Chipper is Feeling Funny for Fall! Don’t let the cold keep you inside. Bundle up and lets go play outside this Autumn season! Research has shown that children who play outdoors regularly are happier, healthier, and stronger. It also boosts immunity and lowers stress levels. Outdoor play not only benefits their physical and mental health, it gives children a chance to explore the mysteries of nature. Plus it’s a ton of fun!
Autumn Obstacle Course
Don’t let those leaves in the yard seem daunting! Chipper is here to help parents and educators make “work” and “learning” seem fun. Make a game out of raking up your fall leaves (this can work for shoveling snow if you live in a northern climate!) by forming an obstacle course. You can even have a “prize” to motivate your little one(s) to participate. Check out these yummy yet Healthy Halloween Snacks as a treat for your little helpers once they complete the course.
WHAT YOUR NEED:
• 3 bean bags (optional)
• A yard full of leaves
WHAT YOU DO:
1. Design Your Course
Decide where you will build your course, what shape it will take, and what obstacles you will include. Here are some obstacle ideas to get you started:
• Pile of leaves to crawl through
• Bags of leaves to leap over
• Paper grocery bags that must be filled with leaves before continuing on
• Stations where your child must find three bean bags (or other objects) that are buried in a leaf pile
• A huge pile of leaves to dive into as the grand finale
2. Rake Leaves
To make an obstacle course, you’ll need leaves, lots of them. Give your child a small rake so he or she can help collect the leaves you’ll need. Then arrange the leaves into the obstacle course you designed earlier. If you have two kids who want to race, make two identical courses!
3. Race Through Your Course
Ready, set, go! Now it’s time to have fun. Race with your child or referee two kids racing. Or time your child as he or she runs the course. Change the obstacles to keep the fun going.
4. Talk About Autumn and Leaves
• Fall into the season. Tell your child that autumn has another name – Fall! Ask if he or she can guess where the name came from. Explain that it refers to the time of year when the leaves on some trees turn color and “fall” off.
• Why do leaves change color? Explain to your child that leaves are green because they contain chlorophyll, a substance that helps plants make food. In fall, leaves stop making chlorophyll, and their green color fades. That’s when other colors that were underneath—the beautiful yellows, reds and oranges of fall—can show through. Ask your child to guess the most common leaf color (Answer: yellow.) Learn/teach more details for older kids!
• Fall recycling. Help your child discover ways that nature reuses old leaves. Overturn a bunch of leaves that have been on the ground for a while. You’re likely to find insects and other creatures. That’s because leaves provide these animals with food and shelter. Look for leaves from last year, and show your child how the old leaves have begun to decay. Explain that these old, rotten leaves enrich the soil, supplying food so other plants can grow.
Pumpkin Patch Fun
Try these fun pumpkin games to make Halloween EXTRA fun! Not only do they get you and your little one moving outdoors, they are a great way to spend time and connect with family! Early childhood connections are important and shape your child’s outlook for the rest of their lives. So take the time to play! Check out these cute Halloween Recycle Crafts for some indoor fun too.
WHAT YOUR NEED:
• 10 plastic bottles filled with water or bowling pins
• 1 large pumpkin
• several small pumpkins (some may break during play)
WHAT YOU DO:
1. Go On a Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt
Pumpkins come in different shapes and sizes. While you’re at the pumpkin patch, see if you can find the roundest, the tallest, the funniest looking, the one with the curliest stem, the one with the longest stem, and one with no stem at all.
2. Bowl With Pumpkins
Partially fill your plastic bottles with water or any other material you can use for pins. Cut the stems off the pumpkins so they roll easier. Then set your “pins” on a flat, grassy surface, and start bowling with your pumpkin balls. The scoring system—or whether you score at all—is up to you!
3. Pitch Pennies Into Your Pumpkin
Carve a pumpkin and leave a wide hole in the top. Take five steps away from the pumpkin and try to pitch pennies into the pumpkin. If it’s too hard, step closer. If it’s too easy, step farther away. The person who gets the most pennies in the pumpkin wins!
4. Give Your Pumpkin to Wildlife
After Halloween, put your jack-o’-lantern and pumpkin bowling balls in your yard for local wildlife to enjoy. Squirrels like Chipper, raccoons, deer, and even many dogs will chow down with gusto on all parts of the pumpkin!
What other Fall activities do you and your family enjoy? Let Chipper know!