We’ve got to that part of autumn where the leaves are definitely on the turn. Taking children for walks in the forest is always good value. There’s space to run about and so many things to experience. I thought you might like a few suggestions to add a bit of extra learning to the day.
Sticky picture – take a piece of card/cardboard and put strips of double-sided tape on it. Whenever you find something interesting, peel off the protective backing and stick it on the card. Instant autumn collage – no glue, no mess, no fuss. If you want to be extra clever, use it as a reference board to identify the things at a later date.
Hibernating hedgehog – double-sided tape again, and a paper plate. Find a big fir cone, stick it in the middle of the plate and then gather lots of leaves to stick round it. It looks very effective.
Poo photography – children love poo. That’s a fact. Nothing more fascinating (apart from sick of course.) Make it your mission to photograph as many types of poo as you can find. A lot of creatures have very distinctive poo – you can identify them via the internet. Many a birdwatcher started by being interested in purple berry-infused poo.
Natural hat – double-sided tape again. Cut a strip of card to fit your child’s head (and yours – you need a lovely hat too.) Put strips of double-sided tape around it and stick things to it as you walk. By the end of the adventure you’ll both look like extras from “The Wicker Man” but that can only be a good thing.
Derek’s House – Derek is a tiny gnome who was being bullied. He’s had to abandon his last home because a family of nasty beetles moved in next door. You need to build him somewhere lovely to live that’s beetle-proof. So…Where? How? What with? It’s a great problem-solving activity and I know from past experience how grateful Derek can be. You need stones, twigs, ferns, etc…the rest is up to you.
Forest food – if you can confidently identify blackberries and hazel nuts, pick and eat them. If you can’t, take something with you – something hot. Children are thrilled by the idea of hot picnic food. Bacon sandwiches, jacket potatoes, sausages will all stay warm for ages wrapped in foil.
These are just ideas to support the lovely experience you’re already providing by taking a child into a forest. Don’t feel you have to do any of them. The very fact that you’re there together, exploring and throwing leaves at each other is good enough in itself. If you want to do them, they’ll develop language and creative thinking skills, increase knowledge and understanding of the natural world and enhance problem-solving abilities.