Everyone’s sad that summer is over and I’m just here waiting to light candles in the evening, put on big cosy jumpers and start my Christmas shopping!
The only thing is that, once Autumn arrives, it gets harder to bank on the weather for taking the kids out. Even if it’s a dry day, I’ve been known to take a roll of kitchen towel to the park because inevitably the slide/swings/everything my kids want to play on is wet from overnight.
So I’ve compiled a quick and easy list of things you can do with the kids in Autumn which are FREE! Presuming you have a few simple bits in your cupboard, and even if you don’t, it’ll cost you a few pounds tops.
Go for a walk in the rain!
Often we use the weather as an excuse NOT to go outside but what if we use it as an excuse TO go outside? I’ve done this before when I just NEED to get out of the house (you know – those kind of days!). We put on our coats and our wellies and go out in the rain to find the biggest puddles we can find! Obviously if it’s completely torrential with strong winds then you might want to take a rain check (see what I did there?!) until it is slightly less hazardous. But otherwise, I totally recommend it. And the best part is coming home and getting fresh clothes on (if you’re super prepared you can leave them on a warm radiator whilst you go out) and snuggling up in the dry.
This was one of my eldest’s favourite activities in Autumn. I would draw very terrible pictures of things to find (and write the word too – bit of education in there matching words to pictures!) that we were likely to see around our neighbourhood. Then he would take a pen and his list and we would go find them! Sometimes I could combine this with other activities like blackberry picking or collecting leaves to make a picture with, but he was just as happy finding sticks, spotting a post box and looking out for a cat. The best thing about this is that you can use the weather to look for interesting things – when it was dewy, I would put a spider web on the list – and the boys were always fascinated by them! If it had rained overnight, we would look for a puddle. There are a few easy ideas below:
- Post box
- Orange/red/yellow/brown/green leaf
- Flower (can choose a specific colour)
- Spider web
Leaves Leaves Leaves!
Leaves falling from the trees is the classic sign of Autumn, especially for little ones, and they LOVE playing in them! As long as you’re sure there’s no hedgehogs etc nesting in the leaves then pop your wellies on and run around in them. Jump in them. Pick them up and throw them in the air. Collect them and bring them home to make a picture. Leaves of all different colours are the epitome of Autumn so embrace them every way you can!
Autumn Play dough
Whilst we’re on the subject of collecting leaves and other things as part of a scavenger hunt, it brings me to another activity – Autumn play dough. I made a post about this a while back and it explains how to use things you’ve collected to explore the play dough. In my post, I made vanilla scented dough and we used conkers, acorns, leaves and petals to enhance it. I have an easy, no cook play dough recipe here (and don’t worry if you don’t have cream of tartar – it will still work, it just wont store and last as long).
Ok, so unless you’re growing your own pumpkins then this one isn’t strictly free but it’s pretty cheap! All you need is a pumpkin and a carving kit – they have these in supermarkets now around Halloween for a pound or two. Now you can go free-hand if you like but the best idea is to print a silhouette from the computer (or draw a simple one on the pumpkin). Simple cats, initials, faces, are the easiest things to do. It can be quite tricky at first but it’s great fine motor practise for younger ones, you get loads of seeds to use for crafts once they’ve dried out and you can use the inside of the pumpkin to make pumpkin soup! Bonus!
One of my favourite activities around Halloween time is making potions! It’s not as difficult as it sounds – you just need bicarbonate of soda and vinegar at a very basic level. Of course, to make it super exciting and potion-like, you can add food colouring, glitter, sequins, little plastic toys – whatever you have to hand and whatever you want to use. You simply put heaps of bicarbonate of soda on a plate/in a bowl/toy cauldron (I got the one in the picture for £1 from a local supermarket). Then colour the vinegar and simply spoon it/pipette it/spray it onto the bicarbonate of soda. The two combine and create a fizzing reaction. Little ones LOVE it because, to them, it really is a bit magic!
Make a Fire!
Autumn is great because not only does it have Halloween but it also gives us Bonfire Night (in the UK). This lends itself to lots of fun activities linked to fireworks and fires/fire safety. There are loads of great pictures you can make using paint and recycled materials to recreate fireworks and bonfires. But nothing compares to letting your children help make a real fire! Safety first of course – establish the rules in advance. Make sure they are wearing fire retardant clothes and have a big bucket of water close to hand. It doesn’t need to be a huge fire – you can see in our picture that we did it in an old concrete plant pot. We went for a walk and collected sticks and then got back and lit a fire. I lit it and then we toasted marshmallows from a safe distance. The eldest loved it and the youngest couldn’t give a monkeys and went inside to play with his trains!
There are so many other fantastic activities to do in Autumn but these are my favourites. Basically, just embrace the season – it is so unique and has so much to offer – and don’t let a bit of rain put you off 😉
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