21 Autumn Activities For Under 5s

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Who else just LOVES Autumn?  It’s always been my favourite season.  Not only does it bring with it the excitement and promise of a new school year (freshly sharpened pencils, newly laminated name tags above pegs and all those happy little faces ready to learn!); but it is also a lovely time to be outside – the air is cool and fresh, the trees and ground are colourful, and there are lots of treasures to be found for playing, counting, sorting, discussing, exploring and creating with.

Autumn Treats For You!

With New Person Day approaching, I have been getting together all my favourite Autumn activities on my Pinterest boards (scroll to the bottom of this post for the links), so that I have an instant treasure trove of activities to dip into once the baby is born.

I have also made this list to share with you. It includes my own ideas and some of other mum-bloggers (just click on the links to their sites to see full explanations). I’ve divided it into rough categories by age, so that you can just scroll down to the bits that apply to you. I hope you find it useful.  If you have any other brilliant ideas that you have tried at home I would love to hear of them and am sure other readers would too – just share in a comment b.

At 37 weeks pregnant, with backache, headaches and all sorts of other aches (!), I think this will have to be my last pre-baby post…I am not good at forcing myself to relax…but my body is telling me I need to now!  So I will have to tear myself away from the laptop keyboard and try and have some “Me Time”.  Wish me luck for the big day, and I will look forward to sharing some baby photos with you!!  For now, here is my list of activities:

19 Autumn Activities For Under 5s

BABIES (6-12M)

1 Make this simple Autumn Sensory Bin from Fantastic Fun and Learning

2 Collect acorns and pop them in a plastic bottle for a simple acorn rattle.  You might want to paint them with a mixture of paints and pva glue for a more colourful rattle.

3 Or  – add conkers, leaves and other autumnal treasures to make a sensory discovery bottle, like these Rainbow Sensory Play Bottles from My Little 3 And Me.  She doesn’t show an autumn bottle on her site, so you would need to use your imagination to create your own.  I just wanted you to see the bottles she makes, as they are really simple and attractive. I especially like the coloured ribbons she attaches to the lid – lovely!

4 Take photos of autumn leaves, trees, squirrels, pine cones and other seasonal things and create a simple Autumn Photo Book to share with your baby.  I would dearly love to do this, but with no time and no energy, I shall force myself to wait until next Autumn…ho-hum.  Let me know if you do one – would love to see it :-).

5 Does your baby enjoy tunnels?  Check out this fun and really simple Autumn Leaves Baby Game from Kids Activities Blog

TODDLERS (12-36M)

6 Collect a variety of autumn treasures on an autumn walk.  Make some home-made shakers (see above link) with your child, and encourage them to make their own creative choices about what to fill them with and how to decorate them.

7 Learn and Sing Some Autumn Songs, like these from Preschool Express, and accompany them with your shakers!

8 Get messy and creative, Painting With Sticks And Leaves (from Feels Like Home Blog)
9 Make some Autumnal Scented Play Dough

10 Try out some pine cone printing/rolling on a tray.  I couldn’t find an example of this online, but just grab some autumnal coloured paints (in separate plastic tubs from your recycling), some paper (cut to size), a baking tray and some pine cones.  Put the paper in the tray, put the pine cones into the paint trays, and let your little one explore!

11 Make some handprints with your toddler using autumnal-coloured paints, cut them out and attach them to a brown paper trunk for an arty autumn tree.  Or you could hole-punch them, thread string through and make an Autumn garland.

12 Make your own pictures together with this Apple Stamping Art Activity from Creative Family Fun.  Happy Hooligans also do this here.  You could use this to make homemade wrapping paper!

13 Go out for a woodland walk and collect treasures for an Autumn treasure basket. Take photos of the items in your collection and save on your phone for a mini slideshow matching game. Look at the picture, find the object (in the basket) to match!  We do this with lots of things already and T loves it!

PRE-SCHOOLERS (3-5 YRS)

14 Go on a Woodland Walk.  Collect leaves and other things. Create an Autumnal Nature Table at home to encourage scientific exploration, sorting/categorising and reading skills. This one here on the Imagination Tree is so easy to create but really inviting.

15 Go on a stick hunt as a family, with some googly eye stickers and make this seriously groovy Stick Family Tree! Wouldn’t this be fun to make? And what a talking point it would make displayed in the downstairs loo!  Thank you to Viki for sharing this on facebook :-).

16 Create a simple Sensory Invitation To Play, using a muffin tin and autumnal spices with this Sprinkles Painting Activity from Crayon Box Chronicles

17 Get into some good, old-fashioned leaf-printing (using a rolling pin!) – simple, easy to follow tutorial at Naturally Educational here:

18 Bring out the creativity in your child, with this Autumn Tree Art using egg cartons from Teach Preschool.  Genius idea, with lots of potential for different creative outcomes.

19 Make some beautiful seasonal coasters, soap trays or bowls like these from Red Ted Art by printing leaves in clay.

20 Set up an Autumn-Themed Train Track with this stunning Squirrel Train Small World Activity from Play Trains.  This does require a bit more prep than the others, and you would need to buy the squirrels and felt…but it is SO beautiful and inspiring I just had to share it.  It takes time and effort to create scenes like this that inspire creativity…but it’s so worth it, to see just how much learning goes on as a result of that thought and preparation :-). 

21 Read some Autumn Books together, to encourage discussion.  I found this brilliant list of books about Autumn Leaves on Clever Classroom Blog, which saved me the trouble of making one myself!  We will definitely be investing in a few of these over the years.

Every Child Is Unique

As I always say, young children cannot be fitted neatly into categories by age really, so the age categories above are merely a guide.  I know for a fact that my T would really dig the sensory bottles on the “baby” list, and the Autumn books and train track play on the “3-5” list.  I hope you and your little ones find some stuff here that you enjoy together.  If you do, feel free to share here or on my Facebook page, and do hit the like and share button at the bottom of this post to share with any parent friends you think may find it useful.

DON’T FORGET: check out the other goodies on my two Pinterest Boards: Arty Autumn Activities and Autumn Cooking Ideas For Kids.  I’ll keep adding to these so you are very welcome to follow the boards by clicking on the Follow (Pinterest) link on my homepage.

Do you know how much I LOVE YOUR COMMENTS? (even the teeny tiny ones)

Don’t be shy and consider leaving one here – you will make my day!

Happy Autumn Everyone!

Marianne x

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