We are now well into the season of autumn. I may have mentioned it a few times, but I love autumn; there really is something for all of the senses! It is the season for bonfires, fireworks, hot chocolates with marshmallows, ginger cake, apples, cinnamon, toffee, pumpkins, acorns, conkers, and leaves. Lots and lots of beautiful leaves!
This week D has been on half term (we are very lucky that he gets two weeks off), and we have managed to get out and about quite a bit. We haven’t gone far, really only as far as the local woods, and it has been wonderful. It has involved a lot of simple play and discovery!
Each time we have been out we have come back with pocketfuls of autumn treasures! Whilst the children seem to have a bit of a conker problem (they can’t physically walk past a conker tree without doing a quick recce, and they can’t see a conker without picking it up, even if their pockets are already overflowing), I most definitely have a leaf problem. I cannot see a pretty autumn leaf without picking it up, and this year I am really being treated to some gems. There are so many beautiful colours, and they come in so many shapes and sizes! But D is quite fed up of me bringing random leaves into the house and then doing nothing with them (we do have leaves absolutely everywhere to be fair, and they do go quite crumbly when they dry out, and then somebody needs to vacuum them up…), so I decided I needed to sort myself out!
This afternoon we went leaf hunting, and we actually took a bag to collect some in (no more leaves stuffed into every pocket and handbag/backpack imaginable). We set off, crunching the leaves as we went!
We managed to fill the bag quite quickly and so we continued walking for a bit longer. We found a new park and decided to have our picnic on a bench there. While we were eating, D checked to see if there were any geocaches around the area that we were in (as we often do when we are out walking), and he found that there were loads, so we decided to walk for a bit longer and go on a ‘treasure hunt’.
We discovered a new field, a new wood, a new stream, and lots of new trees; this area is about a ten-minute walk from our house but we have just never walked in this direction before-it was very exciting!
Disappointingly, we came away without finding a single geocache so we left before everybody got too tired.
Back to the leaves…
Once we got home we set to work with the leaves straight away! We have made autumn wreaths for the last few years, and A has already done some leaf printing this year, so I really wanted to try something different. Thankfully, our new Woodland Trust Nature Detectives booklets gave us lots of ideas!
We started by laying out all of our finds on the tuff spot. They really did look quite magical together.
And then this is what we got up to:
We made leaf people and leaf animals:
In case you are wondering, we made a leaf person, a hedgehog, a squirrel, and something that was meant to be an owl but ended up looking like Angelina Ballerina dressed up as a fairy (this one was mine)!
We made a ‘rusty rattle’ by threading some older dried-out leaves onto a pipe cleaner (this could also be done out in the woods with a stick instead of a pipe cleaner):
We used some leaves to make an autumn crown. For this we simply threaded leaves into the willow crown from our summer holidays; although the summer flowers are long gone, the willow is still perfect, and I am aiming to regenerate it each season. I really love this result:
Finally we made a lantern by gluing a variety of leaves to an empty (and clean) olive jar:
We had a lovely afternoon playing with our leaves, but we still have hundreds left! So, what do you do with autumn leaves?
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