7 learning activities for autumn weather

Autumn learning activities
Do you remember diving into a pile of crisp, golden autumn leaves? Collecting conkers? Walking through first-frost grass and feeling it crackle under your feet? Autumn and early winter are really inspirational seasons for outdoor activities, so wrap up warm and march the whole family out of the door. They won't want to come back in!

Make learning outdoors a new autumn tradition with these ideas from Juno Hollyhock from Learning through Landscapes. The key thing to remember when doing activities at this time of year is that both you and your children need to be warm and dry and comfortable – frozen hands soon make for frozen tears!

Create cosy corners

One of the most fun things to do in the colder months is to create dens and shelters. All you need is a tarpaulin or a sheet and some string or rope, then venture into the great outdoors like intrepid explorers and find trees or fences where you can attach your building materials. If you are fortunate enough to have a garden then you can leave the shelter up and it will provide hours of ongoing fun.  Get clever and creative by using a stapler or safety pins to hold pieces of material together to make doorways and corridors!

If you have the space, and it is safe to do so, then a ring of stones makes a perfect fireplace for a small fire on which to roast some tasty marshmallows. Ensure that you extinguish the fire thoroughly before you leave and that you have a bucket of water to hand in case of emergencies.

Build a winter wonderland (in miniature)

If you live in an area where snow is likely this is a perfect opportunity for some hilarious photos with which to impress your friends.

Place gloves sticking up and 'abandoned' hats in the snow to look like there is a person underneath or use toy cars in imaginary snow-filled landscapes (small twigs can be used to represent trees). Why not create a perfect mini-winter scene and decorate a mini-tree to make a picture that you can use on a Christmas card?

Prepare traditional tree decorations

Tree dressing is a traditional pre-Christmas activity and is both fun to do and beautiful to look at. Don't wait to bring your Christmas tree home to have a go, try adorning the branches of trees in your garden instead. Dry orange slices on a radiator and string these onto cotton with dried berries and any other pretty natural items you can find. Pieces of brightly coloured material can be cut into strips and tied to tree branches to create a stunning fluttering rainbow effect in the wind.

Make feathered friends 

This is the season for looking after birds, and fat-ball making is simple and easy to do, although delightfully messy! 

Mix cheap lard or hard cooking fat with birdseed and shape it into balls (this is easier if you soften the fat slightly first). These can be placed in commercially available feeders, or you can hang them up in the nets that you buy citrus fruit in in the supermarket. Hang these tempting treats well away from where any cats can reach them!

Be a natural artist

Get your creativity going by outlining shapes on the ground with masking tape, then using natural materials such as branches, seeds, nuts, twigs, fallen leaves, pebbles or whatever is to hand to decorate them. Photograph the final image and post on your social media page to celebrate the season.

Hibernation and seek!

Make the most of huge piles of autumn leaves: stack them up and then hide in them like hibernating animals for a game of leafy hide and seek! Add interest by blindfolding the seeker and making them search through the pile until they can grab a leg or an arm of the hibernator... Safety note: be wary of allowing children to run and dive on leaves if they are hiding a hard surface underneath, however enticing the leaf pile.

Poet Laurelate!

Laurel leaf writing is simple and easy to do. First find a laurel hedge and collect some of the just-fallen yellow leaves from underneath. Using a small stick, write a poem or a few words on the leaf (you won’t be able to see the writing). Place the leaf in a warm place – between your hands or under your arm will do – and then in five minutes or so take a look and see if the writing has magically appeared!

Not a leaf to be seen? Look through our selection of wintery learning activities for some icy, snowy ideas.

Learning through Landscapes specialises in outdoor learning and play through education. They aim to enable children to connect with nature, be more active, be more engaged with their learning, develop their social skills and have fun.