With the great British weather proving that summer, is in fact, a distant memory and autumnal weather upon us, it’s time to start thinking about some rainy-day, seasonal activities that can be both fun and educational for your children. A big part of a child’s development comes from learning about the world around them, and a key aspect of that is understanding and respecting our natural environment. Whilst the weather might not be quite so favourable, there is an array of fun and engaging things to do that can help your children connect with nature and make the most of all that autumn has to offer. Below, we have listed some of our favourite weekend or after-school activities to give parents of pupils at our private school in Devon inspiration for the weekends ahead.
In October alone, the UK experiences approximately 13 days of rain – that’s nearly half of the month! Don’t let the wet weather put a dampener on your weekend and, instead, embrace all the fun things that come along with it, including puddles! Wrap up warm with waterproofs and wellingtons before heading out to a walk near your home that’s likely to have a few puddles. Let children be children as they jump and splash in the puddles until they are well and truly worn out and retreat home with the promise of a hot chocolate and a warm bubble bath.
Autumn is the perfect season for apple-picking, so brave the elements and head out with a few bags or baskets to gather as many as you can from a local orchard. Ask younger children to count them as they go in whilst those that are slightly older can assess the state of the apples, and only choose those which are suitable to eat. Once you have your collection, head home for some apple-based activities such as cooking an apple crumble, apple bobbing or make some toffee apples ahead of fireworks night.
Children love Halloween, and nothing builds excitement on a rainy weekend in October quite like carving their lanterns. Head to a local farm where children can pick their own pumpkin or bring some back the next time you go shopping so you are ready to go. Leave using the sharp utensils to an adult but ask the child to design and create their own lantern for you to display proudly on October 31st. Encourage them to be as creative as possible and check your local garden centres in case there are any decorating competitions that can be entered.
Autumn is typically peak conker season, and building a collection is almost a rite of passage that has withstood the test of time and remains popular with children together. Encourage them to head out with a bag to collect as many as they can, the bigger the better. There are various chants and songs you can learn to sing while you search or check out the rules of the game Conkers online and have the children play each other.
As the trees grow more and more bare, the floors are carpeted with an explosion of autumnal colours. Go to your local forest or wooded area and suggest that the children make a big pile of leaves, which they can then jump in and throw the leaves around. Once they’ve finished have them find as many different kinds of leaves as possible and help them to identify them. This visual reference for each of the types will help them to remember them in the future, and they’ll soon spend endless walks identifying trees and leaves. Finally, the leaves also make fantastic arts and crafts materials, so bring a bag of varying colours home and watch as your children create an autumn-inspired work of art.
Those with a garden can create a woodpile habitat out of logs in a shady part of the garden and keep an eye on the array of insects this will attract as time goes on. If you’re lucky, a toad or a hedgehog will make this their home over winter, and while you shouldn’t disturb them, you can watch from a distance and learn all about the animals in your garden. In the run-up to Halloween, head outside at dusk to go bat watching, and keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful creatures. Many public outdoor spaces will become less busy as the weather deteriorates, so make the most of the secluded areas and head out on a nature safari, jotting down anything you spot along the way.
Walks and Scavenger Hunts
Autumn is a great time to appreciate the great outdoors, and there’s no better way of doing so than taking regular walks, whatever the weather, to new and exciting places. Prepare a scavenger hunt for your children to make it more exciting for them, as they collect varying items as quickly as possible. You can make this hunt as easy or as hard as required, depending on the length and location of the walk and the ages of the children involved. Take a picnic to make a full day of it and encourage activities like den-building on the way round to break it up.
We hope you enjoyed our suggestions for autumn activities and you can take some of these ideas for several weekends to come. Do you have any favourite autumn activities? Share them with us and other parents via our social media channels. Read more about The Benefits of Outdoor Play and enjoy opting outside this autumn.