Each season in a year is enveloped in its own special magic, and for autumn; it’s the warmth of the colours – the red, gold and brown leaves drifting from the trees, swirling gently into sea-sized blankets that hide an abundance of treasure waiting to be uncovered by little hands.
Nature is one of a child’s greatest learning tools – Maria Montessori knew it:
“… the first thing his education demands is the provision of an environment in which he can develop the powers given him by nature. We have to adjust our minds to doing a work of collaboration with nature, to being obedient to one of her laws, the law which decrees that development comes from environmental experience.” (The Absorbent Mind)
Autumn offers so many beautiful opportunities for fun and learning, simply by being outside…but the leaves are something quite special. Here are ten fun, family activities all to do with leaves this season:
- Leaf Weddings – there is something about leaves that compel us to scoop them into a bundle and throw them up high, allowing them to rain down like confetti. This keeps kids entertained for ages, and may even end up in a game of ‘leaf-IT’!
- Raking & Jumping – even if you don’t have a garden, there will be plenty of leaves in the park or on the pavement to rake into a glorious pile…perhaps you’ll bin the bundle (but not before collecting a few for some fun autumn arts & crafts) or perhaps the kids will have a lovely jump about in the leaf pile, inducing a cycle of raking and jumping – this could be your entire afternoon!
- Collecting – how about a leaf hunt instead of a bear hunt? See how many different types of leaves you can collect.
- Inspecting, Comparing & Naming – sometimes the simple act of collecting leaves is enough but sometimes, children will want to study their bounty; this could involve comparing the colours and shapes of the leaves and perhaps even Googling (or visiting a local library) to find out names and characteristics.
- Leaf Trees – this will require a collection of leaves, some paper, glue and coloured pens or paints: children will then draw the tree trunk and branches (one tree or many) and stick the leaves on to create their very own leaf tree.
- Leaf Animals – use leaves that you’ve collected outside to create your very own leaf animals (real or fantastical); you’d need glue, leaves, paper and colours for this activity. You could even get children to create a name for their creature and make up a story, too!
- Leaf Chains – collect some robust leaves from your park or garden and stitch or staple them together to create a leaf chain that could be the decoration for an autumn themed tea party or perhaps a piece of jewellery for a special teddy.
- Printing – spread paint onto some leaves you’ve collected from the park or your garden and then stamp them onto a piece of paper; you could create fairy lands and creatures or beautiful designs.
- Pressing – go on a leaf hunt and save your most favourite leaves to press between the pages of a heavy book; collect as keepsakes to stick in a journal or, for smaller children, turn the pressed leaves into an Arts & Crafts activity.
- Which leaf goes on which tree? – this is a fun game to play when walking out and about with your family. Spot leaves on the floor and then figure out which tree they belong to. Extend the game by naming the tree itself!
Happy autumn, everyone!