Spending time outside with children is a wonderful way to make memories, and studies have shown that playing outdoors promotes confidence, self-esteem and independence. With so many fantastic outdoor spaces here in the UK, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun outside, whatever the weather.
We’re Muddy Puddles, children’s rainwear experts, and our mission is to inspire and enable thousands of children and families to enjoy the natural world around them and spend more time outdoors. We believe there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong kit. We’re delighted to team up with LittleLife to bring you this guide for spending time outdoors with little ones this Autumn.
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Autumn is one of the best times of the year for getting outside, with crunchy leaves, conkers, and golden colours everywhere, and while the weather can be very mild it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for any sudden downpours. Little ones will need either a waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers or dungarees, or a puddlesuit, and a good pair of wellies. When the weather gets cooler, thermal baselayers are a great way to keep them cosy, and can double up as PJ’s for chilly Autumn evenings.
We’re passionate about encouraging families to spend time outside, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite ways to spend time outdoors this Autumn.
- Go on a woodland walk - A visit to the woods is our favourite thing to do in Autumn – there’s no better way to experience the sights, sounds and smells of this magical season. Encourage little ones to collect leaves, conkers, pinecones and sticks (and take them home to use for crafts), while older children will love climbing trees or building a den. Find your local Forest with Forestry England, and you can even go on a trail to find Zog, or have a go at spotting The Gruffalo.
- Go pumpkin picking - We love the joy of picking your own fruit and veg at one of the many pick your own farms dotted around the UK. October is a brilliant time for pumpkins and winter squash, so visit your local farm, grab a wheelbarrow and let little ones explore – they will love choosing (and then eating) their own food.
- Go on a bug hunt - Children love discovering critters of all shapes and sizes, and there are so many places you can find wildlife, whether that’s in your back garden, or local park, river or pond. Look under stones and wood, on tree branches, bark and leaves, and in long grass. Print out this spotting sheet from The Woodland Trust and let little ones tick off each bug they find.
- Learn to ride a bike - Autumn is a great time of year to go for a family bike ride, while the evenings are still light, the weather is cooler, and you can feel the crunch of Autumn leaves underneath your bike wheels. There are so many brilliant family cycling trails around the UK, so take your children on an adventure and enjoy feeling the Autumn breeze in your hair.
- Build a hedgehog house - Autumn is a great time for building a hedgehog house - this is when they start looking for a safe place to hibernate during the winter and need our help. Building a hedgehog house together is a great outdoor activity, and all you need is a big cardboard box, some dry leaves, twigs, sticks and branches. Children will have great fun making a home for the hedgehogs and will love watching them settle in. Take a look at our guide to building a hedgehog house.
- Go apple picking - Autumn is the perfect time to take little ones apple picking at one of the many apple orchards or pick your own farms around the UK. Children of all ages will love selecting the perfect apples and taking them home to make a delicious blackberry and apple pie, or even having a go at homemade apple juice.
- Go stargazing - With Autumn comes shorter days and longer nights, and with darkness setting in earlier each evening it’s the perfect time to allow children to explore the night sky on school nights. If you don’t have a telescope all you need is a good pair of binoculars, and a clear night. With the chance of seeing glimmering light shows, planets, and even meteor showers higher in the Autumn than in the Summer, get some blankets and spend some time outside after dark. For more tips, take a look at our Top Tips for Stargazing with Children, or National Geographic’s guide to Stargazing in Autumn.
- Plan an Autumn picnic - We love picnics at any time of year, but an Autumn picnic is a brilliant way to spend time outdoors with family and friends, surrounded by crunchy leaves and snuggled together under a cosy blanket. Make sure you take a big flask of hot chocolate as well as your favourite Autumn dishes – there’s nothing better than spicy pumpkin soup or apple and blackberry crumble on a chilly day.
- Visit a deer park - Autumn is the perfect time to visit a deer park, as stags and bucks lock antlers in competition for female deer. With so many beautiful deer parks around the country, it’s a brilliant way to spot some wildlife, see the Autumnal colours and go for a walk with your loved ones. Find your nearest deer park here.
- Fly a kite - Kite Flying is a fun activity for the entire family to enjoy. Children of all ages love the thrill of launching their kite into the sky and watching it soar. Autumn is a great time of year for kite flying, with mild weather and little humidity. Choose a spot with a large open space like the beach, a park, a lake front or open field.