Every season has its own special appeal. Spring is full of the hope of new life emerging from the cold of winter; summer has its long, warm, days and the opportunity to spend more time enjoying the outdoors whether in this country or elsewhere; even the winter can appeal to us – cosy nights by the fire, wrapping ourselves up in our warmest clothes, celebrating Christmas and the beauty of a stark, frozen landscape.
Autumn is fast approaching, taking us gently from the summer into winter with a magnificent show of nature’s glory. Our skies change colour and our great trees shed their foliage. Children can go on nature trails, wade through piles of crunchy leaves and hide under them like some of our soon-to-be hibernating animals. In fact, being outdoors during the autumn months can provide parents and teachers with many opportunities to draw children’s attention to the changes going on around them.
It’s more important than ever that we continuously strive to keep our children aware of our environment and give them chances to get away from screens, play outdoors and develop a curiosity about the natural world. At Pilgrims School the children take part in structured Forest School sessions, giving them the opportunity to explore the school’s vast outdoor environment which includes a wildlife pond, with its surrounding trees and shrubs, a willow tunnel and a den building area. The autumn is a particularly fun time for the children as they gather up the leaves which have fallen from our trees, harvest the last fruit from our mini orchard and ensure that our visiting wildlife creatures (frogs, newts and hedgehogs) have what they need to keep safe throughout the winter.
Five things for children to do during autumn:
- Collect and play with conkers
An all-time favourite pastime for children – thread a string through the conker and play to knock your opponent’s off its string or, if you’re lucky enough to find a larger conker, obliterate your opponent’s conker altogether!
- Collect different leaves and have a ‘craft’ session
Leaves can be used as elements of paintings, threaded on strings to make necklaces or built into crowns along with twigs, acorns and other natural ‘treasures’.
- Dress up for Halloween
Children love the drama of a good Halloween party and trick or treating can reap sweet treats in abundance. Face paints can fire up imaginations and soon your little angels will look more like little devils, zombies or witches.
- Carve a pumpkin for Halloween
Another traditional, seasonal activity which kids love and which allows them to express themselves creatively. You can finish it off with a tea light candle to create a spooky glow.
- Enjoy pumpkin cooking
It’s a great time of year to try something new with pumpkin. Bake a pie, make soup or have it roasted with dinner. You can find plenty of recipes here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/pumpkin
The main thing to remember about the autumn months is that we can often experience the very best of both outdoor and indoor activities so make the most of it!
This famous poem, To Autumn by John Keats, sums the season up nicely in its first verse:
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
(John Keats 1795 – 1821)