I love this time of year, the leaves are crunching under your feet, the mornings are starting to turn a little crisp and the the nights are drawing in making the days feel very autumnal. This time of year brings so many opportunities for activities with your little ones and with half term approaching what better time than now to start planning your days! Here are a few activities that will keep you and your little ones occupied over the Autumn break.
Plan a nature trail
- Firstly plan a walk, this could be round a local park, nature reserve, farm or just round your local neighbourhood and can last for however long you want. Longer walks can be planned in with a snack stop in the middle!
- Next take an A4 piece of plain paper and write out anything you can spot along the way. This could be anything from animals to farm gates, bat boxes to railway lines, or from conkers to post boxes! A little drawing next to the item helps your small person to identify the object even if they are too young to read the words.
- Now set off with a pen and something to rest on and enjoy checking off everything on your list!
This can be varied by creating trails for different things such as writing out every letter of the alphabet and trying to spot an object for each letter or every colour of the rainbow!
Be imaginative and keep your little ones interested by helping them with clues when they get stuck and this can be an activity everyone will enjoy!
Set off on a leaf collecting mission!
Take a walk around your neighbourhood and collect up different leaves, they can be all different shapes and sizes but ideally they need to be whole. Once you get home there are lots of different activities to choose from, you could create a leaf animal by sticking your leaves on paper and adding heads, arms, legs, tails or wings!
You could even create a story with your different leaf characters on a few sheets of paper! Let your imagination run wild and give your leaf characters names, draw them houses and think what their favourite food, colour or activity might be! Maybe create a short bio for each character stating their name, age and most embarrassing moment!
Make your own tree
Take a large piece of plain paper and draw the trunk and branches of a tree. Now take your leaves and glue them on to the branches. You can use as many or as little leaves as you want as its your design, you could even add orange glitter to really make your tree design pop!
Make a leaf butterfly
Take a piece of plain paper and arrange your leaves in the shape of a butterfly.
Try to make your leaves symmetrical and fan them out into the shape of a butterfly’s wings. You can use stalks for antennae and once you have finished perfecting your
design glue your butterfly into place!
Conkers are in plentiful supply at this time of year and used to be for one thing and one thing only, this being conker championships but nowadays there are so many more things you can do with them. The good old fashioned game of conkers can still be fun and is easy to do by simply drilling a hole through the middle of a conker and threading some string through you can try and beat your opponent but seeing whose conker is made of stronger stuff!
Another way to use conkers is to decorate them and leave them around the house in jars or ramekins. You can use paint, glitter glue or stickers, go crazy and create some Halloween themed conkers painting them orange to look like little pumpkins or green for mini monsters!
Now this is one of our favourite activities to do as not only do you get to carve a pumpkin at the end of it you also spend time together as a family choosing the perfect pumpkin for your creations! We have local farm where we can go and pick but there are locations up and down the country where you are able to wander off into fields of pumpkins with a wheelbarrow and come back with your desired crop. Remember to keep in mind if you go for the biggest pumpkin you will need a design that will carry it off, the same applies for the smallest which means its best to choose a medium sized pumpkin unless you want to be carving for a very long time! Usually at these locations there are other activities going on during peak Pumpkin picking season, there might be a pop up cafe or a farm shop or a bird of prey display.
Its always good to support local businesses and although pumpkin picking usually works out more expensive than buying one from a supermarket it is much more of an activity that can take a good couple of hours up before you have even started work on your pumpkin carving!
Make pumpkin soup
This is one of my favourite things to do with the left over pumpkin after we have carved our Halloween lanterns. Its so simple and tastes delicious, a sure way to warm up after an Autumn walk. Here is the recipe I use and it always gets a great response!
For the croutons
For the croutons
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook the onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured.
- Add the pumpkin to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
- Pour the stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the pumpkin is very soft.
- Pour the double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can pour the soup through a fine sieve. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.
- To make the croutons: cut the bread into small squares. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp. Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.
Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil, if you want!
I hope you enjoy these half term activities and can make the most of spending time with your little one without braking the bank.
Half term fun on a budget=mum winning!
Thanks for reading