This morning I have been busy planning half term activities to keep the children busy (and me sane!).
School holidays can be a costly time in our efforts to keep the children entertained,but activities don’t have to be expensive or limited to indoors.
Wrap up warm and embrace Autumn!
Go on an Autumn treasure hunt
Nurture your child’s inquisitive explorer and take a bucket or bag to collect Autumn treasures. Autumn leaves, conkers, acorns, pine cones, sticks, sycamore seeds, whatever they find that intrigues them. You may want to start this now as the season develops and trees change. These autumn treasures can be used for a range of craft activities (see below) or enjoyed and explored as they are. Fill a tray with your hoard and sort, scoop and create patterns. Add toy figures or vehicles and your small world play is taken to a whole new level.
Treasures collected and back in the warm there are many lovely things you can complete with your haul. Here are just a few ideas:
Paint patterns on sticks.
Pine cone weaving with pipe cleaners, literally just wrap away. Great for developing fine motor skills in little fingers.
Twig weaving. Tie some sticks together in a basic star shape and wind coloured wool between and around the sticks – these look lovely hanging up.
Dip pine cones in paint, print with them and then when you’ve finished printing add some glitter and you have ready made Christmas tree decorations. Double win!
Clay and twig hedgehogs, or you could use dough. Or just explore the different patterns and marks your collected treasures leave in dough or clay.
Leaf templates, put your favourite selection of leaves on paper and gently dab around the edges. Carefully peel away to reveal your patten. You can then use your paint covered leaves to take prints from or dry them out and use for good old fashioned leaf rubbing.
Get sticky making an autumn collage with your favourite leaves and seeds or cut out a vague hedgehog shape and stick on leaf prickles. Who doesn’t love an autumn hedgehog?!
Conkers can be really fun, line the bottom of a tray with paper, add a blob of paint and a conker and get rolling.
A great outdoor activity, I guarantee that you will find amazing outdoor places nearby that you never knew existed. You can find out more about geocaching on my guide to Geocaching with children here.
If you want to make things a little spookier for Halloween you could try a night cache. We have completed one of these and it was so much fun, you can read about it here but basically involves finding a geocache in the dark with the help of reflectors. If you don’t have any of these caches near you, finding any geocache at night with a torch could be equally as fun and spooky. If you are brave enough! 😉
Build a den
Build your own shelter from the chilly weather with large sticks or use
those sticks which your child found irresistible on their treasure hunt to build a smaller den at home for their toys.
Play with the weather
Embrace the elements, dress for the weather and head out for some fun.
If it’s raining, go puddle jumping. My daughter got an umbrella for her birthday and was begging for rain so she could go out with it. Such simple pleasures should never be underestimated. 🙂
If it’s windy, throw leaves in the wind, make simple streamers with shredded plastic bags tied to a stick, or my favourite; tie ribbons to a hair band, slip over your wrist and run wild and free. Go on, I dare you!
Climb a tree
With the nettles dying down, branches more exposed and less creepy crawlies about it’s the perfect time to get climbing.
Help nature prepare for winter
As natural food sources start dwindling you can help by feeding the birds by making bird seed cakes a good recipe can be found here, follow the example here or dip a pine cone into the mixture to make a natural looking feeder to hang in your garden.
Insects will be increasingly looking for shelter so help those poor stragglers out by making a bug hotel, this can be as small or large as you like. Find an old pot or recycled item and fill with sticks, pine cones, bamboo, stones – whatever you have to hand. Fill your space, leaving plenty of little nooks and crannies to keep those critters cosy. We’ve made little pots which are tucked beside the vegetable patch. Less bug hotel, more compact and bijou cabana. 😉
Check out your local nature reserve
Our local reserve is offering barefoot walks, autumn craft sessions and a Halloween spooky trail. The barefoot walk is free and the other activities are for a minimal fee, great value for a new and different experience.
Visit a local museum
If the weather is really miserable and you just can’t face being outdoors head to a museum.
I am terrible for underestimating these valuable, local resources.
Despite my educational background I am always blown away by what children are fascinated in when we do visit. Many museums are free or only charge a small entrance fee and increasingly are becoming more child friendly with interactive displays and collections for children to handle.
Wishing you all a wild and happy half term holiday