Things to do - fun free family frolics!


Autumn is suddenly here. Today it's raining as well as chilly. Proper ' stay at home and watch a black and white movie with a hot toddy' weather.

And that's great, for an adult, for a Sunday, for one day. But those with children (and I count myself among you still, despite dd being nearly 14) know that after a few days ... Hours ... minutes, kids will chill our very marrow with the cry of "I'm bored!" And the equally horrifying "what can I DO?" 

And the usual thrusting of a child into the back garden to play with football, trampoline or skipping rope is thwarted by rain, and trips to the playground curtailed because "no one will be there to play with" and "the slide will be wet" so we the parent are reduced to playing Lego in the lounge, painting in the pantry, cooking in the kitchen or beading in the bedroom.

You, like me, probably love to be with your kids, love to be with HAPPY kids, so I asked twitter for some ideas to add to the anti-whine arsenal and here they are.
I also scoured Pinterest for ideas (it's a tough job wading through the hunks with beards to find the things you want but someone has to do it) and so here are some ideas for free things to do in Autumn. Some rely on weather but many don't, and remember, there is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes!

Kneadwhine suggested crafting, and there are loads to find on Pinterest too, from toilet roll crafts (too many to mention! Owls, tigers, lanterns, crowns, bird feeders, skittles, soldiers, castles etc etc) to any sort of junk modelling. Save small boxes and odd shaped packages through the year, store them in a shed, loft, garage, under stairs cupboard etc and bring them out with paper and pva glue on a wet day, don't be afraid to build big and don't feel you need to store a dragon or a castle for ever either, let it be played with, photograph it, and throw it away when it's no longer fun!

Denim Daddy suggested sock puppet fun! From the simple 'Sock on a hand' pantomime game, with silly acting, jokes and stories, to the more elaborate creation of a face with button eyes and a tongue, maybe arms! Buy cheap socks in the 99p shop if you don't have old odd socks to hand (should that be 'to foot'?) 

Rea suggested scavenger hunts in the woods, giving each child a list of things to find, an acorn, a hazel nut, a yellow leaf, a y shaped twig, etc. let the older children help write the list before you go. And while out in the wild wood, Welles on, why not indulge in a spot of running through leaves, scuffing them high into the air.

Evie suggested collecting conkers, and with the help of an adult with bradawl and string, making conker people (why not also play conkers, it's an old game but all should learn, it's a skill we may need when zombies attack) the conker people could be dressed with moss and leaves, acorn cup hats, birch mast shoes.
Evie also favours potato printing, why not combine your woodland finds and do some leaf prints too.

Panda bear suggests geocaching. I confess that while this idea has attracted me for a long time as a sort of 'adult treasure hunt' I have never had a go! Maybe this autumn I should give it a try. There are several websites that explain more.Try The Geocaching Association of Great Britain as a starting point.

Moss and Jones suggest pressing some of the flowers and leaves that you find on your walks, maybe to make cards or pictures with later. A flower press can be expensive but look in charity shops or use a pile of big books (put tissues around the flowers to soak up any stains and protect the books)

Other suggestions they thought of were playing 'Whose line is it anyway 'style games using props found around the house. And staging a makeshift play of a much loved story, using  soft toys.

Michelle is keen on puddle jumping! she thinks that children may enjoy it too. Including a bug hunt in her autumn walk, rotting wood and damp leaves are great places to find minibeasts, take an eye-spy book on your minibeast safari. Or draw pictures of what you find to identify later.

Which is where her next idea comes in handy! Pop down to the local library (assuming you still have one!) even if there is  not a children's event taking place, the library is a great place to explore. Use the nature section to identify those bugs you drew earlier, cuddle up in a corner and read a picture book. Why not set yourselves some tough questions to answer and have a 'knowledge race'.

One of my own personal favourites is a visit to the pet shop, if it sells small animals, birds and reptiles that makes it a mini zoo! but even if not there is a lot to look at and discuss, what do rats eat? how do fish wee? Can guinea pigs dig? Ruby Knickers is on my wavelength, suggesting a trip to the local Cats Protection league (or dogs home?) to visit and play with the animals. Sometimes dogs homes let you walk the dogs!

Another thing that works is a tent in the garden (if you don't have one, check freecycle) children will play in a tent even in damp weather, provide books(about explorers!) and snacks, let them explore the Amazon, the Russian Steppes, even the Arctic in your own garden.

And the simplest of ideas, invite a friend with children for a whine and wine date. The children will play (discovering new games with old toys) while you sip wine and chat. Bliss.

Thank you to all the twitter folk that joined in and helped. Do add any other ideas in the comments box. Thanks.

Have a happy Autumn.(Now linked up with Coombe Mill Country Kids - even more ideas!)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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