It is officially Autumn now. In all honesty it’s felt like Autumn for a couple of weeks now as the weather has certainly turned. I am definitely more of a sun lover, however every Autumn since becoming a parent I have found more and more fun things to do and explore. Here’s some of the adventures we get up to and resources we use to help us…
This is the symbol of autumn for me. When the conkers are ready then autumn has started. J and I go conker picking every year at the tree near our house. We hunt around for ones that have fallen from the tree…the holy grail being if you find a sealed shell as the conkers are still extra shiny. However, we end up with bags and bags of them so I find fun activities for us to do with them.
We spent time exploring them with the magnifying glasses and look at the different size and shapes they are. We count them and race them through kitchen roll tubes. This year we decided to find YouTube videos to learn about the life cycle of conkers. J was surprised that they start as flowers.
Autumn Treasure Hunt
The good thing about Autumn is that lots of things are falling from trees, leaves change colour and there’s natural items you don’t usually get to explore. Last year I downloaded the Autumn Checklist from Twinkl. It’s a ready made tick list of things to find in the natural world. We took it to the local woodlands and had fun looking for everything. My advice is to take a clipboard or folder to lean on.
I intend to do this again this year but will also get J to take photos of what he found so we can make a scrap book, with the aim of using the Twinkl Autumn word cards resource for J to copy the names of items underneath.
Every year for the past 3 years we have been to the local pumpkin patch to choose our family pumpkin. We visit Undley Pumpkin Patch in Suffolk but if you google local farms you can often find pumpkin patch or events in your area. The pumpkins are more expensive than supermarket ones but its a great morning out together with the bonus of it being educational. We get to see how the pumpkins grow and where they come from. We see different shapes, sizes and colours. At Undley there’s also the fun of the haystacks, Maize Maze and inflatables so it’s more of an experience.
Once we have our pumpkin I encourage J to help decorate it. J doesn’t like mess so we paint the pumpkin (with long brushes so he doesn’t touch the paint), or stick stickers to it. Mummy and Daddy will do any messy bits and add the light inside. Then it’s displayed proudly on the window sill for Halloween.
Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds from inside. These can be used for all sorts of activities. We dry ours out then use to make pumpkin pictures (glue or cellotape them onto pumpkin shape paper) or get creative and let your child think what the picture could be…spiky hedgehogs, cool hair for a face plate? If you’re feeling inventive you can google recipes for eating the pumpkin seeds.
There’s a lot of changes that happen in Autumn. A change in animals habits and the preparation for hibernation, the hedgehogs snuffle around the fallen leaves and thankfully, wasps go away and it’s safe to eat in the garden again. We can’t always see this first hand so I use Twinkl’s powerpoint presentations (yes I could make my own, but who has the time?) to talk to J about what’s happening around us and then we’ll find youtube videos to watch too.
Torch Lit Walks
The nights are getting darker earlier and this makes evenings feel soooo much longer. I’m going to put this to good use by taking J out with our torches and go for a night time walk about. If we’re lucky we’ll see hedgehogs, stars and can explore shadows. If the weather isn’t on our side then you can always look into Torch Light Tales who make amazing stories that come to life on your wall with just a torchlight (you can just use the torch on your phone). We haven’t brought one yet but it’s on my ‘to buy list’.
Another benefit of the dark is getting to watch lots of fireworks. The loud and bright fireworks, crowds of people and general change in routine can make fireworks night challenging for many children. Last year was our first successful trip to a fireworks display as I planned and planned based on what would work for him and his needs (being autistic and a toddler). It was amazing…and he’s even open to going again this year!
To get us into the fireworks mood we’ll be watching youtube videos of different displays and planning what colours we hope to see. Then we’ll try and make our own fireworks. We’ll build fireworks rockets from old tubes and have fun launching them up by throwing them around the garden (or living room). We usd the Twinkl space rocket instructions as our guidelines…with a little tweaking depending on what I had in our craft box. The benefit of using instructions and pictures is that is helps with early literacy (purpose of words) and give ideas and suggestions to build on. You don’t have to copy it exactly as the pictures but if your child isn’t quite at the stage where they can creatively come up with own ideas then its a starting point.
We have a huge library of books at home. We read a lot at home, and often take them out and about for adventures with us. Books are a great source of inspiration and adventure for children. This autumn there’s lots of ways to encourage even reluctant readers to enjoy stories:
- Create story boxes with props to reenact the story and get hands on with.
- Make sensory bin/sensory tray activities based on autumn books (fact or fiction) where you can explore using your senses.
- Set up a tent in the garden or make a den in the living room and read books in the dark with a torch and some munchy food.
- Take the book out with you on adventures eg: we took The Gruffalo with us when we went to the woods and tried to find all the hide outs.
The activities I’ve suggested are by no means exhaustive. We have also planned apple picking, explore Harvest Festival (we’re going to attempt to make our own bread), dancing in the rain, making bird feeders and snuggling up under the blankets watching movies and escaping the cold…oh maybe we’ll do movie for juniors at the cinema too. See, Autumn isn’t that bad is it?
Disclaimer: I am a Twinkl blogger. This means I get my subscription in return for posts about what we get up to. Views and opinions are my own at all times.
Edit: I am no longer a Twinkl blogger however my opinions and reviews of their items were honest. I’m still a big fan so will continue to use the ideas and sheets that we loved from our time with them.