Autumn can be a wonderful season for kids. In many parts of the world the leaves on trees can change colour before they fall to the ground; special autumn foods are harvested and enjoyed in abundance; pumpkins are carved in preparation for Halloween. Even though it’s a tropical country and doesn’t have the dramatic changes of the seasons, there are plenty of autumn camps for kids in Singapore so the northern hemisphere’s autumn months can still be a fantastic time. An autumn camp might focus on fun festivals such as Halloween or the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, autumnal experiments, or the seasons. There are many benefits of going to an autumn camp but there are also lots of fun autumn activities for young children to do at home to help keep them amused and teach them about this special season. Here are just some suggestions:
1. Autumn flavours
Autumn brings special flavours that remind kids of the changing seasons. What better way to mark the occasion than by making some special autumn foods such as pumpkin pie, gingerbread men (or women!), toffee apples, or soups using vegetables such as carrots or parsnips?
2. Autumn art
Even if you live in a country which doesn’t have a mass fall of leaves in autumn, such as Singapore, you can still find plenty of leaves to use in creative autumn activities for children. For example, you could try making collages with leaves, making leaf prints using water-based paints, or making a hanging leaf mobile or leaf mandala.
3. Autumn science
It’s always a great time to learn and have fun with science, but autumn offers the opportunity to try some interesting home experiments. For example, kids can learn about oxidation by cutting apples into cubes, sharing them out over 3 containers and covering one set of apples with water, one with lemon juice, and leaving one uncovered; they can make a note about how the apples brown differently and look online to find out why.
4. Autumn herbarium
Autumn in many countries is about fallen leaves, seeds and flowers. So why not make a ‘herbarium’ (a collection of dried plants in a book or notepad with notes about them)? Kids can collect leaves, seeds or flowers and press and dry them between two sheets of blotting paper. It can take as long as 21 days to get fully dried specimens but they should then last for years as a memento of autumn's past.
5. Pine cone weather station
Did you know that you can predict the weather using a pine cone? It’s not as accurate as a modern weather forecast but it works fairly well. In dry weather the pine cones will open but in humid conditions they’ll swell and close up. Kids can put some pinecones on a windowsill and check the predicted weather against the actual weather, collecting the results on a chart.
6. Autumn headwear
Kids can simply collect some leaves, glue them to a simple headband made from paper or fabric and, hey presto, they’ll have an autumn crown or tiara!
7. Orchard or farm visit
Autumn is harvest time in many countries with wonderful fruits and vegetables available in great quantities. Even in Singapore, which doesn’t have the same autumn harvests, it can be a great time for kids to visit an orchard or farm and be reminded of where much of our food comes from. Singapore has a surprising number of farms, including frog and goat farms, which can be fascinating for young children.
8. Carve a pumpkin
What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than by carving a spooky (or funny) face on a pumpkin. Kids might need some adult help, as they’ll need to use a sharp knife, but once it gets dark and the light or candle is inside the carved pumpkin it feels like Halloween has really arrived.
9. Autumn games
It’s always the right time for kids to play screen-free games and autumn offers some games that are good clean (or messy) fun. One of the most fun autumn games, often played at Halloween, is apple bobbing. Simply fill a washing bowl or other flat container with water and fill it with apples, which will float on the surface. Competitors need to put their hands behind their backs and try to pick up an apple using just their teeth. Warning - they will get wet!
10. Make an autumn lantern
Whether it’s for Halloween or any other time, kids will love making a paper lantern. All they need to do is take an A4 sheet of paper, cut out a pumpkin face, leaf shape, or whatever shape they fancy, and roll the paper up into a cylinder. Then they can put a battery-powered tea light inside, turn off the lights, and enjoy the autumnal atmosphere.
Don’t forget that kids can learn about things like this at many of the camps in autumn that Singapore has to offer. Happy autumn!