The October half term holidays are upon us (for most areas of the U.K.) and if you’re stuck for ideas of what you can do with the children for the rest of this week, without spending lots of money…here’s my top ten activities you can do with the kids this half term which are pretty much free.
1.Make a Leaf Animal
Fallen leaves with their crisp texture and multiple colours are brilliant, free craft resources! And going out and to collect them together is an activity in itself. Once you’ve collected them, one fun activity is to create leaf animals with their leaves they’ve collected (Find out how here). And have a read of all the benefits for children that Autumn Crafts like this one can bring.
2. Autumn Scavenger Hunt
For those of you who have a copy of my first book ‘100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play’ you’ll already know I’m a big fan of scavenger hunts! They are great! Easy to set up, pretty much free and give children a purpose to a walk. All you do is jot down/draw some things you may find on your walk onto a piece of paper. So it might be Conkers, leaves, acorn and squirrel! And then the children have to tick off when they find them.
3. Leaf paint printing – Leaf printing often excites children, the pictures they can produce are beautiful! It’s great for motor skills and a lovely accessible craft.
Read & watch my video clip on how to do leaf printing here as well as some ideas on how to include older children in this activity.
4. Pumpkin carving..or any vegetable carving
Pumpkin carving isn’t a great activity for younger children…the sharp knives and cutting can only be done by a responsible adult leaving very little for children to safety do themselves. But there are ways of making it more accessible for kids. One way is getting the children to draw the design on the pumpkin for you (the adult) to then cut out. Or if they really want to join in, why not use a pepper and a plastic knife and let them carve a mini pepper 🫑 pumpkin?
5. Star Gazing
This week’s earlier, darker evenings and clearer skies means little ones can try out a bit of star gazing before bedtime! A really magical activity! You could even draw or paint pictures of what you see, or learn about the different stars!
6. Conker Collecting
Let’s face it, we are probably doing this one anyway! I know if I dig deep enough in my handbag and coat pockets right now I could find at least 5 Conkers that the kids have collected recently! But going on a ‘conker hunt’ is a lovely activity, challenging the children to see how many Conkers they can find! (Great for numeracy skills)
7. Conker people
Have a read here to find out lots of ideas of what you can do with the Conkers you’ve collected – including making pretend people out of the Conkers!
8. Autumn Photos
Why not take your kids out with a camera/camera phone and try and capture some of the autumn beauty around you?
What’s wonderful about taking photos on a walk is that you’re creating a visual prompt for them to share with others- great for showing friends and grandparents what they’ve been up to and giving them opportunities to practise their speech, language and communication skills with the support of the photographs.
9. Play Conkers
I recently commented in the Mirror about how to play Conkers and why, despite some peoples health and safety concerns over the game, I’d still recommend it. Have a read here to find out how to play Conkers, including it’s origins as a game and the rules.
10. Make a Halloween Mask/Costume
In my opinion, Halloween dress up shouldn’t be about spending money in the supermarket clothes aisle on a costume that will only be worn a handful of times..but instead should be about having fun making home made costumes together from things you already have! As a kid, I remember my friend coming to a Halloween party as a ‘mummy’ wrapped up in loo roll and another friend dressed up as a ghost with simply an old bedsheet over her head! So have fun making a mask or costume together and see what you can create.
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