Now that autumn is in the air, we parents have to be a bit more creative with activities. This hot summer, we could spend virtually an entire weekend in the swimming pool and Luke and Emma never got bored. Now the days are shorter, the air is cooler and leaves are starting to turn.
But this doesn't mean you have to retreat inside.
Nature walks, fall gardening, apple picking and visiting pumpkin farms are some great outdoor fall activities for preschoolers. Last year we took Luke and Emma to Tyler Arboretum during the fall festival. Between climbing the tree houses, jumping in a moon bounce, painting pumpkins and watching Irish dancers perform, we filled an entire afternoon.
This past weekend, we took Luke and Emma on a trail run in a nearby park. The cooler weather made the outing very enjoyable. A nature walk can be made into a really exciting activity with lots of fun as well as learning. Preschool teachers I spoke with suggest you ask kids to pick up leaves of all sizes, shapes and colors. Ask your children to examine them. You can tell them to write down what they see and help them in this exercise.
When you get home, all you need is construction paper and glue to turn the leaves into fun arts and crafts project. One idea: if you cut a hole out of the middle of a paper plate, your children can glue leaves to it to create a fall wreath.
Child development experts agree that all kids older than 2 years old should get at least an hour of activity a day. This is usually easy in the summer months. But, it can be more of a challenge when it's cool and rainy, like the past few days. Places like your local Little Gym and YMCA are great for getting your little one to exercise, weather its swimming, sports class or gymnastics.
At our home, we like to play freeze tag in the house or just put music on high and have a very exclusive dance party. Mary L. Gavin, MD, a pediatrician and medical editor for Wilmington, DE-based KidsHealth.org says anything that encourages physical activity will work, just be creative! "The key is to keep it fun," says Gavin. "Let them choose what they want to do, but send a clear message that they need to do something."