“Mum, when I get home from school I’m going to make a huge pile of leaves to jump in!”
My six year old was very excited by the first signs of autumn. I love that he would rather play outside than rush home to try out the latest video game or TV show. There is just so much to see as the seasons change around us. Even the smallest garden can be full of autumn fun. Here are some ideas to keep the kids busy outdoors this autumn.
1. Tidy up time!
Autumn is a great time to tidy up the garden. Surprisingly, children actually rather enjoy tidying. They are very good at sorting and organising. Stacking plant pots by size can be a challenging puzzle, sweeping up leaves requires both physical strength and coordination. My kids love gathering all the autumn leaves to stomp in before piling them into the compost. Why not collect your favourite leaves to make an autumn picture? How many different colours can you find?
2. Garden soup?
If you are lucky enough to have a veggie garden, why not get the kids to help collect the autumn harvest. Helping to pick the fruit and veggies really encourages children to take an interest in how their food grows and where it comes from. Seeing those wonky-shaped garden carrots on their plates at tea time might actually get them to eat their veggies with a smile too. If you don’t already have a vegetable patch, why not get one ready for next year by preparing a piece of ground or some pots with soil? Have a look around your home for anything you could recycle as garden planters such as outgrown welly boots or old pots and pans.
3. Get planting.
Autumn is the perfect time to plan ahead for spring! Why not plant some spring bulbs? Have a look at the bulb before you put it in the soil. Can you see the roots? Which way up will it grow? Can you guess what colours the flowers will be? Try planting in the shape of your initials or make a smiley face for a pretty spring time surprise.
4. Wildlife watch.
Even the smallest garden will be alive with nature. From slugs and snails, to birds and foxes or squirrels, it’s amazing what’s right outside our doors. Winter can be a hard time for animals with a shortage of food and extreme weather conditions. Why not encourage the wildlife in your garden by making a bug house? Gather together sticks and stones or old pieces of garden canes and get creative in a muddy corner. Your house doesn’t have to look like a mansion, as long as there are plenty tiny caves to hide in. Check back in a few days to see if anyone has moved in!
5. Feed the birds.
Encourage birds into your garden by making your own bird feeders. Create your own simple bird feeder by spreading an old toilet roll tube with peanut butter, then roll it in bird seed. Post a string town the middle and hang from a fence or tree. How many different birds can you spot?
Autumn is just amazing. Just because the leaves are falling and the weather is changing it doesn’t mean we should be hiding indoors. The garden is full of awesome things to discover and there is always plenty to do, whatever the weather. Dress up warm and waterproof and see what you can create in your garden today.
By Susan Lee For Rain-shine – providers of quality waterproof clothing to allow children the freedom to play outside come Rain or Shine.