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Mother Nature: Autumn activities for toddlers inspired by nature

Laura Side Street Style

19 October 2017

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3 minutes
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Autumn is such a fantastic time of the year to get outside and enjoy all the changes from the golden afternoon light to the red and yellow hues of the falling leaves, conkers covering the ground and different kinds of fruit coming to harvest, the changes are apparent all around you, and this opens up lots of fun learning activities that are perfect for curious and inquisitive toddlers! Its also a time we shift towards things like making soups, baking crumbles and pies and celebrating Halloween and Bonfire night, so get your wellies on and outdoors to enjoy some fun and frugal activities. 

  1. Apples

    There is still time to head to an apple orchard and get picking. We have a wild orchard near our home and headed out recently to pick an array of types for which we will be making an Apple Pot Luck pie. Toddlers will have loads of fun collecting the lower hanging fruit and also having a cheeky bite along the way. Apples are great for making crumble or simply bake them and lather them with custard. Young children can also get involved by sprinkling the crumble over the apples or, if you're baking apples, make sure to core them out and toddlers can fill the holes with dried fruit and sprinkle some brown sugar on top. Another fun toddler-friendly craft to do with kids is cut the apples in half and stencil out some simple shapes such as a star and triangle and get let them go wild with some paint and papermaking simple apple prints.

    Toddlers can help to pick apples this autumn, ready to make into a fun recipe

  2. Conkers

    When you think of autumn, one thing that always pops to mind is conkers. Both of my kids love heading down to our local green space with a big bucket and collecting as many conkers as possible, the bigger and shinier the better. Conkers are of course are great for playing the traditional game, just make sure you supervise so your little ones play safely. Conkers are also great for introducing basic counting to young children and you can paint each conker a different colour to make it even more fun and interesting.

    Go conker collecting with your toddler this autumn

  3. Leaves

    Who knew leaves could be so much fun? When they start to fall that's when it all begins, the crunching and jumping, throwing them up in the air, such simple pleasures but keeps toddlers entertained for hours, well it does with my two-year-old! We always make sure to have a tote bag with us when we head to the park around this time of the year because leaves make a great base for fun art activities such as creating wild art in which all you need is some sticks, leaves and some glue to create fun hedgehog pictures (or anything your imagination can think off). Another great craft is to take a particularly big leaf and place it on an old muslin cloth, paint over the left making sure to create a silhouette on the muslin cloth, then take the leaf away and allow to dry before hanging up your new leaf flag which you can tie onto a stick.

    There are so many leaf crafts and activities you can do with toddlers this autumn

  4. Woods

    We always find that now more than ever is the best time to head into the woods. We are lucky to live near some fantastic sculpture trails and take full advantage of that. There are plenty of forest school groups across the UK that accommodate toddlers with sessions of simple activities such as making mud pies. Besides looking out for beasties and mushrooms (always explain to young children never to touch but just look) toddlers will also love building dens, you may see this as something older children do but it is equally suitable for 2yrs plus, just be on hand to help them. We also often take clay with us on our walks to make clay trolls and faces on trees decorated with leaves and acorns.

    These clay tree faces are a great outdoor activity for toddlers this autumn

  5. Pumpkins

    Pumpkins are just so iconic with autumn and we love to decorate our home with ones of different shapes and sizes. If you are very organised you may have grown your own this year or headed over to a pumpkin patch (see if your nearest is featured in our list of the top 10 pumpkin patches!), if not there is still time to find ones in shops and farmers markets. Even toddlers can get in on the action of designing a Jack-o-Lantern, just get them to draw a face on while the adult makes a hole in the top and let the kids dig out the flesh, this will usually keep them happy for a while before an adult carves out the face. Then use the flesh to either make some warming pumpkin soup or a delicious pumpkin pie. 

    Pumpkin activities for kids this autumn

  6. Birds

    This is the time of the year to make your garden or outdoor space as bird-friendly as possible to help support our native bird population which doesn't migrate. Food can become quite scarce as we head into the colder months, so this is the perfect time to encourage your little ones to have an interest in local wildlife and what they can do to help. We love making peanut pinecone bird seed holders and they are always a hit with the birds that frequent our garden. All you need is some pinecones, jute string, bird seeds and peanut butter. Spoon the peanut butter onto the pinecones, then roll the pinecones in the bird seeds and attach the string and hang up anywhere in your garden. A simple craft for little hands.

    Make these easy pine cone bird feeders with toddlers

These are just a few fun and frugal autumn ideas that are perfect for the younger members of your family, you can, of course, adapt them for older children as well and hopefully, these will encourage the whole family to get out there and get creative! 

What autumn activities do you have planned for your toddler? Let us know in a comment below!

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Laura Side Street Style

19 October 2017

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Laura runs a popular family lifestyle and travel blog Side Street Style where she showcases her passion for travel, style, ethical living and photography. Laura is one of our much loved Trusted Explorers, which means all content has been written exclusively for dayoutwiththekids.co.uk in exchange for a contribution to their family piggy bank. All posts are first hand, honest and based on real experiences.

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