At Nursery we have been exploring nature as the seasons change. We have been looking for interesting discoveries in our outdoor areas, talking about the differences in texture between rough spiky husks and smooth shiny conkers. Back indoors we are using all our senses to create art with natural materials, melting ice and kneading pumpkin scented playdough. So how can you extend this autumn learning at home?
Children will enjoy wrapping up warm and heading out on a discovery walk when there are different things to see and find. Print off a checklist from bbc.co.uk/cbeebies and head outside to explore your local park. How many can you tick off? The treasures you find will make brilliant craft materials. Take a bag to collect your items and create some autumn inspired pictures when you get home.
Den building is such a fun activity to do together. If you’re out in the woods look for long branches and lean them against each other safely to create a shelter that children will love to play in. Don’t let a rainy day stop you, hang blankets and bedsheets over chairs to create a cosy indoor hideout.
What happens to ice when it gets warm?
Here’s another indoor activity which was thoroughly enjoyed by our Granary Wharf pre-schoolers this week and is simple to set up at home:
1. Fill a deep tray or dish with water and stir in some conkers, leaves and pinecones.
2. Pop in the freezer overnight.
3. Turn out onto a large tray for your child to explore. We gave children a range of tools including sticks to try and free the autumn resource, but use whatever safe utensils you have at home.
5. Talk to your child about how the ice feels and what happens as it melts.
Growing new pumpkins inside old ones is a great experiment for older children to try, explaining the circle of life. This works best with decorative small pumpkins and is an effective way to use up the mushy ones you’re bound to be left with after Halloween. Start by cutting the top off your pumpkins and scooping out the seeds. Pour some soil into the shell, pop in a pumpkin seed and water well. Wait a few days and the pumpkin seed will start sprouts. Keep the soil moist and when you can see roots pushing out of the bottom of the pumpkin, plant out in the garden.
Finally, take part in the ‘Leeds Needs Seeds’ initiative. Leeds City Council are asking people to collect conkers, beech nuts, sweet chestnuts and acorns between now and November, and to deposit them at seed collection boxes in 12 parks across the city. The seeds will then be grown at The Arium Nursery until they are big enough to be planted out at woodland creation sites.
It’s a brilliant project for the children to be involved in; the aim is to help our city reach carbon neutrality by 2030 so our children will benefit from their conker collecting for years to come.