What to do in the Garden with the Kids this Autumn
Autumn is a great time to sit back and observe nature at its wildest. The colours are fading, flowers are turning into seed pods, and animals are preparing themselves for winter. This time of change is an excellent time for children to learn about the world around them, with outside activities in the garden being more abundant than you might think.
Try one of the activities below to keep the children entertained this autumn, and spark a life-long love of nature and the outdoors.
Make a minibeast hotel
Lots of animals will be starting hibernate at this time of year, from mammals like hedgehogs, to insects. Clearing up the garden will mean lots of leaves, sticks and other ‘rubbish’, which will make a perfect habitat for an overwintering beastie.
All that’s required is a semi-structured pile of leftover garden waste, such as bricks, bamboo canes, pallets or offcuts of wood, old plant pots. These should be arranged in a way that allows lots of different size holes, nooks and crannies for all different sizes of insects.
Why not start off the bottom of the pile with a Hedgehog House, so as to provide a large, hedgehog-safe home for our favourite spiky friends.
Raking and tidying
Most younger children absolutely LOVE raking leaves and grass cuttings. How much of it ends up in a neat pile is questionable, but great fun for all involved! Grab some children’s gardening gloves and a children’s lawn rake and you can get the youngsters helping out with some of the garden chores.
Collect seed pods
At the end of their flowering period, most flowers will dry out and produce seeds in a pod. These can be gathered and sown immediately back into the ground. Children will love going round and collecting as many seeds as they can, perhaps even having a competition for how many different types they can find. This can also be done when out and about in the countryside – although be careful not to pick any flowers or disturb any wildlife!
Press autumn leaves
Leaves have such beautiful colours in the autumn, and children have always loved savouring these leaves in nature-themed craft activities. You can dry out and save these leaves in an old fashioned flower press. Or try painting the leaves and making leaf prints.
No autumn is complete without carving a pumpkin in time for Halloween. Or even taking part in a pumpkin growing contest! Hopefully you’ll have started off growing your own pumpkins in the spring so that there’s a couple of big juicy pumpkins for harvesting in the autumn. If not, grab yourself some pumpkin seeds for next year to make the carving experience much more exciting.
Autumn can be the time to start preparing for next spring, with the majority of bulbs being planted now for their glorious emergence next spring. By preparing now, you can have fun guessing which bulb will be the first to sprout, or how many flowers will come from one bulb. This early preparation not only teaches children about the life cycles of plants, but it also teaches them the value or patience and preparation. Autumn is the perfect time to scatter wildflower seeds and you can still plant salad crops like lettuce, rocket and spring onions in a patio pot. Please read our full post entitled What to Grow with the Kids in September and October.
We'd love to see pictures of how you get on!