According to the astronomical seasons, September 22nd marks the official end of summer 2016.* With only a week to go, we can already see the leaves starting to turn red and brown, there’s condensation on the car windows in the mornings and of course the children are already back at school.
These tell-tale signs remind us that summer is most definitely leaving us and autumn is on its way; despite the stroke of luck we seem to have had with the sunny weather this week!
By now your family has probably started to settle back into the familiarly of the school routine; for your little ones, the novelty of their shiny new cat stationary might be starting to wear off and they’ve probably exhausted their amazing summer holiday stories.
But what about you as parents? After weeks of outdoor activities, playtime and maybe even the odd late night and lazy morning together, we know it can be difficult to find ways for you and your children to continue spending quality time together now that you’re limited to after school evenings and weekends. Plus it’s colder, the days are shorter and there’s seemingly less to do.
But what we want you to know is that you don’t need to worry about that at all! Just because the sun won’t be shining as much (although let’s be honest, how much sun do we get during a British summer anyway?!) doesn’t mean you can’t do fun things together and continue to make real family moments.
Whether it’s exploring the beautiful changes of nature or relaxing in the comfort of the indoors, you can enjoy the autumnal months with our 5 easy-peasy things to do as a family to beat those post-summer, back-to-school blues.
1. Have a carpet picnic One of the best things about summer is packing up the cool box with lunchtime goodies and heading outside for a picnic. So why leave it there? Avoid the growingly chilly autumn weather and set up a picnic in the cosy comfort of your own home. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon as a family without even stepping out of the house. You could even play some board games to add some competitive fun to your picnic.
Top tip: lay a blanket out to really bring the outdoors experience inside. Plus it might just save you from sticky fingers on carpets!
2. Go for autumnal walks There’s nothing nicer than the sound of crunching leaves beneath your feet during autumn so get your coats on and head outside for a wander round your local park or woods. Weekly after school walks are the ideal way to keep active as a family as well as discovering and learning about nature. Encourage your little ones to look out for changes in the trees, leaves, flowers and maybe even animals that appear, and then draw them when you’re home.
And don’t forget those wellies, we’re certain there’s a few puddle jumpers out there!
Top tip: create a 15 week chart to document how you’ve seen nature change on your walks.
3. Have a camp out in your living or bedroom Summer and camping go hand in hand, right? From toasted marshmallows to pitching your own tent, there’s something really exciting about an outdoor sleepover. But when the cold or rain strikes it can take away some of the fun. So why not use a pop-up tent or build a den in your living room or a bedroom using duvets, sheets, pillows, teddy bears and anything else you can get your hands on to create your own indoor camp!
Your little ones are guaranteed to love escaping into their own little magical fort full of their bedroom comforts, while you can enjoy getting cosy for the night and spending time with the family.
Top tip: hang some paper pompoms inside the tent or around the outside to add a lovely vintage touch to what is otherwise just a carefully structured mountain of bedding!
4. Practice your Halloween face painting With the spooktacular month of Halloween fast-approaching, spend an evening after school or a Sunday morning practicing face painting. Ask your children to practice on each other or if they’re a teeny bit little for that, draw an outline of a face on a piece of paper and ask them to practice on there.
The scarier the better!
5. Autumn arts and crafts Get creative with your children and set aside time to do some arts and crafts. As I’m sure many of you already have paints, paper and glues at home, this easy activity can be done indoors at any time and requires little effort… although quite possibly maximum mess, opps!
Top tip: Cut up sponges and potatoes to do some paint printing. Or why not collect colourful leaves on your autumn walks that your children could use to stick to their pieces of art.