7 Ways to Beat those Autumn Blues
Just because summer is over and the kids are back at school, it doesn't mean that the family fun has to end! Those 'back-to-school' or autumn blues can be a real downer having just had 6 weeks of family fun, but all is not lost! Planning some fun activities for the weekends or after school can be a real boost for kids and adults alike. And whilst it's still light in the evenings, it's a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors and have some fun, albeit with a few extra layers on!
There are endless things to do to grab some quality family time, but here's our list of 7 ideas of things to do to beat those autumn blues and give the whole family something to look forward to outside of the weekly school/work routine.
1 - Learn a new sport or activity - become a future world champion!
There are loads of unusual sports you can take up in your own garden or local park, many free or low cost and very easy to teach yourselves. Simply pick something that takes your fancy, learn the rules and get practising. You never know, one of you might have a real knack for it and go on to become a world champion one day!
2 - Get Messy Outdoors - get those wellies on and discover how muddy you're willing to go!
Host your very own Mud Tournament in your garden, local park or other public but suitably muddy place. Spend some time with the kids planning your events beforehand. Draw up a score sheet and rules, and then get those wellies on and prepare for battle!
Event ideas include: most mud in a bucket in a minute, best mud face paint, biggest mud pie, or most creative mud pie. This time of year is great for berries so decorate those mud pies with blackberries or colourful leaves and you can have your very own Great British Mud Bake Off!
No mud? How about an Autumn Leaves Tournament instead? Leaf pile races, burying yourselves in leaves or creating leaf pile patterns are just some ideas to get you started. In fact, autumn leaves are one of the best things about autumn, so never mind 'autumn blues' - make the most of the 'autumn hues'!
3 - Get creative - turn your garden, local park or even your living room into a fantasy world.
All you need is a big piece of paper, a pencil and some imagination! Draw a rough plan of your house, living room, garden or local park and then choose which features are going to form part of your magical world. That big bush, or 'under the table' can become the dragon's lair. That path - a river of dreams. The bench or rock? The King's throne... anything goes! Need a castle or fairy kingdom? Why not build a den or put a tent up? When you're done, assign roles and let the fun begin!
4 - Get hunting - go rock pooling or embark on a bug hunt
If you live near the sea - great! A quick after school trip is ideal, or perhaps a weekend expedition to see how many crabs and starfish you can spot. If crabs and anemones are not an option, a bug hunt is just the thing. Autumn is a great time for spotting dragonflies, crane flies and the last batch of butterflies. Or perhaps digging for worms is more your thing!
For some tips on how to make the most of rock pooling or to find out what you need for a successful bug hunt, here are some great websites: How to go rock pooling / What you need for the best bug hunt ever.
5 - Make your own treasure hunt
Many people are put off by the thought of planning all those clues, but we know that setting clues is often the best part! Creating those sneaky clues to tease your family with is great fun, so make 'setting the treasure hunt' part of the activity. Split into two teams, whether that's kids vs adults or mixed ages, get some slips of paper ready and get planning.
First - choose some treasure and go and hide it. Next, write a clue that describes where your hiding place is. It can be as cryptic or as simple as you wish. Then, hide that clue somewhere and write a new clue to describe the hiding place of the first clue. And so on - this is a great activity for around the house and garden. When you've reach a suitable number of clues, keep hold of the last clue you write and hand it to the other team. Time them and see how long it takes them to find your treasure!
6 - Plan a 'Beat the Autumn Blues' Party!
Parties don't have to be just for birthdays or special occasions. Why not celebrate Autumn, or 'Friday', or 'getting 10/10 in my spelling test'! As with number 5, planning is all part of the fun so get the kids involved in coming up with some party games, activities and food ideas. Or, if they're old enough - let them take over! Whether it's a party just for your family, or whether you decide to invite a few friends round, a party to look forward to is always going to be a winner.
As well as the more traditional party games like pass the parcel and musical chairs, here are some autumn party ideas to get you started:
Start with a craft session to make some bunting for the party - either draw, colour and cut out leaves, cut out coloured paper, or go and collect real leaves from the park or garden. String them up to set your autumn theme. Then, let the games and activities commence! How about 'leaf blow football' where two people race to blow a leaf across the floor or table using only a straw. Remember those conkers from earlier? Put them to good use with a conker man making competition - who can make one that stands up all by itself? Or why not learn a new song or dance routine to a seasonal themed song ..."All the leaves are brown....?". If it's a clear night, you could even pop out for a bit of star gazing to relax between games.
7 - Soup up your Treasure Trail!
Ideal for a weekend outing or exploring locally to make the most of those daylight hours after school whilst you still can, wherever you choose to explore, make your adventure extra special. Before you head out on your chosen Treasure Trail, make sure your team of clue solvers are well prepared.
Going on a treasure hunt? Make some pirate hats, swords or eye-patches, give yourselves pirate names and prepare some 'treasure' for when you return home victorious.
Heading out on a spy mission? Pick some secret agent names for yourselves and set some secret code words so that you can communicate in public without people knowing what you're talking about. How about 'The squirrel has the nut' for 'I've found the clue!'.
Off to solve a murder mystery? Decide whether you're going to be real detectives, an elite family crime-solving gang or perhaps superheroes on a mission to crack the case. Get your magnifying glasses ready and head out to search for evidence!
Stuck indoors? Start making plans for your next holiday!
The summer holidays may be a distant memory, but half-term is just around the corner so why not sit down with the kids and write a list of things you'd all like to do!
Whatever you get up to this autumn, we hope you've enjoyed reading some of our 'how to beat the autumn blues' ideas.