Instead of just asking the children to find leaves and pinecones, include their other senses to make it more interesting. From picking up something that crunches or snaps to finding different textures, this is a fun way to learn about seasonal changes. You can give out rewards for ticking off each object or sense, but make sure the kids work together rather than against each other to avoid squabbling. Again, remember to wrap up warm when exploring the outdoors!
All kids love to craft, and Autumn gives the opportunity to incorporate nature with art. Bring your kids to explore a local nature reserve or park to gather up leaves and conkers. They’ll love gathering shiny conkers and colourful leaves once they know they’ll be turned into works of art. Leaf rubbing is simple but makes colourful pictures that you’ll want to stick on the fridge. Simply find leaves with different textures, place the leaf veins facing towards you on the notebook and put a white sheet of paper on top. Finally, rub coloured crayons or coloured pencils on the paper so the pattern shows through. Try different colours and textures to create a masterpiece. Why not help them make conker caterpillars too? Find out how to here.
You may think of bugs as pesky pests, but solitary bees, butterflies and ladybugs are far from harmful. In fact, they play an important role in having a beautiful garden. Autumn is the perfect time to gather materials to build a bug hotel and it’s sure to bring the kids closer to nature. Not only are they fun to make, they’ll help children understand the importance of these tiny creatures, promoting care rather than fear. Keep the crawlies in the garden by reading RSPB’s guide on making a bug hotel.