We hate to use the “A” word, but it’s probably time to admit that autumn is fast approaching. And as the nights draw in and the rain pours down, the thought of spending long days outside can be less than appealing.
But if you want to stimulate your kids, help them burn off some of that energy and stop them totally messing up the house, then you should consider scheduling some lovely outdoor activities – even if it’s raining.
One of our favourite blogs is written by Fiona at Coombe Mill. Fiona helps run a family farm holidays business and runs a really popular weekly linky called Country Kids, where she encourages parent bloggers to link up to posts they’ve written about getting outdoors with their kids.
“As a busy mummy to 6, I love to get the children outdoors whatever the weather,” says Fiona. “We are lucky to have 30 acres of land on our holiday farm which is a perfect adventure playground for them all. I notice that being outdoors makes the children calmer, happier and healthier – and that makes my life as a working mum much easier all year round!”
If you are too, then read on for some ideas for getting outside with the kids this autumn…
Go blackberry picking
August and September are prime blackberry picking months in the UK. As the season kicks into gear, you’ll notice plump blackberries ripe for the picking.
Taking the kids on a blackberry picking trip is a great way to teach them about where food comes from (not always the supermarket shelf!) and create a sense of adventure and excitement as they search for the juiciest blackberries stuffed into the hedgerow.
Blackberries are a brilliant source of antioxidants and vitamins – and just one handful counts towards your five a day. If you manage to get home without eating your haul, you can make all sorts of yummy treats out of them, including crumbles, jams, trifles, muffins and salads.
When looking for the perfect blackberry picking spot, simply keep your eye out for your nearest brambles (the ones away from the road and exhaust fumes will be the best). Canal paths, parks, country lanes, fields, woodland – and even some scrub areas – could turn up trumps.
Jump in puddles
On a rainy day it’s ever so tempting to stay indoors, but getting out and about – even if it’s just for half an hour or so – helps children get rid of some of that never-ending energy and frustration.
You can’t really beat jumping in puddles for a bit of free fun. It’s great exercise and is bound to cause lots of laughter. Just don’t forget your wellies if you don’t want little wet toes!
Make mud pies
Remember being a child and cooking up “tasty” concoctions in the garden? The joy of creating so much mess your mum would gasp as you turned up at the back door, covered in mud? Yep, we loved those days too. So why not recreate them with a bit of mud pie making with your own kids?
All you need is an old kitchen bowl and spoon – and lots of mud of course. The great thing about this activity is that it can be done anywhere. If you really can’t face getting everyone out of the front door and away from the house, this is a game children can happily play in the garden.
We love this post at Nurture Store, with the cutest photos of little ones getting stuck into their own mud pie making.
Hunt for bugs
With the inevitable rain we can expect some inevitable slugs and snails. So grab an empty tupperware container, fill it with some leaves and grass, and get hunting.
This is a good opportunity to teach children about the animals around them and what bugs they’re likely to see on our native shores (but be prepared to dash their dreams of ever finding a tarantula in the garden!).
Forage for treasure
Treasure doesn’t have to be money. It could be beautiful bracken or that elusive perfect twig. It could be red leaves or pebbles that glint in the light. In short, if it’s outside and it’s a little piece of nature, then it counts as treasure.
Take a little box to collect your bounty and then bring it all home and create some wonderful art out of it. We absolutely adore the idea over at Red Ted Art for chestnut crafts, including gorgeous pencil toppers – genius!
If you’d like some more inspiration, why not check out our fabulous deal for a subscription to Nat Geo Kids? This magazine is crammed full of ideas to enthuse your kids about the great outdoors, including weird and wonderful animal facts, posters, games, pictures and awesome photography. All the mini David Attenborough’s out there will love it!