How to get the most out of autumn
Autumn is a wonderful time of year to really use nature to promote the development of children. Whilst this may seem like an odd statement to make as the wet and dreary weather kicks in, the days grow shorter and everything seems some what muddier and duller, it doesn’t take away from the wealth of learning that appears at this time of the year.
All of the above along with the most obvious, leaves changing and falling off trees, are all very noticable changes. This may be the first spark of interest in children discovering more about the world around them. Leaves in their own right have so many incredible benefits from mathematics, sensory benefits, understanding the world and even literacy.
Instead of practitioners hiding inside from the cold and windy weather, they should be outdoors more than ever talking about the changes, the colours, and following the children’s lead. The outside during autumn seems to hold a new level of intrigue for children as they kick leaves, notice new natural objects such as pine cones and acorns, and become more in tun with wildlife. They may notice cobwebs more, spot squirrels and discover feathers on the floor.This makes teaching and learning incredibly easy around this time of year as there is so much to discuss and do. If the children are showing a keen interest the benefits will be even greater.
There is a fantastic autumn display pack here and also an activity pack here to help you support children’s learning around this time of year.
The activity pack is particularly useful as it contains a variety of indoor and outdoors activities. The activities in the pack include an autumn scavenger hunt, leaf scavenger hunt, colour finding, an autumn tree to decorate, a hedgehog who needs his spikes back and an I spy page. Lots that can be expanded on and lots that can be brought out as and when they children display an interest.
Top 10 autumn activities
- Leaf Sorting – do this according to colour, size or shape
- Hedgehog hotels – Build nests or hotels for hedgehogs with anything you can find outside
- Scavenger hunts – take lots of walks to local parks, fields or forest areas. Take a list of things to look out for, making journey sticks or bands where children can stick any items of interest that they may find
- Colour exploration – Mix colours, talk about colours, make pictures with autumn colours. Colours are everywhere in early autumn so make the most of this
- Sensory trays – Bring autumn leaves, pine cones, sticks and twigs indoors and make lovely sensory trays using the natural resources
- Woodland animals – This may include talking about hibernation and nocturnal animals
- Bird Feeders – Create bird feeders with the children to give the birds an extra hand over the cold winter months
- Leaf Sticking – There are many wonderful things that can be created by sticking leaves including hedgehog pictures, leaf men, wreaths etc
- Counting – count the leaves, conkers, pine cones. Play counting games such as can you find me 2 red leaves etc
- Conker painting – The same as marble painting but is a great way to start conversations about nature
What other ideas can you suggest?