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Autumn Treasures

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Autumn Treasures

by Laura

Autumn is the season of nature’s bounty: so many natural treasures can be observed and collected at this time of year. It’s the perfect time of year to get out and about and discover the changing world around us. It can be really fun to get your little ones to join you on an adventure into nature this time of year, I often find they are super little spotters, always looking for something to fill their pockets. Conkers and acorns are a real favourite for my two to collect – we love using them to aid in learning too, counting and sorting are great activities to do.

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We recently took a big basket into the woods with us and collected a few treasures, when we got them home my 3 year old and I sorted them into groups, and then my five year old made a bar chart to show us what we had found the most and least of. It was a really collaborative activity using things we found in nature. It’s also a great way to learn about different seeds and leaf types – we took our Little Robin Education leaf ID cards with us, and collected leaves from the woodland floor to identify using our cards. Try matching up the seeds from the tree types with the leaf cards too to embrace the season.

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How can you get through Autumn without a spot of mushroom hunting? This year in particular there seems to be a really great selection to observe. We don’t touch any mushroom or fungi (just in case) but do always have to hand a magnifying glass and a pad of paper and pencils to observe, and draw the mushrooms we find – the range of fungi available to spot this time of year is amazing. Grab a set of Little Robin Education cards to take with you, and see what you can spot. A learning opportunity here would be something like a tally chart - pick a few varieties you’re likely to see, and count away with your little ones – or if they are smaller the Yellow Door shape viewers are a great way to observe and learn about shapes.

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Once you’ve collected your hoard of treasure bring them all home, and grab a pot of play dough. If you can, include some of the fabulous Yellow Door sets – the Feast of Nature set, or some of the rollers are great. Make leaf prints in your dough, have a look at texture, form, pattern and shape. So much can be created with a pot of dough: roll a bit into a sausage and use sycamore seeds to create a dragon fly, make a slug and add a conker for a body! Use the loose parts to make faces in the dough, or roll lots of sausages and make a big tree to add your leaves onto.

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Once you’ve finished exploring in nature, its defiantly the time of year to sit down together (perhaps with a hot chocolate) and read a few books – The River is a beautiful book exploring emotions, with stunning illustrations of the natural world, Brambly Hedge, The Autumn Story is a classic story with sweet mice living along the hedgerow, the most intricate illustrations are magical. Hilda’s Forest is a great one to recreate with Lanka Kade figures, British wildlife at its best, with the message of keeping our wild places clean from litter, or perhaps try If You Go Down to the Woods Today, a spotting book full of rhythmical rhyme and illustrations showing beautifully how the seasons change.

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Don’t forget to share your exploring, adventures and play with us for a chance to win a voucher to spend on the website – share using our hash tag #wpdplayideas (which is also full of great ideas and inspiration too!).

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