Autumn play ideas in the early years
For so many people Autumn is their favourite time of year. The beautiful colours, natural treasures, the smell of autumn, fallen leaves and autumn crafts.
Autumn begins in September and is a season famous for its harvest times, turning leaves, cooling temperatures and darkening nights.
Did you know that Chlorophyll is the chemical that makes tree leaves green and as it declines other chemicals become more prominent in the leaves. These are responsible for the vibrant ambers, reds and yellows of autumn. The chemicals responsible are types of flavonoids, carotenoids and anthocyanins. These chemicals are the same ones that give carrots (beta-carotenes) and egg yolks (luteins) their colours?
15 ideas for Autumn play and learn activities in the Early Years
- Autumn Tray Play
2. Nature Treasure Hunt
Autumn is a lovely time to pull on the wellies and go on a natural treasures hunt. Take a basket and collect leaves of all colours from green to yellow, orange and brown. Collect acorn, pine cones, sticks, conkers, horse chestnuts. Display them back in your setting to identify, discuss and use in autumn crafts, displays and set ups.
3. Natural Loose Part Treasure Counting
Use your Autumn treasure finds for counting. Acorns, conkers and pine cones make excellent alternatives to plastic counters.
4. Small World Autumnal Play
Create small worlds with your natural autumnal treasures. Add wooden woodland animals, insects, create the Gruffalo Story in a tray. Tell stories of Squirrels, hiding the nuts in the leaves to find and count.
5. Spooky Haloween Mushrooms
Have you seen our Spooky Halloween Mushroom activity? Super simple and perfect for little hands. Find out how to make them here.
6. Orange Pepper Carving
Pumpkin carving couldn't be simpler for little hands. Simply use an Orange Pepper instead of a pumpkin. Add a battery-operated tea light to make it more magical. Find out how we made ours in our easy to make blog post here.
7. Leaf faces
Make leaf characters by adding googly eyes and other found natural treasures. Glue them together using pva or simply create transient art in a loose frame.
8. Autumn Story Crate
Set up a story crate with autumn provocations and a book to accompany it.
9. Make an Autumn wreath
Use Autumn leaves of every colour and PVA then to a cardboard wreath shape.
10. Autumn leaf kebabs
Add an autumn leaf kebab to your mud kitchen. Simply provide skewers, remove the sharp end and allow children to collect leaves of all colour and pierce them on. Cook them up in your Mud Kitchen or Rustic Oven.
11. Natural Mandalas
Create natural mandalas with your autumn treasures and loose parts.
12. Autumn Mud Kitchen
So many great opportunities in an autumn mud kitchen. Use your loose part treasures to make soup, tea and mud pies. The beautiful colours are so inviting.
13. Halloween Setups
Create a Halloween set-up full of provocations for play and learning. Add a cauldron of sensory slime with eyeballs and spider to extract, mix and stir. Add potion bottles for mixing a witches brew and number frames for counting loose parts or spiders.
14. Autumn Potion making
Make potions with your natural treasures. Use Slime or simple water with added ingredients. Add food colouring if you wish, fresh herbs, tea bags.
15. Weaving a spiders web
Use wicker weaving frames to weave your own spiders web. Such a fun activity, getting those little hands working, great for fine and gross motor skills.
16. Make an autumn leaf umbrella - how fab is this idea from Cosy Club member @mummy_nature_and_me. Just LOVE it!!
Let us know which are your favourite ideas and tag us in your autumn play activities. We'd love to see! @cosydirect #cosytuffspot