Getting your kids off the sofa and away from their technology can seem an impossible task, especially now as the days are getting shorter and the weather a little less sunny. But there are actually plenty of great outdoor autumn activities that your kids will love.
Bringing your kids into the garden is a great way to teach them about the outdoors and nature.
It can also be an effective way to get them some fresh air and exercise, and stop them from spending too much time on games consoles.
A lot of outdoor activities are often very creative and lots can even be educational, which means they’re all great stimulation for young minds.
With half term around the corner, you might be racking your brains trying to come up with ways to get your kids outdoors over the holiday, so to help out, I’ve thought of a few great outdoor activities that are great fun for all the family:
With summer over, the next big excitement for kids is often Halloween, with the lure of sweets and fancy dress parties on the horizon. There are loads of ideas for DIY Halloween decorations that kids will love to help make. Here’s a couple of my favourites;
Plant Pot Spider
A great way to re-use some old plant pots and create fun Halloween decorations.
You can either use cheap black plastic pots, or wash out some of your old terracotta pots and paint them black first.
When you’ve finished them you can hang them up around your house, or in your garden to spook trick or treaters on Halloween.
Watch the video to find out how to make them!
A classic autumn activity, and best done outdoors to save mess. There are loads of variations you can try. What about drilling a pattern of holes in your pumpkin, or simply cutting the top off and using the hollowed out bottom as a drinks cooler?
If you have younger kids, just use permanent markers and paint on the pumpkins and save little fingers from accidents. If you don’t carve into your pumpkin, you can also still use it to make tasty soup later on! Don’t forget to throw your pumpkin scraps onto your compost heap.
A great lure for getting kids into the garden is talking about wildlife or animals that might be out there. Kids are often fascinated by the insects and creepy crawlies they can find. Here are some great wildlife based activities to try with your kids;
Find some old plastic piping and staple some greaseproof paper to a piece of A4. Mix a little water-based paint and vegetable oil together (green or brown work best), paint your paper and carefully slide it into the pipe.
Put a blob of peanut butter inside using a stick and then put it in the garden in some long grass or near a hedge.
In the morning, see if any little animals have been in there by checking for paw prints.
Homes for Hedgehogs
At this time of year, hedgehogs are shopping around for their winter homes, and your garden could be the exact location they’re after.
With hedgehog populations on the decline, making them a hibernation den is a lovely way to teach kids how to respect and look after our British wildlife.
Watch the video to find out how to make your own, or read the full guide to hedgehogs here.
Feeding the Birds
As we get nearer to winter, the birds that call your garden home might start struggling to find the food they need.
Help them out by making some homemade bird fat balls with your kids and hanging them around your garden (click the image for a step by step guide).
Once you’ve hung them up, you can get the kids to try and spot and identify different species of birds that visit your garden.
Kids have the most amazing imaginations, in their little world a stick can be a sword and a rock can be a throne. Send them on a scavenger hunt to find the prettiest rocks, twigs, leaves, conkers and feathers and then use them in these great crafty activities;
Sometimes all the motivation kids need is the attraction of something sweet. Here are some great treat-based activities your kids will go mad for;
Go foraging for fruit growing wild such as blackberries or apples – a great idea if you want to get your kids out and about but have limited garden space.
You can then go ahead and get creative in the kitchen with them – I’ve found toffee apples go down particularly well!
For some really easy recipe ideas that will use up all the autumn berries you collect, click here.
Bring trick or treating into the garden by hiding Halloween themed sweets around the garden, and sending the kids on a spooky treasure hunt.
For extra scare factor, you could even hold your hunt in the dark, and give the kids torches to help them find the treasure.
Other games like murder mystery and capture the flag are also great in the dark, if you’re hosting a kids Halloween party.
If you have an apple tree in your garden, get your kids to help you harvest some apples, and then play a game of apple bobbing.
Fill a large bucket with water and fill the surface with apples. The winner is the person to pick up an apple with their mouth in the least amount of time.
Don’t forget, older kids can always help with some of your regular gardening jobs such as raking leaves or planting bulbs.
To make it seem less of a chore – explain the reasons behind doing these important jobs and their significance to your garden’s life cycle.
Planting spring-flowering bulbs can be a great one to do with the kids, as they will wait with great anticipation to see their handiwork finally blossom in spring.
Don’t forget to send me pictures of anything you make with the kids this autumn, I’d love to see their creations! You can post them to me on social media using the links below: