Fun Autumn Activities for Preschoolers
For a parent or child care provider, summer offers an array of activities to keep your little ones happy – from walks in the park and trips to the beach to a simple paddling pool in the back garden. But as the nights draw in and the days get colder, lots of parents find themselves at a loss for things to do. When wet weather prevents outdoor activities, how do you keep little ones from staring mindlessly at the TV, going stir-crazy while the wild wind whips at the windows?
It’s time to start getting crafty.
Arts and crafts activities are the ideal way to keep children occupied when going outdoors just isn’t an option. So, get down to the local craft store/ super market/ bargain shop and fill your boots with everything from glue, paper and glitter to feathers, pipe cleaners, paints and stickers. Basically, your kids can get crafty with anything they can find.
In addition to being fun for kids, research has shown that spending time together doing family activities brings families closer, while helping children grow intellectually. According to the organisation Family Facts, children who regularly spend time with and communicate with their parents tend to perform better in an academic environment.
Here are a couple of craft ideas for the autumn/winter…
Home-made Christmas cards
By starting now, you’ll have completed enough Christmas cards to cater for all your family and friends by the time the festive season rolls around. Plus, home-made Christmas cards are far more meaningful to family members than run-of-the-mill, shop bought versions.
Christmas cards don’t have to be expensive to make either. If you have saved last year’s cards, try a little recycling by cutting and sticking elements of the old cards onto the new, then decorating with glitter and sequins. Depending on the age of your children, you might need to offer a helping hand – especially when scissors are involved. The only limit for the creation of Christmas cards is your child’s imagination.
Feed the birds
If your children are fond of animals they will love making easy bird feeders to keep winged-ones well fed when the trees are bare and the ground is frozen. All you require is an empty toilet roll tube, some string, peanut butter and bird seed.
Firstly, take the toilet roll tube, make two holes at one end on opposite sides, then thread and knot your string to create a handle. This allows you to hang your feeder on any nail or tree branch. Secondly, take your peanut butter and spread it all over the outside of the toilet roll tube. Then comes the fun part: finally, roll the peanut-buttery tube in the bird seed until it is completely covered – and there you have it, a very simple bird feeder.
Hang your feeder in the garden and wait for the birds to come. Remember; peanut butter and assorted seeds are much more nutritious for common garden birds than bread.
With a little marzipan or easy-roll icing and some food colouring, children can create tasty sweets with absolutely no baking involved. Simply take a little marzipan; add some food colouring; and roll in your hands to create an even colour. Then shape the marzipan into the fruit of your choice and present as miniature fruit baskets in brown muffin cases.
There is no reason to stop at marzipan fruit either; you can make anything from animals to monsters with a little time and skill. Create miniature Jack-o-Lanterns at Halloween, or tiny Thanksgiving turkeys with all the trimmings. These make great after-dinner sweets, and can be given as gifts too.
Read a good book
If you are worried your children spend too much time in front of the TV, try encouraging reading instead. Technological advancements have become a hindrance in recent years, preventing children reading for pleasure. This has meant many children have dropped behind in their ability to read by certain key milestones. Worryingly, research shows that almost 80 percent of children who can’t read proficiently by the end of fourth grade will end up either claiming welfare or in jail.
Fortunately, e-readers appear to be the antidote to this problem, as the new technology provides an opportunity for kids to get their hands on a huge variety of children’s books without even having to go to the book store or library.
With a little imagination there are buckets of activities you can get involved in on a cold and blustery day. Sometimes it just helps to have a helping hand.