Autumn leaves are falling
Autumn has well and truly arrived where I live. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder and the leaves are falling down. I am reminded that there are just so many games to play with leaves! Here are a few to get you started.
Get buried in leaves
This is on my Autumn bucket list every year! There’s nothing quite like a little face poking out from a giant pile of leaves. Some kids will like being fully immersed, only to burst out and “surprise” you! They might jump up and down, throw the leaves around, dance, sing and be too excited to sit still. Other children will prefer the peace and stillness of just lying down in the leaves, watching new ones float down from the sky. I’ve known little ones to lie down and sing gently to themselves as they immerse themselves in the moment. How does your child like to play with leaves?
There is no “right” way to play outside in Nature…just do what is the most fun for you and your family. You don’t need to teach them anything, or learn anything (unless they are in the questions stage and are hungry for more knowledge, in which case answer their questions!), you can just be there together…enjoying yourselves…playing.
Take a “crunchy” walk
As a child, do you remember crunching on brown leaves? This has always been a favourite of mine. I remember the focus while searching for the crunchiest leaves as I walked, and the thrill when I found them.
There are so many variations of this “game”, limited only by imagination.
leap from one crunchy leaf to the next
gather a big pile of leaves together and then jump into them all.
only jump on the “big” leaves
Be as quiet as you can be with your voice, and make all the noise with your feet.
run, roll and dance through the leaves
make a collection
Go for a walk around the streets of your own suburb, walk to the local park, take a drive out of town to a forest, or explore your own backyard. Find as many different shapes, colours and textures as you can. Bring them home in your hands, a bag or a basket. Some kids will just love to look, touch and marvel at their assortment of leaves. If you need anything more to do, here are some ideas';
Leaf rubbing - place the leaf or leaves under a piece of paper and draw with crayon on the top. You’ll get an imprint of the outline and all the veins of the leaf. You don’t need to be limited to Autumn colours, use whatever takes your fancy!
Make a bracelet or crown - Using masking tape (with the sticky side out), make a circle that will fit the wrist or the head and stick the leaves on to make “jewellery”.
Make a necklace - continuing with the jewellery idea, you could use a needle (whatever is age-appropriate for your child) and thread to make a leaf necklace. You can also use a hole-punch to make a single hole in the leaf, then thread your cotton/wool through, without a needle.
make a pattern - Line the leaves up in colour order, size order or by shape. Leave them to blow away, or paste them to paper and keep them.
Make “confetti” - us the hole punch and make confetti. This is a great one for an older child who needs a “big” job to d
Play “catch a falling leaf”
Have you ever stood under a tree, or in a forest, just waiting for the leaves to fall? This is a lovely family game, suitable for any aged child. The smaller children/babies can watch you leaping around, trying to catch a falling leaf. The older children can join you! It can be surprisingly difficult, and can keep kids working hard, persisting and , we just play it for fun, amusement and for the pure joy of jumping around.
Add some fun twists to the game. For children who love fairies, perhaps a fairy can grant a wish when a leaf is caught? For science lovers - talk about the trajectory of the leaf as it falls…or talk about gravity! For animal-lovers, the falling leaves can be “food” that needs to be collected, so the dinosaur/bear/fairy family doesn’t go hungry.
Search your neighbourhood
Do you know where to go to find big leaves, small leaves, yellow, red or brown leaves?
Take a walk or a drive and get to know your own neighbourhood.
Maybe you won’t be able to name all the species that you find, but you can always start to find out!
Find a “helicopter” tree - with seeds that whirl around like a helicopter, spinning to the ground.
Notice the native Australian trees, and watch how their leaves change over the seasons, behaving differently to European trees that have been imported.
Listen to the sound the leaves make as the wind moves through them.
Pull on a branch that is covered in water drops and make it “rain”.
Most of all, get outside and enjoy Autumn!