Summer is over and we are now well and truly coming into autumn.
I personally love autumn because it is not only the season that contains Halloween, meaning that I not only get to carve pumpkins and make copious amounts of my famous Pumpkin soup, but it is also the season where I get to celebrate Bonfire night too.
However, autumn is now extra exciting because with the new season comes the fact that there are so many things to do with children during autumn. From walks through colourful woodland and forests, to an array of arts and crafts, autumn is a very colourful and exciting season indeed.
Oliver is now at the age where he can start to understand what is going on around him and so I’ve taken to finding lots of fun ways to teach him about the seasons, with particular focus on autumn.
Before delving into lots of messy and crafty activities, I decided to find some fun books all about autumn that I could read with Oliver. Two that particularly stood out to me were, ‘Autumn is Here’ and ‘Squirrels Autumn Search’.
‘Autumn is Here’ by Heidi Pross Gray
This is an incredibly simple book in both the story and the illustrations that accompany it. The book goes through all of the things that are to be enjoyed throughout autumn and also talks about how the weather changes as well. I would say that this book isn’t particularly engaging for toddlers and younger children, but is great for being used as something to accompany learning about autumn.
‘Squirrel’s Autumn Search’ by Anita Loughrey and Daniel Howarth
We absolutely adore this book in our house and Oliver loves sitting down and flicking through it, looking at all the pictures.
The story follows Squirrel’s adventure of trying to find his little brother who has taken one of his nuts from his pile of food. As you follow the Squirrel through his search, you visit lots of different places and meet lots of different characters that help him to find his little brother and his lost food. When he finally finds his little brother, he explains all about the importance of sharing, which I thought was a nice little extra.
At the end of the story there is a lovely little section with ideas for autumn activities to do with your little one. Although one of the activities is very much for children around pre – school age, there are one or two activities that would be great to do with toddlers.
There is also a page about all of the things that the book teaches about autumn, which is a great way to get children to think about what they have just read. For younger children and toddlers this is a great way of discussing with them what you have just read together.
Once we had read all about autumn, I decided to try some easy and relatively messy free activities that Oliver would enjoy. Oliver really likes painting and drawing and so I thought that would be a good place to start.
Painting with leaf sponges
I bought some leaf shaped painting sponges and then set up a fabulous little painting activity with autumn colours of red, yellow and orange. I showed Oliver how you dip the sponges into the paint and then push them onto the paper to create a print. Of course being only 17 months, he hasn’t quite got the technique yet, but as he went on his creative way with smooshed leaf prints, I explained all about how the leaves on the trees change colour to red, yellow, orange and brown and then fall to the floor. I personally find that activities not only engage Oliver, but also gives me things to talk to him about, which encourages language development and speech.
Crayon leaf rubbings
Oliver absolutely loves drawing and will happily sit with paper and crayons for hours at a time, so this activity seemed like an obvious one for us. I first got the inspiration behind it from a friend of mine who is a primary school teacher, who gave me lots of ideas of easy things to do with younger children to teach them about autumn.
To do the activity, we simply went for a wander through the woods, collected some leaves and bought a cheap pack of crayons from a shop on the way home. Once we got home, we picked out our favourite leaves, placed them under some paper and coloured with crayons over the top. The crayon then shows up darker in places where the leaves are raised creating a fabulous print on the paper.
This is such a simple and easy activity that is extremely cost effective. It is also an extremely un–messy activity that requires hardly any cleaning up time too. Bonus!
Leaf hedgehog crafts
This is a relatively easy activity, but does take a little bit of time to set up because you have to draw and cut out the hedgehog shape first. I first drew the simple shape of the hedgehog, coloured in his nose with black crayon and then stuck a googly eye onto the shape using PVA glue.
Oliver and I then carefully selected the leaves we liked from the pile we had collected for our leaf rubbing activity, which we put to one side. I then put a thin layer of glue where we were sticking the leaves to create the ‘spikes’ and together we stuck the leaves on the back of the hedgehog. Oliver did get bored of this rather quickly, so I finished sticking all of the leaves onto the hedgehog’s back and we then left it to dry. (Note that you may need to put something heavy on top of the leaves when the glue is drying to make sure they stay stuck down to the paper).
Once the glue had dried, we took out a brown colouring pencil and some yellow and orange crayons, then coloured in the head of the hedgehog. As I said before Oliver loves drawing and colouring, so he really enjoyed this bit and we spent a long time on the finishing touches of colouring our hedgehog in.
There are so many great things to do with children during autumn, but I’m particularly looking forward to when we can start looking for conkers and when most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, so we can create leaf piles to jump into.
What are your favourite things to do with your little one during autumn? Would you recommend any fun activities for us to try? I’d love to know, so let me know in the comments, on Twitter, Instagram or on Facebook.