It’s time to pull on your wellies and embrace the autumn weather. As the warmth of summer fades, remember to prepare for the change in weather by having suitable clothing for autumn.
Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons and a real period of change in the natural world. It is also a particularly exciting time for children, as distinctive sounds and smells fill the air, and the once vibrant green shades of summer give way to warm yellows, reds, and browns. Fruits and nuts are also harvested, days become shorter, and animals prepare themselves for the cold winter months ahead. Changes like these are ideal for inspiring children’s interest in the outdoors. This is the time of year that they can hunt for conkers, play in fallen leaves, learn all about the autumn harvest and freely explore the outdoors in cooler temperatures.
Developing an awareness of nature and the natural world helps children to understand the importance of caring for plants, animals, and other creatures. Outdoor spaces can provide opportunities to move and explore that are often lacking in many environments. High-quality outdoor learning experiences are proven to: develop inquisitive thinking along with problem-solving approaches, as well as boosting concentration and engagement.
Our Monkey Puzzle nurseries utilise their outdoor space to investigate nature and enjoy seasonal celebrations to maximise its potential and give the children the best experience of the new season. Many of our nurseries create autumn bags, take the children on walks to the local park and grocery stores to acknowledge and discuss the changes they see, as well as creating seasonal activities focused on Harvest, Diwali, Halloween, and Bonfire Night.
Our practitioners believe that being outside allows children to express themselves freely – they can jump, shout, and explore to their hearts content. The freedom they have with playing outdoors is fantastic for their development, both physically and mentally.
So how can you really utilise your outdoor space to develop your little one’s understanding of the season changes?
- Encourage the children to look carefully at leaves, discovering their different shapes. Can they find out which trees they come from? Do all trees lose their leaves? Gather leaves and use them to make leaf-print paintings or arrange different leaves into groups based on their sizes. You could provide colour charts (paint ones work well) so children can match the different colours.
- Discover conkers in their prickly shells and compare them with acorns and sycamore seeds. Plant the conkers in pots to illustrate that all trees produce seeds; then investigate the different ways that conkers could be moved around by animals and the wind.
- Just like our nurseries, why not create an autumn bag? Fill it with natural materials such as leaves, acorns, pinecones, and conkers. The children will enjoy trying to guess what they’re holding.
- Explore the wind by letting the children use materials of different sizes to fall and float in the wind. Light objects such as ribbon and feathers will demonstrate its power. You can explore the distances that various objects travel? Discuss why a feather may fly further than a large piece of paper