No need to cry when summer is over, put on your coat and embrace the fresh autumn air. Now, what to do? You need fresh ideas for fall activities for kids!
So.. take along a large bag or bucket and start collecting fall treasures. Search for beautiful leaves in as many hues as you can find, look mushrooms (no nibbling!) and.. chestnuts! Many many chestnuts – as many as you can carry. I’ll tell you why..
This idea came to me 5 years ago and we’ve been ding this every fall since. We go on a big horse chestnut hunt (the kids love this – they get incredibly greedy, but in a good way!). Read about the difference between sweet chestnuts (yum!) and horse chestnuts here.
Try to select the good ones: nice whole shiny chestnuts, removing the broken ones. Clean them a little if you like. Now comes the hard part: carry them home (we used a cargo bike)! Heavy. Yes -d I know..
Fun fall activities for kids: chestnut bath time!
Now that you have a load of nice (horse) chestnuts, the only thing left to do is to find a suitable bath. We have used inflatable summer baths (with a diameter of approx 1 m) and baby baths. The summer bath is fun because it fits more kids, but the baby bath fills up more quickly and is a winner in my point of view 😊). I mean, the kids will play anyway.
Stand back now, it will be a matter of seconds before the first kid jumps in! They love the unusual sight of something-other-than-water in the bath. They will put their hands in, feet in or ‘dive’ straight in – they simply cannot wait! we’ll teach them patience some other time ; )
You may ask them how it feels. How does the surface of the chestnuts feel in your hands? Soft? Rough? Smooth? Hard? And if you stand in the bath, how does it feel for your feet? As you expected or different?
Think of items you have laying around in the house that can be fun to play with:
- soft toys (washable)
- plastic toys, such as zoo animals
- tools to practice fine motor skills, such as grabber tweezers, squeezy tweezers, grip scoopers and ladle spoons
- toilet paper rolls and tape for making a marble run, er.. chestnut run!
Just let the kids play. They may come up with ideas that you never thought of! Well, I can only speak for myself, but I found my 4yo with her feet in 2 buckets full of chestnuts shuffling around in her bedroom! I suppose her gross motor skills are perfectly adequate..!
Now sit back and relax ; )
What more to do in fall? Here are 8 great ideas!
1. Scavenger hunt [game, outdoors]
Go outside with the kids. Do you know what trees grow in your area? Take a sheet of paper and draw leaves that are specific to your area, so the kids can identify them (now this will test your memory and drawing skills!). Have a look for other pretty leaves, acorns, pine cones and maple tree helicopters. Can the kids find them all?
2. Imaginative drawing around dried leaves [crafts, indoors]
Remember those leaves you carefully selected? Dry them under a stack of books and place them on a piece of paper. Let the kids draw around the leaves, making shapes. For example, draw a butterfly with ‘leafy wings’ or make a ‘leafy bird’ by drawing a beak and perching legs.
3. Make a banner of decorate dried leaves [crafts, indoors]
You can also decorate the dried leaves using (chalk) markers. If you use one colour it forces you to think about making pretty shapes. If you use more colours the kids can try to simply decorate the leaves. Or more challenging: make symmetrical drawings on the leaf! And why not bake a nice leafy banner of the resulting artwork?
4. Charcoal prints [crafts, indoors]
OK, so this one is for somewhat older kids or your living room will be black in no time.. Try to find charcoal sticks at your art supplier or very soft pencils (8B). Lay a leaf with good veins on a table, place a piece of paper on top and rub the charcoal stick on the paper, directly over the leaf. Do you see what’s happening? The leave reappears! Surely you did this when you were a child yourself, making fake coins by rubbing pencil onto paper (I did!). See? That scavenger hunt was worth while!
5. Play the build-a-monster game with play dough [printable game, indoors]
Disclosure: shameless self promotion to follow. Excuse: my kids love this game and frequently go back to it! Halloween or not, monsters must be made (and destroyed)! Print and make a ‘monster die’ [free printable, found here] and collect play dough and bits & bobs. The playdough is the body. The monster die dictates the monster part to add to monster body. Result: sweet/scary/hilarious monsters!
6. Pine cone bowling [game, outdoors]
Go outside and try to find the biggest fattest largest pine cones! Now put them in a classical ‘bowling’ setup (you may need a bit of sand or clay) and roll a small ball towards them to make them fall. How many turns does it take?
7. Picknick and falling leaves [activity, outdoors]
Pack a picknick. If you’re really inspired you may even bring a home made apple-cinnamon turnovers using fresh apples (tis the season!). Bring a large thick blanket, nice hot tea, sandwiches and that apple pie. Let the kids run around. Fun little game: hold up a leaf, let it go, and the kids can try to catch it!
8. Chestnut bath [sensory play, motor skills, indoors]
See above, ha ha!
Stuck indoors? If you have LEGO or DUPLO laying around, here are a few nice play ideas. The Monster Marble Game is a local favourite as well – have a go! And if you like to play games, have a little peak at my printable travel games. Fancy a crafty project? Make flowers/leaves/stars from clay, pick holes and let them dry, Now start lacing them! Have a look at this example.