Even if the sun isn’t out (which, let’s face it, is pretty likely) there are plenty of ways to make the most of the great outdoors with your child. Try our favourites – none of which require you to be Bear Grylls. And let us know your ideas in the comments board below!
1. Go insect spotting
Go to your local woods or park to look in tree trunks, under stones and between leaves to see what creepy crawlies you can spot. Or, if you’re in the garden, create a square with markers (old jumpers, string…) and explore the bugs in that area with your toddler. Then he can compare different parts.
2. Make a daisy chain
You remember the drill (not to mention how long you’d sit there making these as a kid!). Use your nail to create a slit in the stem and thread another flower’s stem through it to start your chain, adding more to lengthen it.
3. Roll down a hill
As simple as it sounds, although perhaps don’t go for a crazy incline if your child’s still small. Guaranteed to get everyone laughing.
4. Skim stones
Head to a lake or river and pick up some flat, round stones to send flying over the water. The trick? It’s all in the wrist – a flick, and keeping your throw horizontal so the stone doesn’t go downwards.
5. Get crafty
Whether it’s making animals on paper out of fallen leaves or even a pinecone mobile, there are plenty of autumn craft options that are easy enough for kids. Get inspired with our picks.
6. Find conkers
Guaranteed to make you so nostalgic for the playground. You can find these in autumn under horse chestnut trees, either collecting them (little ones will like their shiny, smooth texture) or playing the conkers game. You attach one to a string and then try to break your opponent’s by knocking your conkers against each other.
7. Play Poohsticks
You need a river or stream with a bridge for this game, played by Winnie the Pooh with his friends. Drop your sticks into the water and see whose emerges from under the bridge first.
8. Make a home
For hibernating hedgehogs in winter. Put an empty, thick cardboard box upside down against a fence, wall or under a hedge, cutting space for an entrance and two side air vents. Then cover with leaves, sticks, stones and earth.
9. Visit a farm
Loads of farms open up to the public, so Google to find your nearest and to see what child-friendly facilities it offers. Toddlers will love seeing/feeding/petting the animals.
10. Check out the stars
One for when the clocks go back in October and it’s darker earlier. You don’t have to be star gazing pro either – just lie on the grass where you can see some and point them out with your child. Near Surrey? Try Headley Heath – the National Trust rates it as one of the best star-spotting venues.
11. Have a sleepover
Make the most of the last few weeks of warmth – set up your tent in the garden and sleep there with your child for a night. Hang some battery-powered fairy lights around the tent to make it even more magical and bring his favourite bedding and toys.
12. Go water jumping
So, either you splash around in puddles (always fun) or – if you’re near the coast – stand on the beach and jump over the wave edges as they wash up the sand.
13. Collect fruit
Visit pickyourownfarms.org.uk to find a fruit-picking farm in your area. What you can gather depends on what’s in season (it’s raspberries now), but this is a great way to get your toddler excited about fruit and veg.
14. Create a treasure hunt
Older children can follow clues hidden around the garden or an area of the park, while you can guide little ones to treats behind logs or under leaves.
15. Find more ideas…
At The Wild Network’s Project Wild Thing website – and share your suggestions for other parents to try.
No matter how much we keep trying to drag out our summer wardrobe, grey skies and drizzle prove that autumn is well and truly here. Welcome back, boots!
But the rainy weather definitely doesn’t have to put a stop to getting outdoors with your baby or toddler. That fresh air hit is still important (research shows it can help encourage sleep) and jumping in puddles and catching raindrops is brilliant fun when you’re two.
So, dig out that waterproof mascara – and kit your baby out for rainy days.
From crunchy leaves in every shape, size and colour to pine cones and conkers, your garden and local park is bursting with art and craft potential during the autumn months. So take a woodland walk with your child and fill a bag with everything he’ll need for a few hours of seasonal crafting – at little to no cost. Winner. Take a look at the Pinterest board here.
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