As summer turns to autumn, it’s important to grab the last days of sunshine as children learn so much when they’re outside. Here are a few ideas for keeping them active and learning in the great outdoors!

Creativity focus

  • Take an old Tupperware box outside and help your child to create a mythical little home – it could be for an elf/fairy/baby dragon or anything else. Ask lots of questions encouraging them to think about shelter, water, type of home and attractiveness. For instance just think what you could do with the spiky outside of the conker, once the conker has been taken out. When you’re out give them a magnifying glass as it will increase the excitement!
  • Go for a nature walk – what can you see? Children need to know the local wildlife, so have a competition to see who can tally the greatest variety of plants/insects/birds. If you don’t know the name of a tree or plan then look it up when you get home. It is great for your child to see you as a learner as well.

Outside Games

  • Using chalk draw different letters or words onto the tarmac/concrete. Then shout out different sounds or words and your child needs to jump on the letter or word as quickly as they can. Children could also use little pebbles to cover the letters so that the chalk cannot be seen – just the letter shapes will remain in stones.
  • Pine cone bowling: Choose a certain number of pine cones, take it in turns to roll a ball and knock them over. After each time work out the calculation, for example, “There were 6 standing up to start with, then I knocked over 2 and that means 4 are left standing.”
  • If you have some old paint colour charts find one with different hues of green, or orange for the autumn, then go out and search for items outside which will match that hue.

Collecting things to bring back inside

  • On a crisp autumn afternoon gather up all the beautiful leaves and bring them back to do an old-fashioned leaf rubbing. It’s a great chance to discuss all the different colours and shapes that are around us, try to use all the language too so that soon your child will be discussing stalks and veins. For the knowledgeable parents you could also discuss and identity the trees that they have fallen from!
  • Collect as many different items as you can on your walk, so that when you get home you can order them from shortest to longest. Your child may need help ensuring that they are all lined up along the bottom.
  • It’s conker season! Collect and number your conkers and then put them back into the right order. Alternately order them from smallest to largest – or if you are feeling adventurous weigh them and then order from lightest to heaviest. Conkers could also be laid out in letter shapes so have a go at writing something and then go and look down on it from an upstairs window!
  • Collect a range of 10 autumnal things with your child, then take them home. Take one item at a time, not letting your child see it, put it in a bag and let them feel and guess what it is. Encourage their use of descriptive language: smooth/rough, hard/soft, long/short.