5 Fun Activities to Get Kids Outdoors and Gardening This Fall

Be inspired by these outdoor play ideas that children will love.

Happy little girl in autumn maple orange leaves

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If you want to keep your kids enjoying the outdoors longer this fall, why not try these inspiring creative projects to get them outside and away from screens to entertain them in the great outdoors?

Research supports the idea that outdoor play and immersion in nature is therapeutic for kids and may even improve cognitive functioning and development.

A Child Mind Institute article, for instance, discusses several studies showing the benefits of stepping out into a more stimulating natural environment. These include enhanced creativity and imagination, teaching responsibility, getting kids moving and reducing stress. Research from the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society found that gardening can help kids flourish at school, and develop an interest in healthier eating.

Plant bulbs that flower in the spring

Film and fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn, said that to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,. Kids love  nurturing what they plant and seeing seeds and bulbs grow over the seasons. 

In a look at outdoor activities children can enjoy for the fall, the Independent recommends getting kids planting spring-flowering bulbs now to ensure an uplifting floral display come springtime. 

Some examples include daffodils, crocus, and snowdrops. Remind kids to wear gloves when planting to avoid skin irritation.

Child planting tulip bulbs

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Make a fall mandala

Mandalas are spiritual geometric symbols said to represent the universe, and contain powerful healing energies. 

Mandalas come in many forms. Some designs represent the cosmos and sacred realms of the universe. Others may represent the elements: earth, air, fire, and water. 

And nature’s autumn bounty offers beautiful raw materials from which to create them! Collect a range of fall treasures like leaves, conkers, buds and seeds, and work with your kids to turn them into “land art” by making a fall mandala. Creating them is a wonderful, and visually stunning autumn outdoor learning activity for kids that can promote focus and reflection.

Mandala made from colorful fall leaves

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Create art from materials found in the garden  

For kids who prefer to remain indoors with some arts and crafts, get them to use objects they find in nature to inspire their art. For instance, they can use berry juice as paint, or collect pinecones, conkers and stones.

One idea for a fun nature craft for kids is to make a rainbow of leaves. Yes, blue and indigo colors will be more of a challenge, but it can lead to the best fall scavenger hunts to source the raw materials.

A child pastes dried leaves on a white album sheet

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Make a den for beloved toys

This is an exciting, child-led outdoor activity that kids can really get their teeth into. Their mission? Making a den for a beloved teddy or other toy. This activity suits both toddlers and older kids. Thimble and Twig, a blog for “putting the wild back into childhood” suggests that older kids might prefer to call their den a shelter, and be given extra goals like making their creations waterproof.

Little girl plays with yellowed autumn maple leaves with her soft toys around her

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Become expert at identifying natural things   

This is an interesting idea from Danielle Cohen in her Child Mind Institute article on inspiring outdoor activities for kids. It is great for encouraging them to become experts at exploring the outdoors. 

Equipping budding minds with discovery tools such as a magnifying glass or a shovel will get them exploring the outdoors in a way that feels adult and motivating.

Suggest that children compare books or websites to what they find outdoors so they can “decode” nature.

Parents can work with their children’s love for tech too. Kids can bring along their phones or tablets to create video or photo journals of nature trips. But their focus will be on the world around them and not their devices!

Smiling children playing with magnifying glass in a garden

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