AUTUMN is the perfect time of year to explore the great outdoors with children.
Even better, nature’s playground does not have to cost a penny . . .
LEAF COLLECTORS: The leaves are falling from the trees and kicking them up into piles is great fun for kids of all ages.
Challenge your little ones to find different shapes and colours. Then take home a few of their favourites and paint them different colours for an easy indoor activity.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: Look for local themed walks to bring the outdoors to life.There are numerous Gruffalo and fairy trails set up across the country.
Search online for one near you.
Forestry England has also created Superworm trails in forests, where you can find facts and take part in activities such as crayon rubbing.
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Find your nearest trail at forestryengland.uk
BUG HUNTERS: Children love finding creepy crawlies and it is a great way to get them interacting with the environ-ment.
Go for a walk through your local park or woods and you can whittle away hours looking in the mud for slugs and worms — or under logs and leaves for spiders and beetles.
MUD KITCHEN: Find a couple of old pans and kitchen utensils, then let your children loose on making mud pies in the garden (if you don’t mind creating a messy patch to play in). Or you can have the same fun in the park or woods.
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Encourage your kids to mix up dirt, pine cones, conkers, wild flowers and other natural delights. Let their imagination run wild and ask them to make their favourite cake or a magic potion.
WET WEATHER: Don’t let a little rain stop outdoor play — and never underestimate the joy of simply sloshing through puddles.
But make sure you dress kids in wellies and suitable waterproofs before heading out. Then let them jump and splash about to their heart’s content.
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